Fairbanks hires major gifts officer

Fairbanks welcomes Mariann Williams to its staff as major gifts officer. Her primary responsibility is developing relationships with donors who have the capacity to make larger gifts.

“That’s a process that requires a lot of time and relationship-building to gain trust and understanding of what our organization’s needs are,” said Williams of her new role.

Katy Crichlow Cummings, MA, CFRE, director of development and alumni relations, is excited to have Williams join her team.

“Fairbanks is growing and looking to help more people,” Cummings said. “Philanthropic support from the community helps us safe lives. I’m very excited to grow our fundraising program. Mariann is a thoughtful, experienced, fundraising professional.”

A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Williams earned a bachelor of science degree at the University of Michigan and eventually shifted her career to work at Psi Upsilon Fraternity and The Psi Upsilon Foundation as the director of development and alumni services.

“I learned a lot about fundraising during my tenure working for Psi Upsilon,” Williams said.

She was interested in the major gifts officer position at Fairbanks because, “I was looking for a new experience that I could be passionate about and a place where I could learn while still using skills I had already acquired.”

Plus Williams has a relative who was treated at Fairbanks several years ago.

“That was life-changing for all of us,” she said of her family, which includes her husband, Mark, and two grown sons. “Fairbanks helped us get through a very difficult time in our lives.”

Because of the high cost of health care, not everyone who seeks treatment at Fairbanks is adequately insured or can pay for services out of pocket. Williams wants to help as many of those people as she can.

“To have someone not go forward with treatment who needs and wants it because they can’t afford it is a tragedy – not just for that person and their family but for our community,” she said. “Fairbanks leads the way in addiction treatment as well as long-term recovery. We’re interested in the long-term success of patients, clients and alumni.”

That need also extends to Hope Academy. Supported by Fairbanks, it’s the only recovery high school in Indiana and one of only 35 nationally. The surgeon general, in that office’s first-ever report on addiction released last year, wrote of the need for such schools.

“When teenagers are struggling with addiction, they need a safe, healthy and supportive environment in which to finish their high school education,” Williams said. “We’re fortunate to have such a wonderful facility like that here. But our current funding doesn’t cover the full cost of a student’s education, so we must rely on outside contributions to ensure Hope Academy will always be there.”

As major gifts officer, Williams hopes to help dispel the stigma of addiction as a moral failing rather than a disease.

“My own experience with addiction helps me see it from a different perspective,” she said. “Addiction isn’t something anyone would choose to have. I meet people every day who still struggle with that concept. There is a genetic component as well as neurological and physical. Once you can put addiction into a similar category as diabetes and view it as a chronic disease, it’s easier to have more compassion and realize it could happen to anyone at any time.”

Williams may be reached by calling 317-572-9391 or emailing mwilliams@fairbankscd.org.