MAGI Community Report

  1. When was the organization founded, whom does it serve,

The Magi Fund was founded in 1994.  It serves the Joseph House Center and the Christian Shelter, two non-profit agencies meeting critical needs of the Lower Eastern Shore’s least fortunate.  The service area for these charities is generally the three Lower Eastern Shore Counties of Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester, although both also serve person who come from throughout the Delmarva Peninsula and even other states.

  • What services does the organization provide?

The Magi Fund’s sole purpose is to raise funds for the Joseph House Center and the Christian Shelter.  The following is a description of these agencies and their services.

  • The Joseph House Center is a ministry of the Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary.  Its two components, the Crisis Center and Joseph’s Workshop, seek to stabilize family life and meet basic needs for those in crisis or impoverished situations by providing food, clothing, financial and budgeting help, job counseling, friendship, guidance and spiritual direction.  Volunteers help empower clients to solve their problems, offering unconditional love, respect, acceptance, and the forgiveness of Christ to all while bringing Christ’s healing presence into wounded families.  Joseph’s Workshop is a shelter solely for homeless men providing long term care.  Its mission is to rehabilitate the chronically homeless by teaching them life skills that prepare them to re-enter society as a responsible citizen.
  • The Christian Shelter, Inc. was founded to meet the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of the homeless through a Christ-centered, home-like atmosphere.  The Shelter offers temporary housing, food and clothing to individuals and families.  The Shelter also assists its guest needing help with health issues, employment, addiction, family concerns and transportation.

The services of the Joseph House Center and the Christian Shelter are available to all without regard for age, sex, race or religion.

  • In what ways has the organization responded effectively to a significant community problem?

Homelessness and poverty have been on the rise for many years and are significant issues facing the Lower Shore.  The Magi Fund was established solely for the purpose of addressing these two issues.  It does so by raising funds to assist two local organizations whose primary goal is serving these individuals.  Over the past two decades, The Magi Fund has raised over $2 million to benefit these two charities.  From the start, 100% of all funds raised have been divided equally between the two organizations. 

In addition to financial support, the Magi Fund has increased awareness of the services provided by these two charities and elicited substantial direct support to the ministries from the community-at-large.

Also, the large numbers of individuals involved annually in the Magi Choral presentations and the large audiences that attend are made aware of the issue of poverty and homelessness throughout Delmarva.

  • How has the organization taken a leadership role in working with others?

Through its annual Choral presentations, the Magi Fund has created an opportunity for thousands of individuals to be part of its fundraising efforts. 

  • Annually for 25 years, over 400 singers (adults and children) from throughout the region participate in the Magi Choral Festival.  This outreach has included elementary and secondary school students from both the public and private sector; home schooled students; individuals from various choral groups, choirs, churches, civic and social organizations; and individuals who volunteer their time and talents to produce a high-quality annual event.
  • During its 25 years of operation, the Magi Fund’s creative fundraising effort has provided great opportunity for working collectively, not only with its two beneficiaries, but also with other non-profits, service organizations, schools, businesses, individuals and the community-at-large. 

A few long standing partnerships include:

  • The National Christian Choir, a group comprised of over 170 volunteer singers from the greater Washington-Baltimore area, which travels annually to Salisbury to perform in the Choral Festival.
  • Individuals with disabilities served by Lower Shore Enterprises, who provide help with mailings and, in return, receive complimentary tickets to the annual Choral Festival.  In 2015, there were over 40 LSE clients who attended the Choral Festival.
  • Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts fromthe Delmarva Council of the Boy Scouts of America, who volunteer at the Choral Festival to collect canned food donations.  Each year, the Scouts receive approximately 2,500 canned goods, which they divide equally for delivery to the food pantries of the Christian Shelter and the Joseph House Center. 
  • The Salvation Army, which for the past four years has been invited to bring its Red Kettles and Bell Ringers to the lobby of the Wicomico High School Auditorium before and after each Choral Festival performance.  Ticket holders are given prior notice about the Red Kettle Campaign and are encouraged to give.
  • Faith-filled Women, who for the past two years have come to help with ushering at both the Saturday and Sunday concerts and to serve our seniors and the physically challenged with seating.
  • Nonprofits that assist the disabled or less fortunate, groups to which the Magi Fund provides complimentary tickets.  A few of these are the Fruitland Community Center, Clients of Dove Pointe, the Joseph’s Workshop, and the clients served by the Joseph House Center and the Christian Shelter.
  • What impact has the organization’s work had on the community? 
  • During the two decades the Magi Fund has been in existence, it has raised over $2 million to benefit the poor and homeless.  These funds were raised through direct mail, personal solicitations, fund raising events and participation in the Perdue-Kresge Community Challenge.  Annual giving has ranged from $20,000 in the year of its inception to over $150,000 in other years.  In addition to cash, the Magi Fund was instrumental in facilitating a gift of real estate to the Joseph House Center that has provided a permanent home for the Joseph House Crisis Center and Joseph’s Workshop.   
  • The community-wide exposure the Magi Fund has brought to the work and ministries of the Christian Shelter and the Joseph House led several organizations, businesses and individuals to partner directly with these two charities to provide a much greater impact in assisting persons in need.  Assistance has been in the form of helping complete construction projects within the facilities, food drives, school supplies to children, Eagle Scout projects, financial gifts and volunteers.
  • The Magi Fund created a permanent endowment for the benefit of the Joseph House and the Christian Shelter at the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore.  Each year, the Magi Funds deposits 20% of its gross fundraising proceeds into the endowment.  The balance in the endowment is just over $636,900.
  • How has the organization demonstrated ingenuity, flexibility, and leveraging of available resources in responding to new and changing community needs?
  • The Magi Fund is an all-volunteer organization that operates off kitchen tables.  It has always done its work without paying a single salary, renting any office space or paying any office expenses.  All operating costs are paid from corporate sponsorships and advertising sold in the annual Choral Festival program booklet.  This allows 100% of every dollar raised through ticket sales and contributions to go directly to benefit the Joseph House and the Christian Shelter.  Of the annual proceeds, 20% of the funds are deposited into the Magi Fund Endowment at the Community Foundation for the benefit of the two charities.  The two charities will therefore continue to receive funds in perpetuity.
  • The Magi Fund has partnered with the Community Foundation from its very beginning.  In 1994, the Magi Choral Festival was launched with a $1,500 grant from the Foundation.  The Choral Festival was the Magi Fund’s primary fundraising event through its 25th anniversary year in 2018.
  • In 1996, at the request of the family, the Magi Fund used $1,100 in memorial contributions for Dr. Bernardo Luna to establish a permanent endowment with the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore. 
  • In 2002, The Magi Fund was accepted into the Perdue-Kresge challenge with a goal of $100,000.  In June 2003, after just 18 months, the Magi Fund completed its goal and received $100,000 in Perdue-Kresge matching funds.  Even though it is an all-volunteer organization, the Magi Fund was the first non-profit organization to reach its goal.  The Magi Fund subsequently committed to setting aside, for the Endowment, 20% of every dollar raised.  As of June 30, 2019, the total value of the Magi Endowment is $636,932.00.
  • Over the years, The Magi Fund has held a variety of unique fundraising events in addition to its annual Choral Festival.  These include formal dances in the historic ballroom of One Plaza East and the former Carriage House at Winter Place Park.  These events not only raised funds, they also raised community awareness about these two historic venues.
  • How has the organization demonstrated excellence in the community?

The Magi Fund’s Statement of Purpose reads, “The Magi Fund, Inc. is a financial and artistic vehicle uniting the community in a common effort for the benefit of the Joseph House Center and the Christian Shelter, two non-profit agencies meeting critical needs of the Lower Eastern Shore’s least fortunate.”

The Magi Fund has produced high yields on a very low budget.  It has never deviated from its mission of service and is careful to give credit to God alone for its success.

Its annual Choral Festival was a signature event for Salisbury, drawing visitors from surrounding states and providing a holiday tradition that delights some 2,000 audience members and about 400 performers each year.

In December of 2019, The Magi Fund will launch its newest endeavor – “A MAGIcal Christmas” – to raise funds for Joseph House Center and Christian Shelter.

“A MAGIcal Christmas” will be the combined talents of renowned National Christian Choir pianist Michael Faircloth and Symphony 21’s composer and artistic director Daniel Bowen, teaming up to produce an exciting holiday celebration with a definite twist.

  • Other comments.

In summation:

  • The Magi Fund has no paid staff; it is an all-volunteer organization.
  • It does not pay for office space or office expenses; everything is run off of kitchen tables.
  • The Magi Fund receives no government funding; all operating costs are paid from corporate sponsorships and advertising.
  • 100% of every dollar raised to go directly to benefit the Joseph House and the Christian Shelter.
  • 20% of the funds raised annually are deposited into the Community Foundation for the benefit of the two charities in perpetuity.
  • It has raised over $2 million in its two decades of existence, and has created endowments that will fund the two charities in perpetuity.

There is no way to put a monetary value on the goodwill created, or the number of volunteers hours invested, since the inception of the Magi Fund.  The Magi Fund is now in its second generation of volunteers and singers:  some of the children who now sing in the choir are offspring of original children’s choir members. 

The overall goal of the Magi Fund is to fulfill the mission of Matthew 25:40: “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”

The Magi Fund contends it is “doing the most for those with the least.”