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Ellen Cokinos Consulting for Nonprofits

To Serve, Strengthen and Sustain

Case Studies

The Monarch Institute for Neurological Differences and The Monarch School

Phase I and II Capital Campaigns for a New Campus



The Monarch Institute embraces individuals with neurological differences, so that they can seize opportunities to positively impact their families, our communities and the world. The Institute’s efforts focus on helping those with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, Tourette syndrome, anxiety disorders, traumatic brain injury and seizure disorders.

Continually energized and inspired by this vital mission, Monarch’s visionary leaders and tireless volunteers, Ellen Cokinos Consulting began a seven-year relationship with Monarch. As a result of this longstanding alliance, $17 million in funds were raised, a new campus was born, and more children than ever before were empowered by the mission of Monarch.

In 2006, Monarch School was a fragmented facility – housed in two temporary buildings and an office park in west Houston. Unable to renew its lease, Monarch was also faced with the daunting prospect of relocation. Thankfully, a generous corporate sponsor offered Monarch a long-term lease, in an ideal 10.75-acre location for only $1 per year. Obstacle became opportunity, as Monarch leaders now endeavored build a home worthy of their students, families, faculty and mission.

To this end, Ellen Cokinos Consulting partnered with Monarch School in an ambitious, long-term capital campaign. Prior to Ellen Cokinos Consulting involvement, initial studies revealed that only a $2 million goal was feasible, and the financial crisis of 2008 contributed to a campaign stalled at $1 million. Moreover, grand visions of the new campus encompassed three construction and fundraising phases, totaling $17 million.

To ensure this ambitious goal was met, Ellen Cokinos Consulting crafted a strategic and tactical approach that –

  • Encompassed campaign and program endorsement from influential community leaders
  • Positioned the Monarch School as a community asset
  • Integrated a marketing plan touting the school’s services, endorsements, testimonials and vision
  • Resulted in a case for support that both embraced and transcended the school’s track record of excellence

This approach was possible thanks to the school’s consistent operational funding and sound revenue model, as well as a host of distinctive and genuine assets that made Monarch School the ideal candidate for a successful capital campaign.

Directed by an especially passionate founder and then Head of School, Dr. Marty Webb, Monarch School’s clinically renowned faculty and innovative programs provided a blueprint that could be replicated nationwide. Underpinning it all – a deeply committed community of parents, families and alumni spanning demographics of Houston. Many who moved to Houston specifically to benefit from Monarch’s successful program model.

Across seven years, Ellen Cokinos Consulting worked alongside Monarch School meeting a number of significant goals in route to a successful capital campaign.

  • Raised $17 million to complete the campaign and campus
  • Significant gifts, which included a $5 million campus-name lead gift
  • Accompanying design of naming and donor-recognition program
  • Secured corporate in-kind gift resulting in rebranding of all Monarch collateral materials, including establishment of The Monarch Institute for Neurological Differences, incorporating this entity into the campaign structure
  • Planning and execution of two facility openings with speakers, former Secretary of State James Baker and Former First lady Barbara Bush
  • Design of corporate gifts model, secured chair, resulting in multi-state gifts
  • Restructure of the campaign to encompass two achievable phases and an alternative leadership model
  • Met with donors during financial crisis to update them on campaign adjustment plans
  • Comprehensive analysis of potential donors, broadening of prospect list and retooling of all proposals
  • Executive coaching for campaign chairs, leaders and staff

Since the opening of a classroom building, training and administration center, the newly dubbed Monarch Institute for Neurological Differences is able to serve more children and young adults than ever, while providing more programs and therapeutic services to the community.

Learn More about Monarch Institute

Monarch School Expands (from Chron.com, Feb. 2014)

Monarch Secures $300,000 Gift from O’Quinn (from Chron.com, Dec. 2007)

“I like to call Ellen Cokinos a 'fundraising phenom', but she has meant so much more to Wesley and to me – as a trusted advisor, empathetic executive coach, practical board trainer, and insightful strategic planner.”

Diana Garbis,
Executive Director, Wesley Community Center, Houston, Texas.

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