2003, 2004 and 2006
From 2003 to 2004, I coordinated full-time a $8,500,000 capital campaign called Arts Within Our Reach for the Art Museum of South Texas, coming into the campaign mid-stream to help secure the remaining funding required for construction of a new museum addition designed by the late internationally renowned architect Ricardo Legorreta of Mexico City and his son, Victor, working with co-chairs Dr. Robert R. Furgason, recent past President of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Al Jones, Chairman of American Bank, and lead donor and fundraising volunteer, Mrs. Maureen Miller.
I was an independent contractor working via the museum’s foundation arm. Among the many donations I helped AMST secure were grants from The Brown Foundation, Inc., The Fondren Foundation, The William Randolph Hearst Foundations, Houston Endowment Inc., Dr. and Mrs. Hugh A. Kennedy Foundation, The Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, Inc., Earl C. Sams Foundation, Inc., as well as donations from several private individuals and companies.
Thanks go to A. Javier Huerta and Render Solutions for the magnificent “virtual tour” that helped energize our campaign and take it to an entirely new level. Follow the link to learn how it came about.
In 2005, I stepped away from the Museum to work with the South Texas Council, Boy Scouts of America (see below). In 2006, at the request of the Museum’s leading donor, I returned to the Art Museum of South Texas as a full-time independent contractor (funded via the nonprofit’s foundation arm), to work on, “Completing the Masterpiece,” a $985,000 campaign to secure furnishings and equipment for the expanded arts complex in Corpus Christi (designed by Legorreta + Legorreta). Please see the section below (2003 and 2004), for an overview about my initial work for the Museum. I was asked by lead donor Mrs. Maureen Miller to return to help raise additional funds in 2006. In seven months, the campaign met and exceeded its original goal, raising $104,000 more than required.
NOTE: Although AMST is partially supported by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, I was not paid by TAMUCC nor the City of Corpus Christi for my work. In fact, TAMUCC had tried to complete the campaign in prior years without success; by the time I arrived on the scene, they had moved on to other priorities. Still, now retired President Furgason stayed on as campaign co-chair and his endorsement was very meaningful to us. We live in an era of email thank yous! Sharing two nice ones, below.
I stayed on through the fall once we secured our campaign goal to develop and personally implement one of three grand opening events: the evening reception for five-figure and larger campaign donors. Special thanks go to Lee Gwozdz and his musician colleagues for their invaluable participation in that event. I also provided development support to the Museum Board and staff to help them gear-up for increased operational requirements once the William B. and Maureen Miller Wing opened to the public that fall, suggesting new funding sources, some of which happily came through. To view a slide presentation developed for the Rotary Club of Corpus Christi regarding this project, see SlideShare.
Last but not least, I served as a staff liaison for the November 27 gala, The Ambassador Dinner in honor of the late Ambassador to Great Britain, Anne Armstrong, which included Mrs. Armstrong, former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, Texas Governor Rick Perry, U.S. Senator John Cornyn, and then-Chairman of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, Adair Margo. My behind-the-scenes work ranged from tracking event details (including finances) from the inception of the event eight months prior, working with the U.S. Secret Service and local law enforcement on security, to writing and submitting grant proposals and correspondence to-and-from contributors, obtaining certificates from the Governor and gifts for the honoree and gala co-chairs, and more. The event volunteers (and AMST staff) raised approximately $400,000 in cash and in-kind donations, with some proceeds going to establish an art education endowment in honor of Ambassador Armstrong. Thanks go to the late C. C. Winn and Sam Susser for their invaluable work behind the scenes to make this event possible.
For the entirety of 2005, I worked full-time with the South Texas Council, Boy Scouts of America to create the infrastructure for a $3,500,000 capital and endowment campaign, An Enduring Legacy, chaired by Robert Adler, Atlas Iron & Metal, Corpus Christi. I developed campaign systems from the ground-up, including prospect databases and acknowledgement systems; a 51-page case for support (which I wrote and designed for in-house production); and a campaign video testimonial featuring civic leaders region-wide (including Texas Governors Rick Perry, Tres Kleberg and Dolph Briscoe, Jr.). Sincere thanks go to Joe Cook of Coastal Bend Video.
For the BSA, I also wrote and designed three educational campaign newsletters for a hand-generated VIP prospect list; orchestrated initial calls to help launch the campaign; drafted grant proposals; and created a video about the life and achievements of the late John O. Chapman for the BSA 2005 Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner. The video production was underwritten by Wells Fargo at my request, and it was created by me and Joe Cook of Coastal Bend Video. Last but not least, I made a donation to the BSA in honor of my father upon my departure, through the James E. West Fellowship program.
Beyond my tenure, I continued to provide advice to the BSA Board about how best to move forward with fundraising. One suggestion was to put BSA leaders who had achieved Eagle Scout status in charge of fundraising, and that worked beautifully. I also helped restore lost e-files a few years later, and provided advice about advanced prospect research. The South Texas Council has done very well.
1999 to 2003
In 1999, I was recruited by a head hunter (Dorothy Drummer & Associates), to move from Dallas to South Texas to work with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute to coordinate (full-time), a $15,000,000 capital and endowment campaign chaired by Stuart W. Stedman of the Stedman West Foundation of Houston, helping him to reach $11,000,000 by the conclusion of my three-year tenure. CKWRI was only 25% supported by Texas A&M University at the time (the remainder being provided by private sources), and hence, CKWRI did not defer to, nor coordinate with the advancement and campus foundation offices.
While at CKWRI, I also helped found South Texas Natives, a native plant development project initiated by Caroline Alexander Forgason of the King Ranch Family, and subsequently co-chaired by Will Harte and Katharine Armstrong Love. I worked with, and helped secure $1,200,000 in start-up funding from the Alexander, Bass, Harte, Martin, McColl, and other generous families for that project alone.
I also provided fundraising support to 15 faculty members and helped secure several hundred thousand dollars in research funding for a variety of wildlife projects. This nonprofit had little visibility when I began work, but because of its excellent reputation, they were able to ramp-up private-sector fundraising with a little “elbow grease.” I worked full-time and commuted each day to Kingsville from my home in Corpus Christi for just over three years.
Before completing my tenure at CKWRI, I split-off to work with King Ranch, Inc. Chairman James H. Clement, Jr. to help him establish the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, assisting him in raising $4,300,000 in endowment funds to launch the program.
One of my proudest achievements was personally requesting from the Chancellor and his investment team at Texas A&M-College Station that KRIRM endowment gifts be invested in the Permanent University Fund (PUF), rather than independently via private sources. When the global economic crisis hit not long after, the PUF guarantee of steady salaries and benefits regardless of the ups-and-downs of the stock market was a God-send.
Photograph of Corpus Christi used for social posting is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. It reminds me of the view from my former condominium!