A Contagious Enthusiasm for Hope Academy

A Contagious Enthusiasm for Hope Academy

Director of Development Mariann H. Williams, CFRE, Announces Retirement

In 2016, fundraising veteran Mariann Williams was looking for an opportunity to broaden her professional experience in the nonprofit sector. At the time she had already accomplished a great deal of success in her career, serving as the development director at a fraternity and foundation for 26 years. But there was something more she wanted in her profession—something Hope Academy could offer her. That something? Passion and purpose.

Mariann Williams, Hope Academy Development Director

“I felt a need to expand my experiences as a fundraiser and I have a passion for recovery, so the position as a major gifts officer for Hope Academy and Fairbanks was a perfect fit,” exclaimed Mariann.

When Mariann first started in the role, she worked to raise funds for both Fairbanks and Hope Academy. In 2019, Hope Academy began its new independent charter and Mariann became a full-time employee at the recovery high school, allowing her to focus her energy on engaging the school’s supporters, raising critical funding and generating awareness through community outreach and events. And in her five years of employment at Hope, she has many accomplishments for which to be proud.

“I’ve enjoyed establishing relationships with Hope Academy donors and developing the Hope Academy donor database. I am most proud of exceeding our fundraising goals regularly, which would not have happened without the help of the Hope Academy staff and volunteers—all of whom are passionate fans of the school and its students. We have also established a planned giving society for those donors who choose to make a provision for Hope Academy in their will,” shared Mariann.

Thanks to her good work, Hope Academy has expanded its funding sources from individual donors to community grants to corporate supporters—achievements that can be attributed to Mariann’s excitement for the school. Some might even say her passion is contagious.

“It has been wonderful to introduce people to Hope Academy and watch their enthusiasm for this unique school grow,” Mariann said. “Once people hear about the mission, they are quick to ask, “How can I help?” which is music to a fundraiser’s ears.”

When asked about the most rewarding part of her job, Mariann says it’s the students.

“I know there are students who will have a bright future as the result of getting their high school diploma from Hope Academy,” said Mariann. “I feel privileged to be able to get to know some of the students and watch them change as they mature and maintain their recovery. The transformation is amazing.”

They say all good things must come to an end, and Mariann’s retirement is certainly bittersweet for everyone at Hope Academy. As she prepares for her departure this June, we wish her well and hope she enjoys much-deserved time with her family, volunteering and exploring new and old hobbies. Of course, we will be seeing Mariann soon as she remains an avid Hope supporter from the sidelines. And she has big expectations for Hope’s future.

“I am sure that the support of our donors will continue to grow which will allow Hope Academy to become a household name and serve more students,” Mariann beamed. “It would be great to see additional recovery schools— Hope Academy South, North and Central become a reality in Indiana.”

With the solid foundation Mariann has laid during her tenure at Hope, anything is possible. And in true fundraising profession fashion, Mariann has one final request for everyone who loves this school.

“Please continue to support Hope Academy and share the story with everyone you meet. There are many more families who need to know about this recovery high school.”

Thank you, Mariann, for your steadfast commitment over the last five years. We are grateful.