My mission is to help communities and organizations raise significant funding for worthwhile nonprofit projects, and/or to set the stage in order to do so. I conduct my work in the most efficient, thoughtful and high quality manner possible, and mostly by hand. I am a one-person company, unaffiliated with other consultants or consulting firms. Public relations (including managing difficult situations), and digital communications are additional areas of expertise, available to nonprofits or for-profit organizations.
The below is a partial overview of my work; not included are a few short-term assignments. Questions? Contact me any time using the contact form found on this website.
July, 2016 to the Present
I moved to southwestern Austin, to the Texas Hill Country in March, 2017. I am enjoying the natural beauty and friendly residents of the area.
The NTEN & NetSquared Nonprofit Tech Club Meetup continues to receive a great deal of my volunteer attention, and happily, even the staff at Meetup headquarters in New York noticed my efforts on the platform. For NetSquared early in 2017, I gave an hour-long ReadyTalk webinar about how I setup and manage Meetup, for the benefit of tech club organizers across the U.S. and globally. Sincere thanks go to our volunteer expert Meetup speakers, and to the venues that have provided meeting space free of charge. Special thanks to Capital Factory for being our primary #NPTechClubATX venue. Our nonprofit tech education Meetup is a partnership including NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network, NetSquared (a TechSoup partner), Capital Factory, and in 2017 we added Polycot Associates to the list. Thanks to all!
To see an Adobe Spark video thanking our 2017 guest speakers, volunteers and venues, follow this link. To see more of my work with Adobe Spark, follow this link to my YouTube channel (new section created in 2017).
I completed an AngelList profile in 2017, and I have suggested some projects for funding/investment. This is something I would never have done without getting to know Capital Factory and its stable of inspiring innovators the past few years (#introvert). Grateful! If you have an interest in one of my projects, let me know – I would be happy to draw up a budget for each.
I was pleased to become a founding “ally” of Nonprofit Ally’s new interactive online platform, and I wrote my first blog post in fall, 2016, “Giving Thanks.” A few months later in 2017, I was the featured guest of a Nonprofit Ally “get down” podcast with founder Steve Vick, “Insider Tips from a Professional Grant Writer.”
In January, I was pleased to step-up for colleagues at the Texas Solar Energy Society, to create a fifteen minute YouTube video for broadcast to the nonprofit’s membership during its annual meeting in Irving. The state of the industry update by Charlie Hemmeline of Texas Solar Power Association provided information in his absence from that important gathering. I used two iPhones to capture the video, then spliced the videos together with YouTube Video Editor. I so enjoyed working on this, and donating my time to TSES.
Thanks to Ricky Ribeiro of BizTech Magazine for sharing a quote by me in, “4 Pearls of Wisdom for Nonprofit Technology in 2017” (February, 2017). For my 2017 nonprofit predictions posted in fall, 2016, see Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog.
I was invited to speak at Sam Houston State University in March on, “Tech Solutions: Nonprofit Fundraising and Communications” for the Association of Computer Scientists, many of whom are contemplating creating apps and embarking upon social good projects once they graduate. This was an inspiring visit, and I enjoyed speaking very much!
I was honored to be invited by Bloomerang to author another blog article about volunteering in April. Sharing the link! Thanks to Bloomerang for making a donation to IREC: Interstate Renewable Energy Council in honor of my contribution (I have served on the IREC Board since 2011). In November, I wrote another blog post for Bloomerang, “How Startup Nonprofits Can Break Into the Big Leagues,” and similarly, they made a donation to IREC in recognition of the article.
AFP DFW Philanthropy in Action Conference at the Irving Convention Center was great fun. I spoke about asking for major gifts and expecting the unexpected. The event occurred on May 19 and I had a “full house” and many excellent follow-up questions. My slide deck may be viewed by following this link to SlideShare. Locally, I followed up after the talk with a more brief “chat” about asking at the Regional Foundation Library in Austin (newly renamed the Texas Grant Resource Center of The University of Texas at Austin, Division of Diversity and Community Engagement).
I have continued volunteering for other nonprofit organizations as time allows. As questions reach me via the secure contact form on this website and Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog, I continue responding with the best information I can muster. I have also continued to hone my skills on YouTube.
Two activities I have enjoyed involve grant research and writing for special projects underway at Texas Sealife Center (South Texas) and Austin Free-Net. Texas Sealife Center, an all-volunteer veterinarian-driven nonprofit, hopes to fund facility improvements to provide better medical care for injured and stranded wildlife. With the advent of Hurricane Harvey, the Center had to double-up and take in a large number of additional wildlife, as another partner organization to the north was badly damaged during the storm. Approximately $250,000 in grant proposals were researched and prepared; I completed the Center’s first full GuideStar profile (securing the gold seal for transparency); I completed its first GreatNonprofits review profile (I’m enjoying those reviews very much!); I created a “draft” WordPress website (for potential modernization); and I have helped introduce the Center to a larger number of volunteers and potential sponsors. To read my blog post about Texas Sealife Center, “Hurricane Inspiration on the Gulf Coast,” follow the link. For fun, see my “Turtles & Tortoises” board on Pinterest (I’ve been saving global information on Pinterest this year, as part of my learning). Please contact them (or me), if you are interested in supporting the Center’s lifesaving work. Currently they focus on sea turtles, shorebirds, raptors and eventually the Center hopes to support area dolphin populations.
Austin Free-Net has several digital inclusion programs in the works in Travis County, Texas. “New technology promises opportunity for all, but only on an equal playing field with equal access to information, education and involvement in the community. Anyone having the desire should be able to access the Internet to improve their lives and contribute to society. With this in mind, Austin Free-Net exists to make equal access to computing resources a reality.” I updated the organization’s GuideStar profile and helped it attain the gold seal for transparency. In November, Juanita Budd and I were pleased to receive notice of two new grants on which we worked, one from Spectrum and another from Texas Innovative Adult Career Education (ACE), valued at more than $450,000 (for two separate computer education programs). We are energized, and work continues on new proposals!
Austin Free-Net’s mission is one of the most important of any nonprofit today. To read my blog post on the topic of digital inclusion, follow this link. If you have an interest in Austin Free-Net, let me know. To watch some inspiring video testimonials, follow this link.
April through June, 2016
I enjoyed a brief, three-month assignment with Freedom Flyers, a nonprofit organization devoted to honoring veterans and community heroes. Based in Burnet, Texas it operates statewide and beyond. Work has involved website and social media improvements (and expansion to new platforms), prospect research, case statement enhancement, identification of new partners (and making introductions), securing testimonials (GreatNonprofits), upgrading the GuideStar profile, establishing a presence on Crowdrise, and creating a new email list and email platform account, which I have done via iContact (I also produced two e-newsletters and one e-announcement). I leave behind an enhanced Gmail account with tandem platforms Google Drive, Google Photo and YouTube, populated with a variety of helpful documents for carrying forward, including a YouTube Video Editor production and a few Google Movies. Quite a bit has been done in only three months, and of course, all by hand and by me, personally.
My family has a history of working with representatives of the U.S. Military and in the aerospace industry, so this assignment has been an enjoyable one. I also enjoyed meeting new friends and businesses, including RotorWash Media. As with all my nonprofit projects, I am “on call” should additional help be needed at any time.
August, 2015 to February 15, 2016
I enjoyed working with TEXSAR: Texas Search and Rescue between August, 2015 and February, 2016. I helped this decade-old, all-volunteer nonprofit move from total volunteer administration, to establishing a formal presence. This involved identifying its first paid employee, conducting prospect research for a number of major potential gifts for critically needed search and rescue equipment, and composing and submitting a number of grant proposals valued at several hundred thousand dollars. I launched a new digital communication program, so TEXSAR may communicate more frequently with its ever-growing constituency (September 21, 2015 through February 5, 2016).
I bolstered TEXSAR’s infrastructure by identifying a professional accounting firm to prepare and file TEXSAR’s first full tax return; by formally acknowledging in writing more than 100 donors; and by researching, writing and producing its first annual report. I was also pleased to help TEXSAR secure the GuideStar gold seal for operational transparency, and I began the process of applying to the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. I also helped develop a relationship between TEXSAR and U.S. Congressman Michael T. McCaul. I hope TEXSAR will continue forward on a search and rescue “tech” event at Google Fiber Space with Google staff (I got the ball rolling). Last but not least, I fine-tuned TEXSAR’s social media platforms, and added iContact, Eventbrite, SlideShare and ISSUU to the mix.
September, 2014 to July, 2015
I continued to take meaningful time to polish my online presence, central to which is Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog. Blog visitation was the highest ever during 2015 (more than 100,000 visitors from some 200 nations since it was launched in 2011). I continued to volunteer for several organizations, like IREC: Interstate Renewable Energy Council (Board of Directors); ONE Campaign; and NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network.
For NTEN, I served on the 15NTC Host Committee (the national conference was held at the Austin Convention Center in March, 2015), I volunteered during the 2015 conference, I spoke during the 15NTC (WordPress Day), and I set-up and now manage the Austin 501 Tech Club Meetup page. I am a co-organizer of the club’s educational events. I was pleased to organize and implement a summer, 2015 program at Google Fiber Space for area partners involved in the Google Digital Inclusion Fellowship. One highlight of 2015 for our #501TechClub Austin was chatting via Google Hangout with Forbes Contributor Devin Thorpe, at the offices of our new club co-sponsor, Capital Factory. Last but not least, I continue to enjoy supporting the global partnership-building efforts of NetSquared and TechSoup, whose byline is, “mobilising communities and technology for social change.”
One special treat during this time frame was being the focus of an hour-long podcast (#29) in October, 2014 about asking for donations (with a corporate executive focus), with Steve Vick of Nonprofit Ally in Alaska, a “DIY” (do it yourself) resource for nonprofits.
Social media reporting remains a constant activity, with attention being paid to engagement and polishing my existing online activity. I started experimenting with YouTube Video Editor during this time, and have since produced several video collages with my original Instagram and iPhone video materials.
I have also been mentoring aspiring grant and blog writers, as well as a few young but promising nonprofit organizations. Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog is highly “searchable” online, and this has attracted quite a few to me for advice (online and in-person) about everything from how to identify potential sponsors and how to become a professional grant writer, to how to start a blog. Included in this mix are a few startup companies. I enjoyed attending TechBreakfast and Capital Factory programs during this time, and I have helped some young business startups broaden their visibility and identify resources. See my blog post, “Nonprofits and Startups: Birds of a Feather.”
August, 2013 through September 5, 2014
In late July, 2013 I moved to Austin, Texas to help a young nonprofit, EcoRise Youth Innovations expand its program to middle and high schools across Central Texas and statewide. Follow the link to reach my blog post on LinkedIn, “‘Next Gen’ Environmental Education.” My work consisted of research, grant writing, in-person donor meetings, events, infrastructure improvements, blogging and social media management (in other words, not just fundraising, as one might expect for a small shop).
During my tenure, I researched and wrote numerous grant proposals (valued at approximately $500,000 total – some received, others under review, those declined have been resubmitted as appropriate – a constant stream). I introduced EcoRise to new funders with whom I have worked over the years (including The Meadows Foundation, which was kind enough to grant EcoRise $80,000 to expand statewide). Among the other successful grants I helped secure were from 3M, RGK Foundation, Samsung, Patagonia and Time Warner Cable. I also made introductions to Texas state government agencies, to help facilitate future partnerships (Texas Water Development Board and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality).
For the final seven months of my tenure, I learned MailChimp and wrote, designed and distributed seven e-newsletters and cleaned and revamped a 3,000+ person database by hand (Z2 NEON). That involved reviewing all entries, updating and fleshing-out contact information, and adding approximately 1,000 new names to the database. I assumed responsibility for authoring monthly blog posts during the second half of my tenure. In terms of social media, all social channels were cleaned-up by me during this time frame and I assumed daily social media management and launched EcoRise on new platforms. I also handled social media reporting assignments (and photo documentation) for donor, student and teacher events.
I enjoyed serving as a student showcase/student invention judge, and I suggested and implemented the organization’s first Leadership Council reception (at dwg. studio). I represented EcoRise at such events as SXSW Eco, SXSW Edu, Earth Day Texas and Silicon Labs Employee Volunteer Day. I also suggested EcoRise apply to be matched with a filmmaker to create a new film via Lights. Camera. Help., and EcoRise was chosen in 2014. The final result may be viewed on YouTube. I wrote and submitted award nominations for EcoRise, some of which it has since received. Last but not least, I created the organization’s first GuideStar profile, which received the GuideStar Exchange Gold Seal for transparency. It was a busy but productive year! I am now a volunteer for EcoRise and a member of its Advisory Council.
During this year, I also found the time to speak during the 2014 AFP DFW Philanthropy in Action Conference at the Irving Convention Center, and before the Texas Library Association’s Annual Assembly at the Hyatt Regency, Austin. I also served as one of a team of teachers for the summer, 2014 CFRE Review Course in Austin (to help aspiring CFREs prepare for the certification examination).
Fall, 2010 to Summer, 2013
In October, 2010, I moved from Corpus Christi, Texas – my home of ten years – to San Antonio. While there, I met new friends and professional colleagues, learned about and expanded my presence on social media, and became a “social media reporter.”
During this time, I also spoke at professional conferences about the use of social media in major gift and planned giving settings: 2011 CharityChannel Summit in tandem with GPA: Grant Professionals Association in Las Vegas; 2012 Crescendo Interactive, Inc. Practical Planned Giving Conference in Orlando; and 2013 AFP DFW Philanthropy in Action Conference at the Irving Convention Center.
Please refer to “Carolyn Online” for a complete list of my online venues.
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. (*)
I returned briefly in 2016 to help DRT with a few grant proposals.
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. (*)
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.) (*)
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.
2005 and 2006
During 2006, I returned to the Art Museum of South Texas as a full-time independent contractor (funded via the nonprofit’s foundation arm), to work on, “Completing the Masterpiece,” a $985,000 campaign to secure furnishings and equipment for the expanded arts complex in Corpus Christi (designed by Legorreta + Legorreta). Please see the section below (2003 and 2004), for an overview about my initial work for the Museum. I was asked by lead donor Mrs. Maureen Miller to return to help raise additional funds in 2006. In seven months, the campaign met and exceeded its original goal, raising $104,000 more than required.
NOTE: Although AMST is partially supported by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, I was not paid by TAMUCC nor the City of Corpus Christi for my work. In fact, TAMUCC had tried to complete the campaign in prior years without success; by the time I arrived on the scene, they had moved on to other priorities. Still, now retired President Furgason stayed on as campaign co-chair and his endorsement was very meaningful to us. We live in an era of email thank yous! Sharing two nice ones, below.
I stayed on through the fall once we secured our campaign goal to develop and personally implement one of three grand opening events: the evening reception for five-figure and larger campaign donors. Special thanks go to Lee Gwozdz and his musician colleagues for their invaluable participation in that event. I also provided development support to the Museum Board and staff to help them gear-up for increased operational requirements once the William B. and Maureen Miller Wing opened to the public that fall, suggesting new funding sources, some of which happily came through. To view a slide presentation developed for the Rotary Club of Corpus Christi regarding this project, see SlideShare.
Last but not least, I served as a staff liaison for the November 27 gala, The Ambassador Dinner in honor of the late Ambassador to Great Britain, Anne Armstrong, which included Mrs. Armstrong, former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, Texas Governor Rick Perry, U.S. Senator John Cornyn, and then-Chairman of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, Adair Margo. My behind-the-scenes work ranged from tracking event details (including finances) from the inception of the event eight months prior, working with the U.S. Secret Service and local law enforcement on security, to writing and submitting grant proposals and correspondence to-and-from contributors, obtaining gifts from the Governor and more for the honoree and gala co-chairs, and more. The event volunteers (and AMST staff) raised over $400,000 in cash and in-kind donations, with some of the proceeds going to establish an art education endowment in honor of Ambassador Armstrong.
For the entirety of 2005, I worked full-time with the South Texas Council, Boy Scouts of America to create the infrastructure for a $3,500,000 capital and endowment campaign, An Enduring Legacy, chaired by Robert Adler, Atlas Iron & Metal, Corpus Christi. I developed campaign systems from the ground-up, including prospect databases and acknowledgement systems; a 51-page case for support (which I wrote and designed for in-house production); and a campaign video testimonial featuring civic leaders region-wide (including Texas Governors Rick Perry and Dolph Briscoe, Jr.). Sincere thanks go to Joe Cook of Coastal Bend Video for lending his considerable talents to our BSA video projects.
For the BSA, I also wrote and designed three educational campaign newsletters for a hand-generated VIP prospect list; orchestrated initial calls to help launch the campaign; drafted grant proposals; and created a video about the life and achievements of the late John O. Chapman for the BSA 2005 Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner (underwritten by Wells Fargo).
2003 and 2004
From 2003 to 2004, I coordinated full-time a $8,500,000 capital campaign called Arts Within Our Reach for the Art Museum of South Texas, coming into the campaign mid-stream to help secure the remaining funding required for construction of a new museum addition designed by the late internationally renowned architect Ricardo Legorreta of Mexico City and his son, Victor, working with co-chairs Dr. Robert R. Furgason, recent past President of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Al Jones, Chairman of American Bank, and lead donor and fundraising volunteer, Mrs. Maureen Miller.
I was an independent contractor working via the museum’s foundation arm. Among the many donations I helped AMST secure were grants from The Brown Foundation, Inc., The Fondren Foundation, The William Randolph Hearst Foundations, Houston Endowment Inc., Dr. and Mrs. Hugh A. Kennedy Foundation, The Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, Inc., Earl C. Sams Foundation, Inc., as well as donations from several private individuals and companies.
Thanks go to A. Javier Huerta and Render Solutions for the magnificent “virtual tour” that helped energize our campaign and take it to an entirely new level. Follow the link to learn how it came about.
1999 to 2003
In 1999, I was recruited by a head hunter (Dorothy Drummer & Associates), to move from Dallas to South Texas to work with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute to coordinate (full-time), a $15,000,000 capital and endowment campaign chaired by Stuart W. Stedman of the Stedman West Foundation of Houston, helping him to reach $11,000,000 by the conclusion of my three-year tenure. CKWRI was only 25% supported by Texas A&M University at the time (the remainder being provided by private sources), and hence, CKWRI did not defer to, nor coordinate with the advancement and campus foundation offices.
While at CKWRI, I also helped found South Texas Natives, a native plant development project initiated by Caroline Alexander Forgason of the King Ranch Family, and subsequently co-chaired by Will Harte and Katharine Armstrong Love. I worked with, and helped secure $1,200,000 in start-up funding from the Alexander, Bass, Harte, Martin, McColl, and other generous families for that project alone.
I also provided fundraising support to 15 faculty members and helped secure several hundred thousand dollars in research funding for a variety of wildlife projects. This nonprofit had little visibility when I began work, but because of its excellent reputation, they were able to ramp-up private-sector fundraising with a little “elbow grease.” I worked full-time and commuted each day to Kingsville from my home in Corpus Christi for just over three years.
Before completing my tenure at CKWRI, I split-off to work with King Ranch, Inc. Chairman James H. Clement, Jr. to help him establish the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, assisting him in raising $4,300,000 in endowment funds to launch the program.
One of my proudest achievements was personally requesting from the Chancellor and his investment team at Texas A&M-College Station that KRIRM endowment gifts be invested in the Permanent University Fund (PUF), rather than independently via private sources. When the global economic crisis hit not long after, the PUF guarantee of steady salaries and benefits regardless of the ups-and-downs of the stock market was a God-send.
I provided full-time development assistance to the Dallas Zoological Society, orchestrating a capital campaign between 1996 and 1997 under the outstanding (courageous) leadership of volunteers Mary McDermott Cook, The Eugene McDermott Foundation, and the late Edgar A. Robinson, Exxon Corporation (now ExxonMobil). Then-Mayor of Dallas Ron Kirk served as honorary campaign chairman. The Dallas Zoo is a city-run institution; I worked for the Zoo’s nonprofit support group, DZS.
A consultant from a large firm had been hired to assist DZS at the start, but was paid off and relieved of duties because I was able to handle all required work. I received an award for excellence and a standing ovation from the Board of Trustees at the conclusion of my two years of work, at which point $8,000,000 had been received and pledged, and a significant number of campaign prospects had been identified for the organization going forward.
Among the donors with whom I worked specifically were, in order of size of gift, The Meadows Foundation, Inc., Kimberly-Clark Corporation, The Eugene McDermott Foundation, Crystal Charity Ball, The Kresge Foundation, Hoblitzelle Foundation, J. C. Penney Corporation, A. H. Belo Corporation Foundation, The Rosewood Corporation, O’Donnell Foundation, Boeckman Family Foundation, and others.
I was honored when DZS committee member and legendary Dallas fundraiser, the late Charles C. Sprague, told me I was the best at running a major gift campaign of anyone he had ever seen. This was the beginning of my freelance major gift fundraising career. For a description of one portion of the DZS campaign, see my blog.
Other Work in Dallas
Additional, brief and specific consulting activities were subsequently undertaken in Dallas with such organizations as the Parks and Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Dallas Urban League (now the Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Central Texas), American Red Cross of Dallas, The Greenhill School, and the Dallas Arboretum. This involved advanced prospect research, campaign organization, strategy development, and grant writing, skills sorely lacking at the time in development staffing in the region. I worked for six months with a consulting firm, The Dini Partners during this time, but resigned after discovering that I preferred my independence.
My prior activities include work for such organizations as the Austin Museum of Art (formerly Laguna Gloria Art Museum), The University of Texas at Austin (College of Fine Arts), and The Nature Conservancy of Texas.
During my tenure at The Nature Conservancy (1992 to 1996), I helped create the first Corporate Conservation Leadership Luncheon – a program that has since generated millions of dollars and enhanced corporate financial support for the organization dramatically, and which has been replicated by Conservancy state chapters across the nation today – with the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and such outstanding volunteers as Robert A. Ayres, Larry Gilbert, Ph.D., the late Clark Hubbs, Ph.D., Ronald W. Kessler, the late Lowell H. Lebermann, Jr., the late Frank W. McBee, Jr., the late Mrs. Robin Shivers, Daphne DuPont Vaughan, and others.
The event was created with the invaluable assistance of Mike Hicks and Rob Miller of HIXO. I received an award for excellence from the Conservancy for work on this and other activities, which were conducted both in the San Antonio state headquarters office, and later the Dallas regional office (which I subsequently helped open after two unsuccessful attempts). Here is a Tumblr about another event organized for the Dallas office you might enjoy, Plimpton! I would like to recognize Dallas volunteer Robert L. Thornton, III, without whose assistance opening the Dallas office would not have been possible. You might also enjoy reading a speech given at my request to the Dallas chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals by the late conservation champion Richard C. “Dick” Bartlett, when I lived and worked in that city during the 1990s.
(*) = The asterisk found after the above entries denotes that a portion of business expenses have been donated to the organization as an in-kind contribution.