In January 2022, Nick Goebel was named the Executive Director of the Proffitt Brothers Foundation®. As the organization goes through a period of transition, it is important all of its stakeholders know what is changing and why. So, we spoke with Nick about the direction of the foundation and how they will increase their positive impact on the causes they support. Read the Q&A below.
How did you become involved with this organization?
As a public relations professional, Spartan Medical hired me in the spring of 2021 to help raise the profile of the company. Spartan Medical was rapidly growing and they wanted help sharing the news of their success and the positive impact they were having on the communities they were serving.
I quickly learned that the Proffitt Brothers Foundation®, which is Spartan Medical’s charitable arm, was also doing a lot of great things. So, in the fall of 2021, I asked Vince Proffitt, President of Spartan Medical and Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Proffitt Brothers Foundation®, if I could also work with the foundation. His answer was yes, and in fact, they had an opportunity to organize a two-day fundraiser in Annapolis, Maryland. The one caveat – they had only forty days to organize it. Vince asked if I could lead the charge on the project.
With the help of event production specialists including John O’Leary at Naptown Events, Patti Brownstein at PLB Promotional Marketing and Event Management, and Maddie Starr at the Proffitt Brothers Foundation®, we organized the American Heroes Benefit and Festival in November 2021.
The two-day event consisted of a swanky gala on Friday night and a music festival all day Saturday. The gala had a fourteen-piece band, a live auction and speeches by the leaders of the four beneficiaries. The festival had four bands, games, and multiple cash bars. Both events were in a large tent on the Annapolis City Dock.
The American Heroes Benefit and Festival was attended by hundreds of people, increased awareness of the four nonprofit beneficiaries and their missions, and raised money for their programs. The fundraiser also helped us build an event production infrastructure that we’ll continue to use, and it increased the profiles of the Proffitt Brothers Foundation® and Spartan Medical.
What do you see as your role?
After the success of the American Heroes Benefit and Festival and the work I was doing with Spartan Medical, Vince Proffitt asked if I wanted to come on board full time with both organizations. At the beginning of this year, I became the Director of Public Relations and Government Affairs for Spartan Medical as well as the Executive Director of the Proffitt Brothers Foundation®.
To succeed in either position, I believe I must play the role of a leader. My responsibilities are to identify opportunities, determine the objectives and strategies necessary to take advantage of them, and motivate and mobilize teams to accomplish strategic goals. I can only do that if I play the role of a leader.
What do you, personally, spend most of your time on?
When it comes to the Proffitt Brothers Foundation®, I report to the Board of Trustees. My job is to implement the Board of Trustees’ mission, vision and policies and manage the foundation’s day-to-day activities.
Considering our current goals, most of my time is spent researching how other foundations have succeeded, creating proposals that I pitch to the Board, and taking the steps required to implement those proposals and anything the Board of Trustees proposes.
What is your top goal for 2022? Our main goal in 2022 is to professionalize the foundation and take it to the next level. Although the foundation was founded in 2018, it did not have long-term strategic planning, standard operating procedures or programs. Don’t get me wrong, the foundation was still making a positive impact on the causes it was supporting, but it was more ad hoc and less strategic. When I joined the foundation at the beginning of this year along with a new Board of Trustees, we all recognized there was a lot of opportunity to grow and build the organization. So, we made it our top priority to professionalize the foundation, because that will help us increase the positive impact we have on the causes we support.
What results does the Proffitt Brothers Foundation® want to achieve?
The mission of the foundation is to “find people who have demonstrated the propensity to do good, and to incentivize that incredible behavior with funding to make the biggest possible impact in the most expedient and efficient manner possible.” Simply put, we help people who are making a positive impact, make a bigger impact. We supercharge their efforts. Vince likes to say, “We make things that should matter, matter.” For instance, the Proffitt Brothers Foundation® was the title sponsor for two big events in the past year.
Operation Santa in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is an annual event that provides toys to children who have a mother or father on deployment and/or have a need for a little extra help during the holiday season. Last year, nearly 4,000 people attended and over 800 bags filled with gifts were given to children.
Live Water Foundation in Annapolis, Maryland is a nonprofit that facilitates water sports programs that improve the health, wellness, and environment of their communities. On Friday, May 6th, the nonprofit held their inaugural Live Water Luau to raise funds to support their 2022 programs.
Also, the Proffitt Brothers Foundation® bought a sailboat and new sails for the Valhalla Sailing Project in Annapolis, Maryland which uses the sport of sailboat racing to provide wounded, disabled and separating veterans the sense of camaraderie that is missing from civilian life.
In addition, the Proffitt Brothers Foundation® provided financial support to 3 Sisters, which raises awareness and improves the lives of people affected by breast cancer, and Luke’s Wings which reunites wounded, ill, and injured service members with their loved ones by providing complimentary airfare during recovery and rehabilitation.
We’re excited our next title sponsorship is for an annual spy-themed black-tie event organized by 7 Benefit LTD. Net proceeds will fund veteran and active duty suicide prevention.
We want to continue supporting most of those nonprofits and find others who are making a positive impact so we can help them as well. And we want to “diversify” by supporting individuals, not just nonprofits.
What steps are you taking to help achieve those results?
One of our objectives is to launch a scholarship program during the fall 2022 academic semester. We are in the initial stages of creating the program, so there are a lot of details we need to figure out and a lot of hard work ahead of us. However, I can tell you that the scholarship will most likely be geared toward individuals who have persevered in the face of adversity that comes with losing a parent. Helping children who have lost a parent would honor Greg Proffitt’s vision and mission, which is the purpose of the foundation. It’s what Greg would’ve wanted as a father of two children.
Our other objective is to organize another successful fundraiser. We want to create a unique, reproduceable event that aligns with our values, mission, and passions. The American Heroes Benefit and Festival was a successful event, but we want to take what worked and tweak it a little bit. We’ll have much more on that to share in the next month or so.
Finally, I personally believe we should start offering support services to the nonprofits we provide funding to. For example, we could help nonprofits develop fundraising plans, organize events, increase awareness or improve the effectiveness of their programs, all of which would further supercharge their efforts.
What barriers are in your way to achieve the results you want?
Because we are private charitable organization, many people think we don’t need funding. Yes, it’s correct that most of our funding comes from Spartan Medical and Vince Proffitt. In fact, the foundation was entirely funded by Spartan Medical through June 2021, with 100% of all donations going to the causes it supported.
However, our core strength is supercharging the efforts of the individuals and nonprofits who are making a difference but need some help. The more funding we have, the more we can help these organizations. Moreover, the financial support we provide is complemented by the support services we currently also provide, especially the awareness we build for their organizations, missions and programs.
What differentiates Proffitt Brothers Foundation® from other organizations?
Vince and I have had many conversations about this. It’s amazing how many nonprofits we’ve encountered that are unable to collaborate. For instance, there have been multiple times that we’ve identified nonprofits that we thought might be organizations we could support. Unfortunately, we quickly learned that many are too busy to do the basic steps necessary to collaborate. Every nonprofit, no matter what it is or who runs it, is seeking funding. For any organization to lose out on funding because of their inability to collaborate effectively is doing a disservice to their staff, board of directors, benefactors, and most importantly, their beneficiaries.
The Proffitt Brothers Foundation® is also different from other nonprofits because it devotes nearly 100% of its revenue to its programs, not administrative expenses such as salaries and overhead. That is one of Vince Proffitt’s biggest complaints, nonprofit organizations using funding for their own self-interests instead of helping the communities they serve. There are plenty of examples. As for the Proffitt Brothers Foundation®, we guarantee that no less than 90% of our funding will go to the causes we support.
What do you think your beneficiaries would say is the best thing about your organization?
Our ability to supercharge their efforts. There are a lot of organizations and individuals out there donating money to any nonprofit that gets their attention. The Proffitt Brothers Foundation® not only provides financial support, it also provides complementary services that increase the awareness of their organizations and missions. And I believe we’ll expand those complimentary services in the months and years ahead.
Any last thoughts?
Yes, the Proffitt Brothers Foundation®’s competitive advantage is our passion and purpose. There are many organizations out there doing the same thing as us, but the reason we do it better is because of our passion and purpose. The Proffitt Brothers Foundation® was founded in July 2018 to honor the vision and mission of Gregory Proffitt, who was Vince Proffitt’s brother and Spartan Medical’s Vice President & General Counsel. The other members of the Board of Trustees are Greg’s widow, Kara Proffitt, and Greg’s sister, Jennifer Proffitt. Each of them is determined to honor Greg’s vision and mission. Any time there is such determination, only great things can happen. I am absolutely convinced that the Proffitt Brothers Foundation® will become an influential organization that is well-known for making a positive impact on many people’s lives across the United States. Just watch us!