Usually a mentor is someone older than you.  Most of mine have been.  But I can cite a couple cases where someone younger has blessed me with their expertise and experience.  One person in particular.  And now he’s my successor!  (We sent the news in an email right after Christmas …)

I met Kyle Dickinson in 2013 when he was the Vice President of Advancement at Union Gospel Mission.  I immediately sensed a maturity beyond years.  He was a skillful advocate for UGM’s work and hosted dynamic events.  He was the leader of a fellowship group at church, inviting Jennifer and me to speak about SLF and our ministry in the Grant Neighborhood.  Together, he and I served on a committee that that worked with Corban students to imagine various business models for what is now the Better Than Mama’s restaurant space in Broadway Commons.

Over time, the SLF board and I discerned that Kyle would be a great addition to the team.  He was approved and joined the board in 2015.  That same year, he became one of our RainFest golfers and formed what is still one of the top-producing foursomes: The Ninja Turtles!  (You should see them, in costume, golfing through the sleet and mud!  Actually, you can … Page 2)   A couple years later Kyle became SLF’s board president.  In this role, he brought a game-changing curriculum to our way of sustaining the mission.  A trio of books by R. Scott Rodin –starting with  The Third Conversion – was the natural follow-up to The Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri Nouwen, which DJ had introduced to us.  In concert, the key concepts took all the fundraising pressure off … it’s not ‘begging’ or ‘selling’ or ‘closing deals.’  It’s a ‘mutual call to ministry’ based on common mission, storytelling, and relationship over time.  The ‘yes’ responses increased and the ‘no’ stopped being taken personally or as a failure.  In this way, Kyle helped retool SLF’s (and my) ability to raise support.  Thanks mentor!

After UGM, Kyle led the successful capital campaign to build The Gate Youth Center at First Baptist Church in Independence; served as Director of Development at George Fox University, where he also earned his MBA; and more recently has served clients with Dickinson Consultants, a juggernaut resource-development firm founded by his wife Joy to help nonprofits expand their capacity.  Including many in the Salem-Keizer area.

In order to honor the commitments he’s made to his clients, Kyle will be half-time with SLF through Fancy Friday in June.  After that, he and I will continue to work together through the end of 2024, when the baton-pass will be complete.  You will see us tag-teaming all year as we attend meetings together and reach out to meet with partners.            See you soon!



DOUBLE THE FUN WITH A PAIR OF RAINFESTs ON 2/26 and 3/2.    Our quirky wintertime golf event is 13 years old, and this is the 4th year we’ll be hosting two RainFest events to maximize the fun and the fundraising.  On Monday, Feb. 26, “The Traditionalists” will be at Salem Golf Club slogging in the rain, sleet, mud, fog, ice and maybe snow!  On the following Saturday, March 2, “The TopGolfers” will be heading up to Hillsboro for a variety of fun golf feats and challenges – it’s driving range, video games, pinball, and bowling all rolled into one!  In total, we’re hoping for 15 teams and 60 golfers who will raise $140,000+ (eclipsing the record of $131,500).  All to support SLF and our 50+ partnerships in the neighborhoods.

There’s plenty of time to sponsor a golfer, and each one is ‘driving’ to raise at least $2,500 in pledges to compensate for their bravery and fortitude. To sponsor one of our fearless golfers, go and check the RainFest box.  We’re also looking for RainFest corporate sponsorships at $3,000 (Titleist), $2,000 (Propane), $1,000 (Gortex) and $500 (Umbrella).  To tee it up with us, call Slammin’ Sammy Snead at 503-884-8194 or sam@salemLF.orgFORE!