Matthew J. Beem, PhD, CFRE
President and Chief Executive Officer

Matt serves on the advisory board of the Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at Plymouth University in Plymouth, United Kingdom and is a fellow of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s (UMKC) Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership. He served on the board of trustees of Avila University in Kansas City from 2015-2017 and on the board of trustees of Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa from 2008-2014.

Matt is a featured speaker on fundraising and fundraiser compensation in the United States and abroad. He is the author of Performance-Driven Fundraising: Taking Control of Your Success and a co-author of $231 Billion Raised and Counting with Bob Hartsook and Karin Cox.

Matt holds a bachelor of journalism in news editorial from the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and a master of public administration in nonprofit management and doctor of philosophy in organizational behavior from UMKC’s Bloch School of Management.

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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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