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Geoff Burns, MBA
Vice President

Prior to joining Hartsook, Geoff founded a consulting company specializing in nonprofit structure, operations and startups. He also co-founded an international organization dedicated to keeping waterways safe and clean for paddlers and outdoor enthusiasts. Geoff brings a long history of community service, religious philanthropy and environmental stewardship to the Hartsook team. Many of these skills were developed as Executive Director for a retreat center known for its stunning setting, educational programs and adult retreat.

Geoff has helped secure several million dollars for clients in leadership, education, and conservation industries. He also provides invaluable strategic insight into the fundraising process. Geoff has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Valparaiso University and an MBA from Salem International University. He is working on his Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management with Capella University.

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Will You Be There When John Shamberg Calls?

A big part of fundraising is showing up and being available. I learned this lesson on a very memorable New Year’s Eve, a very long time ago.

As an eager young fundraiser working for Washburn University, I didn’t know that it was unusual still to be at work in the evening of December 31st. But, there I was.

Earlier that year, a graduate of Washburn University School of Law told me he was going to give a gift of land to his synagogue, a private K-12 school and Washburn. John Shamberg, who has since passed away, made millions of dollars for institutions all over the world, and he wanted to give a significant gift to organizations he valued. His 40 acres of land on the outskirts of Kansas City were valued at $450,000, and his intention was to give $150,000 each to three organizations.

He’d left the task to the last day of the year, but now he was ready to make it happen.

He called the synagogue. No answer.

He called the K-12 school. No answer.

Then, he called Washburn and got me.

“Bob,” he said, “you just won the jackpot!”

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