Well, when you get older, you find you’ve accumulated a lot of good and wonderful friends. Others my age brag about their grandchildren, but since I don’t have any yet (I’m very happy about that – my son is only 22!), I like to brag on my friends.A few weeks ago, my friend Bill Dunn and his wife Jean were selected as Philanthropists of the Year in Kansas City. Most of you don’t know Bill, but I do. He is a rare man. His philanthropy is personal, important, and vital.In anticipation of having the opportunity to say a few words about Bill at the awards banquet, I did some research. In the past 21 years, Bill, his wife, and each of his children—now even grandchildren are members of the leadership of his large construction company—have worked with our company on 612 occasions.When I announced this fact at the event, there was a standing ovation. While I would like for Bill to be involved in all my projects, he is not. With the Salvation Army alone, I can think of nearly a dozen projects in the Kansas City area in which the Dunn family was involved. Think about it: considering his service to his community, those 612 occasions are a drop in the bucket.I talk a lot about research, using data and pushing ourselves as fundraisers to elevate the profession by thinking, acting and being smarter. After all, it is no exaggeration to say we are a critical link in making sure there is enough to meet all of society’s needs. And we must continue to enforce the idea that there is enough—there is! It’s our job to find it, link those who care and have the capacity to impact change, and make sure our institutions are gracious and responsible recipients of these gifts.But every now and then I have to pause to step off my soap box.While pushing for and helping create a research and knowledge based education for fundraisers is certainly important, so is the impact of the Dunn family. But I understand that counting the Dunn’s projects borders on complete nonsense. We could drive ourselves mad trying to count the impact of these gifts—it is literally immeasurable.Bill and Jean, you embody the spirit of the award. Congratulations on your selection. You are much more than philanthropists of the year. In my book—and it’s a hefty one—you are Philanthropists of the Century.
The Most Influential ‘Living Person’ in Philanthropy
Robert F. Hartsook Receives Honorary Doctorate of Business
Plymouth University, United Kingdom
Bob Hartsook was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration by Plymouth University in Plymouth, England. The University described Bob as: “arguably the most influential living person improving the philanthropic donor experience.” Such global affirmation appropriately recognizes Bob and uniquely distinguishes Hartsook as the world’s fundraising counsel.”
Plymouth University honors individuals who have achieved great distinction in their professional lives and who have made contributions to society at large. In recognizing Bob Hartsook’s impressive achievements, the University has highlighted his service to the field of philanthropy, his promotion of academic study and research and his personal commitment to growing philanthropy around the world. Go here to learn more and view videos from this event.
Pictured: Karin Cox, Hartsook Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer; Julian Chaudhuri, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Education and Student Experience; Bob Hartsook; Adrian Sargeant, Professor of Fundraising at Plymouth University and the Director of the Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy; Jen Shang, Philanthropic Psychologist and Director of Research at the University of Plymouth Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy; Matthew J. Beem, Hartsook President and CEO.