Be on the lookout – A Fundraiser’s Journey

A Fundraiser’s Journey

Kelly Updike for PCNRC

 “Don’t ignore any opportunity, no matter how weird.”

That’s the fundraising advice from Mark Becker, currently a director with the city’s Parks Department (Riverfront project) and former Greater Fort Wayne CEO and deputy mayor of Fort Wayne.

Mark works with all kinds of people and organizations, from health care to manufacturing to nonprofits. He’s been part of the rebirth of downtown Fort Wayne and worked on the Harrison Square projects. So Mark and I will always be connected by a really strange phone call about 10 years ago.

I had not been long in my job at the Embassy when the city called to ask if we would discuss ramming a sky bridge into the side of the Embassy and creating a pedestrian passage through its third floor so that a new hotel could be built. If I had pooh-poohed that first phone call, which was pretty hilarious, and not called my board chair to take a meeting that we both thought was probably a waste of time, then floors of the former Indiana Hotel would still be standing empty. You see, the sky bridge was the catalyst for further and massive Embassy renovations.

As Mark says, you never know where it will go, long term.

Mark also says to look for opportunities, not just react to them. That means when a couple of prominent community leaders asked me “what’s next?” at a social gathering (not a business meeting), I rallied and rattled off four projects that seemed a bit pie-in-the-sky. But, wow, those folks really connected to two ideas and asked for meetings and proposals. Less than a year later we are juggling a funded feasibility study and a new renovation project backed by significant donors.

Moral of this story? It’s okay to be a weirdo. Phew, thank goodness.

 

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

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