Message from our State Director
What an incredible year it has been for Best Buddies Maryland! In 2014, we saw dramatic increases in revenue and programmatic growth. As a result, our mission has expanded to new corners and communities across the state. Our special events grew by 17% compared to the 2013 totals and this success was made possible by the introduction of the Best Buddies 5K and steady growth in revenue from our signature events. In May, our Best Buddies Friendship Walk raised $125,000 and our Tastebuds auction and restaurant-tasting event grew by 19%- -continuing a positive trend for three consecutive years. More than 1,300 participants took part in these community events. We also saw an increase in our funding from foundations, grants and individual giving. Much of this success was achieved through the talents of our staff and the efforts of our dedicated advisory board and event volunteers.
Programmatically, we opened our 100th school friendship program, increased our Citizens matches by 60%, and began the development of an integrated employment program. We were able to train 14 new Best Buddies Ambassadors while veteran Ambassadors presented to special event audiences, members of the Maryland Legislature, local businesses, and school assemblies. In total, we have 5,021 participants serving our organization.
In 2015, we will enjoy a yearlong celebration, spotlighting our history and our participants as we celebrate our 20th Anniversary. Our goals are to increase revenue by 10%, expand our Citizens program to 100 adult matches, and launch a successful Jobs program. We also want to increase our social media presence and create more efficient ways to communicate success stories and mission highlights with our constituents.