Tribute Luncheon for F&M Works in Lancaster 

Remarks by President Daniel R. Porterfield, PhD
Druker Family Humanities Common
Lancaster, Pa.
November 1, 2017

 

Today we celebrate the establishment of an endowment fund to secure in perpetuity the innovative program, F&M Works in Lancaster. It’s exciting to have here with us today, Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray; Hale Krasne, an influential member of our Board of Trustees; and, of course, the driving leaders of the Steinman Foundation, Shane Zimmerman, Carrie Hill, and our former trustee Peggy Steinman.

The Steinman Foundation is a true example of high-impact philanthropy, growing out of the vision and values of a remarkable family and force for good in Lancaster and at Franklin & Marshall College.

In telling the story of how F&M Works came into being, I give celebrate the deep familial love this family has had for the people of Lancaster and our enduring and emerging people-serving institutions.  

I’d like to begin by taking us back to 2011, shortly after I joined the Franklin & Marshall community. Peggy had also recently joined the College’s Board of Trustees. I remember talking with her in a couple of group settings before inviting her to my office for our first one-to-one meeting – at which I planned to ask for her advice and support for this new idea to bring F&M into a more direct relationship with Lancaster’s web of nonprofit organizations serving the community.

I won’t kid you when I say that I was a little bit nervous. (Mayor Gray knows the feeling.) I knew that the Steinmans were a legendary family – and that Peggy’s sister and Carrie’s mother, Carrie Nunan, had served with distinction as a member of the Board of Trustees. And one or two colleagues warmed me up for the meeting by reminding me that Peggy is a no-nonsense CEO who doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

F&M Works was one of my first three new ideas for F&M. My conviction was that we could develop a model program that would help hard-pressed nonprofits deliver their mission, equip our students with new professional skills, and position the College as a still-more engaged anchor institution within our impressively renewing city.

The Steinman Foundation was the ideal funder because its investment would show Lancaster that F&M was serious. But Peggy didn’t really know me – and I didn’t know what would be the best way to ask for her partnership. I contemplated getting down on one knee, but I realized that she’d just swat me. So, instead, I just made my case the way you talk to a no-nonsense CEO – by emphasizing the problem we could solve, the funding required, and the exponential return on investment we would deliver.

The basic proposal was that if the Steinman Foundation would fund the start-up phase of F&M Works, the College would find and train the student interns and partner with the nonprofits to make the right match of student to job. For the initial investment of $100,000, I promised we’d design and pilot a program that the community and the College would both value.

Peggy and the Steinman Foundation took a leap of faith, asking only that we trained the students well and always show great respect for the community partners. Because of outstanding work by colleagues like Ann Hughes, Susan Dicklitch and especially Lisa Wolfe, and those superb partners, F&M Works in Lancaster kept its commitment and is now unparalleled success.

You might say the Steinman Foundation’s investment has had a 10x return – if not a 10 to the 10th power multiplier effect – given the way F&M Works has empowered nonprofits, government, the College, students – and the many publics our students will go on to serve more effectively later because of their formation in this program.

Looking at it just by the numbers, since 2012-13, 157 different students have worked at F&M Works, and they have served more than 67 nonprofits from ASSETS to Bench Mark and Attollo to the Partnership for Public Health.

They’ve tutored children, written business plans, cleaned up parks, tended to riverbeds, publicized health screenings, promoted theatre, welcomed refugees, supported seniors, provided job training, staffed the mayor’s poverty commission, and so much more.

F&M works in Lancaster has also allowed nonprofits to develop the capacity to work more effectively with college interns. It has inspired alums like our Trustee Reed Auerbach and his wife Adrienne to donate to the College to sustain the program. It has helped the College learn more about change-makers and social innovation in the Lancaster community.

It has allowed our students to bring back to the classroom as much of Lancaster as they can carry for reflection, discussion and research. In fact, its educational value for our students is profound. What a pleasure to hear our student Grant Salley describe his work a few moments ago, especially since it’s with Bench Mark, the majestic, dare I say, divinely-inspired creation of our 2014 graduate, Will Kiefer.

So many of Grant’s peers have turned their Steinman Internships into great learning and growth. There’s Markera Jones, who worked at McCaskey High School and is now pursuing a PhD in social psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There’s Hayley Mead, who worked at LG Health, and is now a program officer at Bloomberg Philanthropies. There’s Katie Machen, who went from Lutheran Refugee Services to working right back here in my office.

There’s Daniel Potter, now working professionally for an HR company, after holding an internship in HR with LG Health. There’s Kofi Alorzuke, who developed a passion for community development by working with ASSETS and now is working for an investment firm in Philadelphia. There’s Anna Folz, who worked with Church World Service, and now works at Community Care of Brooklyn.

There’s Shrima Pandey who went from Church World Service to the UK to study Migration Studies.

There’s current students Ipeknaz Erel with Atollo, Zerubbabel Asfaw with the Partnership for Public Health, and Sean Hyland with Lancaster City Alliance.

2017 graduate Kevin Gallagher turned his internship with Prima Theatre turned his internship into a great first job in the theatre district in NYC.  Paulina Baginska went from Lancaster Drug Court to a New York DA’s office and now law school. Grace Jeong went from SouthEast Lancaster Health Services to the Peace Corps in Botswana.

There’s Becca Green, who worked at Mental Health America of Lancaster County and is now in DC for Senator Leahy. And there’s Courtney Rinden from California who interned with ASSETS, and stayed in Lancaster as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Community School at Reynolds and now works with coLAB, a great example of keeping our sheep close to the flock.

This program makes a difference in human terms, for F&M students on trajectories for societal impact, for the hardworking leaders of our nonprofit community, and the people of Lancaster whom they serve. Like I said, an ROI of 10 to the 10th power.

Great institutions are about people and community. That’s true of Franklin & Marshall College, and it’s true of the Steinman Foundation. Today we announce an investment of $500,000 by the Steinman Foundation so that F&M Works can grow its multiplier effect in the decades ahead to perhaps 10 to the 100th power. Why not? There’s no limit to our power to make a difference.

Of course, this is not the Steinman Foundation’s first donation to the College.  Far from it. The Foundation is beloved on this campus for transformational investments in signature resources on our campus, like the Steinman College Center and the Steinman Plant Growth Facility.

It’s exciting that F&M Works and the ideals associated with it will now also be a permanent fixture on the F&M landscape, and in the minds and hearts of many, many, many more Steinman interns.

You can count on Franklin & Marshall College to deepen the program F&M Works, and our many investments in Lancaster, now and tomorrow, for generations to come. Thank Peggy Steinman, Carrie Hill and the Steinman Foundation for your vision and generosity, and your faith in F&M.