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Robin Billings
Prospect Researcher

Robin understands the value and importance of research in fundraising and development. Before becoming a full-time researcher, she spent several years at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, managing various corporate relations and fundraising projects. She was Director of the Corporate Briefing Center at the Chamber for two years, and spent another two years as a Director for Coalitions, Committees and Member Services. In all these capacities, Robin found good research to be the bedrock of successful fundraising.

Prior to her work at the Chamber, Robin volunteered with several organizations, including as a fundraising coordinator at Hayfield Montessori School in Louisville, Ky, and as a steering committee member of the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Va. Robin earned an Honors BA in Psychology from Northwestern State University in Louisiana.

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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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