In the summer of 2010, I worked with the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra and Mrs. Maureen Miller to secure financial support for this distinguished organization, which just completed its 65th Season. The CCSO needed to identify new sponsors to broaden its base of support, which has happily met with some success, and thereby to provide a more solid financial footing for the organization. In the future, it is hoped an endowment campaign can be organized and launched, to help provide a long-term source of ongoing support for the Corpus Christi Symphony’s ongoing activities.
2008 and 2009
From September, 2009 through March, 2010, I worked full-time with The Daughters of The Republic of Texas, Inc. to develop a $9.5 million capital campaign – “A Vision for the 21st Century” – to construct a new headquarters facility called the Republic of Texas History Center on property adjacent to the historic French Legation Museum in downtown Austin. I designed and composed a member and prospect newsletter (distributed to 7,000), general solicitation brochure, campaign case for support document, and matching PowerPoint slide show. In addition, I assisted the DRT with advanced prospect research (on prospects with a combined potential contribution value of more than $100 million), arranged meetings with prospective contributors across the state, and composed a master grant proposal for use throughout the five-year campaign. I was also pleased to help the Austin “Vision Team” volunteers secure a lead gift from The Fondren Foundation.
September 1, 2008 through August 31, 2009, I worked full-time with the Rob & Bessie Welder Wildlife Conservation Foundation to lay the groundwork for a $4,693,000 capital campaign to construct a new education and museum facility on the grounds of the Welder Wildlife Refuge. I wrote and designed a 29-page case for support and matching PowerPoint slide presentation, and give thanks to past participants in the Coastal Bend Wildlife Photo Contest for the use of several gorgeous photographs in these campaign documents. In addition, I conducted prospect research, orchestrated initial fundraising calls, and wrote grant proposals (with a potential value of over $2,000,000). While developing the organization’s campaign infrastructure, I was pleased to assist in securing a lead gift from AEP Texas. I also developed a blueprint for an enhanced development program overall.
From January through August 2008, I worked with the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas on stewardship activities for an already-completed major gift effort; on advanced research regarding several hundred new prospective donors for a second, 60 county major gift effort (total value in excess of $100,000,000); and I developed cultivation activities for the new major gift campaign (among them orchestrating a 100-person VIP dinner at the San Antonio Country Club, and designing, writing and producing the Diocese’s first donor-specific newsletter. In brief, the Diocese had relied upon the same donors for quite a few years. My efforts involved identifying new sources of future support. Once my work was complete, I urged the Diocese to hire a development professional on staff to begin the lengthy cultivation work required with the new prospects I had identified.
As part of my work, I prepared a comprehensive, 24-page report regarding the Diocese’s overall development operations (road map); suggested potential new directions; and identified a planned giving consultant to assist with that aspect of its operations. In addition, I followed in the footsteps of a prior year of voluntary service (i.e., free, donated in-kind assistance) to help Development Board Chair Alice Heldenfels Sallee and campaign Chair Mary D. Clark refine solicitation materials, identify prospects, solicit potential donors, and write grants to support the expansion of Mustang Island Conference Center.
For the first three months of 2007, I helped the staff of the Texas State Aquarium organize a $3,000,000 capital fund drive, Conservation Cove. I designed and wrote a 52-page case for support (for in-house production), and related campaign solicitation and tracking materials. I conducted research on prospective donors, developed strategies of approach, arranged meetings and conversations with potential donors, and launched the grant writing process. I was instrumental in helping the Aquarium secure a grant for a new American alligator exhibition from The Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation.
From April through December, 2007, I worked full-time with the Chinati Foundation. Projects included identifying a constituent management system, conducting grant research and grant writing, and planning for multiple capital campaigns. My work was supported in part by a grant I secured from The Meadows Foundation, Inc. (one that required a match, and I personally helped provide that match). Among other successful grants I helped Chinati secure were from The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston, The Henry Luce Foundation (two grants), The William Randolph Hearst Foundations, and The Terra Foundation for American Art. In some of the aforementioned cases, I was told by other staff I had no chance at all of securing grants from those sources, but I was able to do so. There were several individual donations that I helped secure in support of the Chinati endowment as well as general operations.
As an aside, several of the grants I helped secure were multiple year pledges; as the global financial crisis began the very next year, those payments helped this nonprofit weather the storm more easily than most! I enjoyed my collaboration with long-time Chinati administrator and bookkeeper Barbara Blake, whose assistance with grant research and writing was truly invaluable.
I returned to Marfa to work with Chinati in 2007 after many years of volunteer work. Having met the late founder Donald Judd in 1993, when I was asked to help him explore a conservation easement on his property in the Chinati Mountains, I was pleased to see how far the Foundation had come, and happy to contribute to its continued success (my meeting with Judd is described on Tumblr.)
In the case of each of the above nonprofit organizations, I donated a great deal of my business expenses (I did not charge them), and in the case of Chinati, I matched my own grant proposal to The Meadows Foundation substantially. That grant was aimed at supporting that nonprofit’s professional fundraising activities.
Photograph at top is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.