A Philanthropy Museum!

March 15th, 2012

A bit of background, first: I began work with this client in 1998. At that time, fund-raising at the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany Georgia was just beginning to make traction. We installed our first, comprehensive health care philanthropy center there. It became a true destination within the hospital. Named the Distinguished Leadership Gallery, all giving programs, Volunteers, Planned Giving, Lifetime Giving, Employee and Corporate Giving, were presented within sight of each other. For the first time in my knowledge, a rural, regional hospital presented all of their donors to viewers/visitors (prospective donors, all) within the broader context of community giving.

But that’s not the story here.  The story is how that celebration of giving has led now to the Grand Opening of a Philanthropy Museum.

In January, 2012, that entire Distinguished Leadership Gallery was presented anew, including new stories, new branding and increased the capacities of each giving program. Along with that work, we introduced a “teaser-package” of sorts: a Centennial Gallery. See last month’s post regarding the specialized bronze history imaging. The Gallery of bronze historic graphic elements was used to introduce visitors to the idea and expectation of their newest celebration of philanthropy in Albany, a Centennial Museum created solely to celebrate 100 years of community support and medical accomplishments.

These images I wanted to share. I am most interested that folks understand that fund-raising entities of any size can and SHOULD commit to constant and ever-changing philanthropy story-telling. This organization chose to use their artifacts and history books as a basis for re-purposing what could well have become a commonplace historic narrative into a commentary on the philanthropy of their community, all initiated by  a gift of cash by Judge Francis Flagg Putney, originally a “carpet-bagger”, who chose to solidify his own standing in the community by honoring his mother and truly benefiting his neighbors.

Lastly, upon the grand opening on March 11, the local TV station covered the event. Take 30 seconds (after enduring the brief paid commercial) and enjoy the heartfelt reactions of both community and the client, Lacy Lee, Director of the Phoebe Experience. It has been her tireless dedication to commemorating the hospital’s historic advances through a timeless melding of philanthropy and medical advancement story-telling.

A Centennial Museum: a Century of Commitment

My point with sharing all of this? It’s important to inspire an individual’s philanthropic spirit, a uniquely American trait, through story-telling whenever you can.

Written by Robin E. Williams

Don’t Make Headlines the Hard Way

March 12th, 2012

A cautionary tale today from USA Today.  These examples of naming policies gone amok that either did not exist, or that certainly had not been vetted fully, must serve notice to those of us responsible for such decisions.  Whether you are in Facilities, Fund-raising or Administration, look over your policies right now. Take the time to be sure that these sorts of situations have no chance to embarrass your organization like this.


And, of course, this reminded me of a travesty I found and photographed at a major university in Florida. Wonder how this donor’s family feels now? Yet, rest assured, this lack of empathy and concern is not unique to them.

I simply must take this moment to remind everyone to “Think Before You Thank!”

Plan Your Policies for "today" and "tomorrow"











Written by Robin E. Williams