Not Business As Usual – Stepping Outside the Norm


Two things made last month’s Rubicon Programs annual event unique. First, it honored individuals who had participated in their programs. Second, it wasn’t a fundraiser! The 2010 Rubicon Honors was designed as a way to introduce donors and funders to the people who are impacted by the organization’s work. To learn more about what is going on at Rubicon we talked with Jane Fischberg, President & Executive Director.

Saad & Shaw – Organizations typically honor individuals outside of their organization who either exemplify the organization’s values or can speak directly to the organization’s impact. But you did something different. You selected program participants and volunteers. What influenced this decision?

Jane Fischberg – In prior years we hosted Rubicon Honors as a more traditional event. But in 2008 we turned the tables by honoring a man who had participated in our programs. Those who attended really liked hearing from the people we serve. In 2009, with changes in the economy, we decided not to host a fundraising event. Instead our board members hosted a series of small house parties. This year we did something different again and asked our program managers to nominate individuals to be honored at our annual event.

Saad & Shaw – Sounds like you turned the tables again.

Jane –We wanted the people who worked with our program participants and volunteers to be the ones nominating the people we honor. Staff identified five program participants and four volunteers for us to honor. Our development team met with each nominee. We didn’t know if we would honor all who were nominated or a few. As it turns out we honored everyone who was nominated.  And people at the event really enjoyed learning about their diverse life stories.

Saad & Shaw – You did something different yet again by turning your annual fundraiser into a friend-raiser. How and why did you make that decision?

Jane – Since we hadn’t had a fundraiser in 2009 we felt it was important to re-engage our supporters in a meaningful way. We decided that offering our donors, funders and partners the opportunity to share an evening with the people of Rubicon would deepen our relationships. Corporate partners made the event possible by underwriting our costs. Our long-term supporters came out and they brought new people with them. And once again it was the stories that made the difference. Our guests had the opportunity to see how we change lives.

Saad & Shaw – Would you share your mission with our readers?

Jane – The mission of Rubicon Programs is to equip people to move out of poverty and to partner with people with mental illness as they begin their journey of recovery.

Our next post will have more information on Rubicon and their impact.

Learn more about Rubicon Programs Inc. at or call (510) 235-1516.

© Mel and Pearl Shaw 2010.


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