A Letter from Peter Bruun, Founder of the New Day Campaign

Published: December 5, 2017

The following letter to New Day Campaign stakeholders from Founder Peter Bruun originally appeared in the December 2017 New Day Campaign newsletter: 

As those who follow us know, the Advisory Board took a hiatus as the New Day Campaign headed into summer 2017. We had successfully completed a run of programs, including a statewide Naloxone public awareness campaign and an exhibition hosted by Maryland's First Lady Yumi Hogan, and yet with the unexpected departure of our first Executive Director earlier in the spring, our future was uncertain.

As Founder of the New Day Campaign in 2015, I felt committed to staying involved in program activities, but had no interest in leading an organization (for those who work in the non-profit world, you will be familiar with the difference between producing programs and running an organization). And as a member of the Advisory Board, I was as uncertain as the rest of the team what our future could be.

Several things took place by happenstance over the summer, not least of which were agencies and organizations expressing interest in paying for New Day Campaign programs (more on those activities below). Additionally, the Advisory Board concluded after some deliberation that neither a path to becoming a self-sufficient 501(c)3 organization nor becoming nested as a program within another existing organization appeared viable.

So what to do? The answer presented itself organically, surprisingly, and easily: to return to where we began. The New Day Campaign started as a project of Bruun Studios, and as such it shall now continue.

A brief overview of our winding history from 2015 to today:

In 2015, riding the grief of my daughter's death from a heroin overdose, I began the Campaign as a labor of love, operating under the auspices of my existing studio art practice, Bruun Studios. Following that extraordinary first run of programs (16 art exhibitions and 63 events over 92 days at the end of 2015), those involved during 2015 saw the obvious demand for continuing in some way. As my own interest from the outset was not to become an executive director of an ongoing proposition (2015 was originally intended to be a one-time thing), we formed an Advisory Board to pursue options for sustainability. We initiated a fundraising Founders' Circle Campaign that succeeded in raising the funds to hire an Executive Director and staff at the end of 2016, putting us on a potential path to become a 501(c)3 organization (we had been operating up to that point with NAMI Metro Baltimore serving as fiscal agent). As alluded to above, that direction became unworkable within several months.

As the saying goes, with each door that closes, another opens; as the New Day Campaign's future as a non-profit organization disappeared, the opportunity for it to become an ongoing venture as a regular business emerged. The irony of the success of the Founders' Circle Campaign (we raised nearly $150,000 in donations from nearly 300 individuals and dozens of organizations and foundations) is that while we did not launch as an organization, our fundraising accomplishments gave us the opportunity to maintain a programming presence before the public's eye. And some of those watching us were impressed enough to circle round in summer of 2017 to ask about the prospect of delivering programs in 2018 they would fund.

With my interest in producing programs, a path to future viability became clear: New Day Campaign activities for the public good as a product available through Bruun Studios and my leadership. Our public face remains "New Day Campaign," and our vibe and methodology remains identical to that of our most successful past programs. The only thing that changes is the operational structure -- which indeed is a return to our original operational structure.

We announced all this at our "Full-Circle Founders' Circle" event hosted by Marian House just last month on November 16. And for those of you who missed it, please read on below, where we share lots of news and information. As for me, I am happy to be back in this particular saddle: one rich in program opportunities, and light in organizational responsibility.

And what a pleasure it is to know I will be engaging with so many of you in our future.

Peter Bruun
New Day Campaign Founder