Transformations 2016 Annual Report

A Year of Transformation

Dear Friends,

2016 was certainly a year of transformations, both in communities across America and at our home base in Omaha! We are proud of our accomplishments and the fundraising goals our projects were able to meet.

A few of the year’s bright spots include:

  • Achieving the milestone of $2 million in total donations since we were founded in 2012.
  • Publishing 427 stories, an increase of 101 stories over 2015, bringing our total stories published since 2012 to 881.
  • Increasing our donations from $724,441 in 2015 to $945,234 in 2016.

These significant achievements were certainly not realized without help. We are so grateful for all the continued support we have received from our Board of Directors, fundraisers, donors, the team, and the entire WoodmenLife family. We could not have been as successful as we were without all of these groups working together toward our vision of helping those in need.

While we’re transforming lives through fundraising, we’ve also made a few internal changes. Through adding new team members and updating our processes, is more efficient than ever. Additionally, we are in the process of creating a new look and feel for our website. Our objective is to provide a user-friendly experience for fundraisers and donors. Look for the updates soon!

I hope to continue carrying this momentum through 2017 and beyond. Looking forward, I know this year will bring many more transformations of tiny deeds into tremendous good.

Thank you for your generous, ongoing commitment and support of


Mary Katherine Smith


Transformations – Internal

2016 was a year of changes for Implementing new processes has helped us provide a more seamless experience for everyone involved. Below are just a few of the ways we’ve transformed our internal work flow:

  • Application Review Process – In an effort to allow our Account Managers to focus more on publishing projects and assisting fundraisers, our application review process was revamped.
  • WoodmenLife/ Contact Integration – Strengthening the connection between and WoodmenLife is a priority. New users are offered the opportunity to learn more about WoodmenLife’s services and products by connecting with their local Regional Office.
  • Service Levels – Our Account Managers are able to provide better customer service as soon as a project is assigned, because all documentation has been received prior to project approval. Since these changes have been implemented, Account Managers are now able to get most projects published within three to five business days of approval.
  • Account Verification Process – To ensure the privacy and safety of our fundraisers, we’ve started using an account verification process. This is similar to what you would be asked when calling into a bank or healthcare system.
  • Grant Disbursement Form – Once a campaign is closed, fundraisers are often eager to get their funds and pay off their bills. We’ve created a form to advise the fundraiser of the amount and date that funds will be released. This form removes some of the questions that fundraisers might have regarding their funds, and reminds them of receipt requirements.

New Website

We’ve also transformed our website, but the address is still the same:

We hope the new site will increase awareness of the good things we’re doing, while making it easier for people to find causes they care about and share their passion with their social media and personal networks.


Transformations – External

Our mission is to help people transform their lives after experiencing life-changing events, like illnesses or natural disasters. We also help transform communities by providing a space for community projects to raise funds. In 2016, we raised:

  • More than $860,000 to help 319 individuals cover expenses from medical conditions and other health issues.
  • $8,500 to help 12 families rebuild after natural disasters like fires and floods.
  • $56,399 to fund 96 community projects to boost their residents’ sense of community.

Success Stories

Powering Up Budge Porter: $43,530 raised to provide a fully powered wheelchair to this former Huskers football player.

Support Rory and Elli’s Resilience: $2,250 donated to restore this family’s log cabin after it was destroyed by a fire.

New Books for Pontotoc County Library: $1,410 donated to purchase large print books for readers with impaired vision.

Board of Directors

Rachel Taylon Adams

Attorney, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

Pat Dees

President & CEO, WoodmenLife

Annette Devine

Vice President of Accounting Services, WoodmenLife

Matt Ellis

Executive Vice President & Secretary, WoodmenLife

Larry King

Chairman of the Board, WoodmenLife

Robert Maher

Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, WoodmenLife

Denise McCauley

Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, WoodmenLife

Erin Swanson Russell

Vice President of Development, Goodwill Industries, Inc.

Mike Shealy

President & Co-Owner, Carroll’s Electric Services

Mary Katherine Smith


Ken Carbullido

Senior Vice President, Election Systems and Software

Financial Information

Total Income:


Total Program Expenses:


Total Fundraising Expenses:
(contributed services)


Total Administrative Expenses:
(fully financed by WoodmenLife)


Total Donations:


Total End of Year Net Assets:

$52,348.81 Team

We’re lucky to have a diverse, fun mix of people on our staff who are committed to working hard to help our Fundraisers and Donors get the most out of their experience!

Mary Katherine Smith


Mary Katherine has transformed into a mother of twin girls this year, and has helped the team grow, both in quality and quantity.

Keli Brown

Operations Lead

Since getting married last year, Keli has made the transition from Miss Offerman to Mrs. Brown, and still sometimes does a double take when someone uses her married name.

Lauren Fischer

Communications Specialist

Lauren is the newest member of the team, taking over communications responsibilities, and has transformed into a true Nebraskan after surviving her first northern winter.

Amber Brooks

Account Manager

Amber transformed her passion for animals into being a volunteer trained educator at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, where she shares her knowledge with visitors of all ages.

Darian Tellez

Account Manager

From joining the team to becoming a father for the first time, Darian has had a year full of transformations, both personally and professionally.

At, we believe that tiny deeds can create tremendous good.
Here are a few more of our beliefs and core values.

Our Mission is a nonprofit fundraising website dedicated to helping individuals raise money for personal emergencies and community improvement projects in a fee-free environment.

Our Vision is dedicated to helping those who need it most by creating a place to connect fundraisers and donors.

Our Values:

  • Respect: we believe in the value of every person.
  • Community: we believe we’re all in this together.
  • Grit: we know how to push up our sleeves and get our hands dirty.
  • Hope: we honor the courage of our Fundraisers and believe that everyone has a superpower waiting to be revealed.
  • Innovation: we upend commonly held beliefs and concepts and examine them for a better way.
  • Fun: we try to forget we’re at work.
  • Transparency: we’re an open book.

Thank You

“I actually felt like I was dealing with family when I reached out to for help. I feel the organization instills a sense of community, even if it’s someone who is in need that lives across the country.”
– Bobby Wayne Freeman (Believe in Bobby)

“When I lost my son suddenly to leukemia, I contacted because I knew the medical bills would put his wife in debt for quite some time. They were pleasant to work with, and very understanding of our situation and grieving. We were blessed to receive enough donations to pay for all of the medical bills that insurance didn’t cover. I would most definitely recommend to others who may need financial assistance following a medical or natural disaster.”

– Kevin Lowman (Love for the Lowman family)

“Three words I would use to describe would be ‘truly a blessing.’ The customer service has been 100 percent! They work with you to create and publish a very well put together story from the information you give them. Their account managers walk you through step by step for any questions or needs. How awesome!”

– Christy Langston (Renewed Vision for Logan)