Murray Blackwelder, MPA
Senior Executive Vice President

Prior to joining Hartsook, Murray was President of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Foundation. He has served as Vice President for external affairs at Iowa State University. During his tenure there, the University experienced record giving years, completing a $214 million campaign and a $450 million campaign a few years later. Murray then served as Senior Vice President for Advancement with Purdue University where he directed a campaign to raise nearly $1.5 billion.

He has been an active member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and served as a CASE National Trustee. Also, he is a former President of the Wichita Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Murray holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from UMKC and a Bachelor of Sciences from Baker 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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