Working hard for the money


Chicago Business, January 14, 2012


Michael Cleavenger joined LaRabida Children’s Hospital three years ago, confident he could double fundraising for the venerable South Side institution.

His timing was awful: First the credit freeze and then a deep recession wrecked expectations. He’s searching for new ways to ask for money while he tries to stabilize private support and increase it slowly. All but 5% of LaRabida’s $50-million annual budget depends on Medicaid and other endangered state sources.

“The model of the tin cup, as I call it, is going the way of the dinosaur,” says Mr. Cleavenger, 60, vice-president for fund development, who has worked for a variety of non-profits including the Chicago History Museum and Victory Gardens Theater. Also on his eclectic résumé: manufacturers’ rep, bond trader and Peace Corps grant writer.

read more