Chad has business in Des Moines and Amarillo; Butch practiced medicine until a few years ago, but now is retired in Omaha; and Randy is a businessman in Chadron, Nebraska. What do all three have in common? They are all graduates of Chadron State College of Chadron, Nebraska.As a result of a transition in our company, I was lucky enough to take over our service of this client. The College is in the final phase of an $11 million campaign and began a celebration Centennial.Recently, I spent a full day with them just as they were heading into Homecoming. Their Campaign Leadership Council was meeting for two hours on Friday afternoon.There was discussion about how we could best use that time.It was decided that that we would go around the room and have members introduce themselves, one by one. There were 17 members or couples present. My reaction, not voiced at the time, was about how tedious it can be to go through such an exercise. But the consensus was that this would help me get acquainted, and they all seemed to want to do this. Randy, who is a Campaign Co-Chair was selected to lead this event. A very good volunteer, he took the assignment seriously and prepared well for it.After he introduced me, we began. That is when my anxiety went away. I am sure for some it was too long, but the love — yes, I said, love — for Chadron State and each other, was apparent. If there was any lack of tolerance for anything, it was never evident as one by one, they gave their testimony.Butch talked about how well-prepared he was for medical school.Arne talked about the decisions he had to make about his future as a result of the events in 1962. Mark has been visiting campus for many years and during this recent visit he found that all of his former faculty are no longer teaching.Chad and Cheryl reflected on a former president who came to their home for dinner and helped wash the dishes.Dick and Marlene weren’t alums, but moved to Chadron in 1961 to start a business and never looked back.Bob, a former faculty member and now with the Indiana High School Athletic Association reflected on the Athletic Hall of Fame inductees who were his former students. Bob’s Dad talked about working with five presidents.Does every University and College have people like this? Yeah, probably. But that doesn’t make it any less significant that this group, crossing different generations and paths, got together and committed themselves to a singular purpose.After that meeting the group held an announcement of a major gift to the Music Department from Dr. Jackson and Peggy Hammitt of Rapid City, S.D.. He is a retired faculty member. They made an estate gift of $1 million.DID YOU HEAR THAT? A RETIRED FACULTY MEMBER AND HIS WIFE MADE A MILLION DOLLAR GIFT!!The emotion in Jack’s voice as he accepted the recognition of the College and the Music Department was palpable.A constant throughout all of these events and reflections was a remembrance. But perhaps even more important was a respect that was voiced several times during the day for President Janie Park and her vision, leadership and drive.Okay, I hear you: “Bob, you’ve authored a blog that celebrates one of your clients. What have you told us that we needed to hear?”For those of us who join organizations, be respectful of the past and look for ways to celebrate it. Have the patience to listen for it and seek out the opportunities. And one of my longtime lessons, a variation on the Golden Rule: How you recognize and respect people will tell others how you will recognize and respect them.Chad, one of 11 siblings, told us, “Dad didn’t talk too much, but one day he said to me, you embarrass yourself, you embarrass the family.” Likewise, I can imagine him saying, “You make yourself proud, you make the family proud.”Believe me, there is a lot to be proud of in the Chadron family.
Photo credits: National WWI Museum
President and Trustee
The Sunderland Foundation
Recipient of the
2018 GROWING PHILANTHROPY AWARD FOR TRANSFORMATIONAL CAPITAL PHILANTHROPY
Kent Sunderland was presented with the prestigious Growing Philanthropy Award in Kansas City by Hartsook President and CEO
Matthew J. Beem during National WWI Museum and Memorial’s VIP event, Night at the Tower.
He was nominated by Matthew Naylor, Ph.D., President and CEO of the National WWI Museum and Memorial, and was selected unanimously by Hartsook Institutes and the International Board of Visitors Growing Philanthropy Committee.
Kent was Vice Chairman of Ash Grove Cement prior to its recent sale. As President of The Sunderland Foundation, he has played a significant role in advancing philanthropy with major gifts.
The Growing Philanthropy Award recognizes a distinguished group of individuals and organizations whose efforts increase philanthropy through research, innovation and challenging the status quo. For more information, contact [email protected].