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OHU Donor Spotlight | Paul Earle and Ellen Rudnick

As states’ funding of child care and availability of certain services remain in flux, One Hope United’s work becomes even more vital to improving the future of children and families in the communities we serve. For this reason, our agency is honored to have so many committed donors who both believe in the work that that we do and continue to generously support our programs and sustainability. Two of these donors, are One Hope United board member Paul Earle and his spouse Ellen Rudnick.

“We wanted to focus our gift on the longer‑term health of a non‑profit organization,” said Earle. “Most non‑profits live day to day, especially when the economy is dreadful.” The retired Spencer Stuart senior leader has served on the One Hope United board since 2005, and as he and Rudnick focus their efforts on philanthropy and strategic giving, they have found that One Hope United lines up perfectly with their desire to give to agencies that focus on children and families and to support well‑managed, sustainable organizations with great outcomes.

“There are so many overwhelming problems in the world,” says Ellen Rudnick, Executive Director and Clinical Professor of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. “We take solace in knowing that by donating to One Hope United, we’re impacting one child and family at a time, right here in our own community.” Earle and Rudnick decided to make one large joint gift to One Hope United’s Capital Reserve Fund, instead of spreading a number of smaller gifts to a number of worthy non‑profit organizations. The couple wanted to make a more resonant impact and the reserve fund allows the agency to expand and remain sustainable.

Since establishing the Capital Reserve Fund, they have also contributed a three year commitment of funding for the residential CARE program. The funding is providing development and training of a new evidenced based, trauma informed model of care through Cornell University.

“Sustainability is extremely important for the future of non‑profits,” said Rudnick. “Organizations need new revenue models to couple with the social mission of their enterprise. Non‑profits can’t just rely on grants, government funds and direct mail campaigns to those who have given in the past. As individual donors, we can help set non‑profits off on the right path with strategic giving and guidance.”

Earle and Rudnick said that they admired the fiscal responsibility and accountability of One Hope United, but what was even more important in motivating them to give was the desire to sustain these programs as the state of government funding is uncertain. The majority of One Hope United’s services, such as early education, foster care and child/family counseling, are underwritten by government funds. As state deficits grow, funding for these programs shrinks. “What is happening to these children down the road because the State has stopped paying?” asked Earle.

In May, at OHU’s Hope In Action fundraiser, Earle and Rudnick were recognized with the Leadership In Giving award. “It is committed, generous individuals like Paul and Ellen who are filling in critical gaps for One Hope United children and families,” said CEO Scott Humphrey. Their giving spans many years and includes many types of gifts such as the Capital Reserves gift, the Cornell model training and many special moments for clients at sporting events in Chicago. One Hope United is forever grateful for the generosity of Paul Earle and Ellen Rudnick.