To enable nonprofit organizations to attain their fundraising and public relations goals in the most efficient, thoughtful, and high quality manner possible.
- Major gift and special project fundraising (campaign strategy development and implementation for endowment and building projects).
- Other specialties: advanced prospect research; grant writing; stewardship; personal staffing of high level volunteers; special events (galas, auctions, luncheons, receptions, corporate jet trips, bus excursions, etc.); nonprofit communications, public relations, and publications. My vita is posted on SlideShare.
- Over the course of my career, I have helped secure $33 million in private sector charitable donations. I have not focused heavily upon government grants, however, but I have helped others write them on occasion.
- Given my years of experience in the nonprofit sector, I am also familiar with most all types of nonprofit fundraising. For an easily accessible list of my skills, see the menu at right, or click here, Carolyn’s Skills.
The below is a partial list; not included are a few short-term assignments.
~ August, 2013
In late July, I moved to Austin, Texas. I am working with EcoRise Youth Innovations to help expand this energetic, smart, “start-up” nonprofit in schools throughout Austin, state-wide and nationally.
~ Fall, 2010 to Summer, 2013
In October, 2010, I moved to San Antonio, Texas. While there, I met many wonderful new friends and professional colleagues. While there, I also learned more about, and expanded my presence on social media. In addition, I spoke at professional conferences about the use of social media in major gift and planned giving settings.
Please refer to “Carolyn Online” for a complete list of my online venues.
During this time, I was pleased to speak in June, 2013 during the AFP DFW Philanthropy Conference at the Irving Convention Center; and in September, 2012 I spoke during the Crescendo Interactive, Inc., “Practical Planned Giving Conference” in Orlando, Florida. Click on the photograph to view the PowerPoint presentation on SlideShare.
In the summer of 2010, I worked with the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra and Mrs. Maureen Miller to secure financial support for this distinguished organization, which just completed its 65th Season. The CCSO needed to identify new sponsors to broaden its base of support, which has happily met with some success, and thereby to provide a more solid financial footing for the organization. In the future, it is hoped an endowment campaign can be organized and launched, to help provide a long-term source of ongoing support for the Corpus Christi Symphony’s ongoing activities.
~ 2008 and 2009
From September, 2009 through March, 2010, I worked full-time with The Daughters of The Republic of Texas, Inc. to develop a $9.5 million capital campaign – “A Vision for the 21st Century” – to construct a new headquarters facility called the Republic of Texas History Center on property adjacent to the historic French Legation Museum in downtown Austin. I designed and composed a member and prospect newsletter (distributed to 7,000), general solicitation brochure, campaign case for support document, and matching PowerPoint slide show. In addition, I assisted the DRT with advanced prospect research (on prospects with a combined potential contribution value of more than $100 million), arranged meetings with prospective contributors across the state, and composed a master grant proposal for use throughout the five-year campaign. I was also pleased to help the Austin “Vision Team” volunteers secure a lead gift from The Fondren Foundation. (*)
September 1, 2008 through August 31, 2009, I worked full-time with the Rob & Bessie Welder Wildlife Conservation Foundation to lay the groundwork for a $4,693,000 capital campaign to construct a new education and museum facility on the grounds of the Welder Wildlife Refuge (see rendering above, CLK Architects & Associates, Inc.). I wrote and designed a 29-page case for support and matching PowerPoint slide presentation, and give thanks to past participants in the Coastal Bend Wildlife Photo Contest for the use of several gorgeous photographs in these campaign documents. In addition, I conducted prospect research, orchestrated initial fundraising calls, and wrote grant proposals (with a potential value of over $2,000,000). While developing the organization’s campaign infrastructure, I was pleased to assist in securing a lead gift from AEP Texas. I also developed a blueprint for an enhanced development program overall. (*)
From January through August 2008, I worked full-time with the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas on stewardship activities concerning an already-completed major gift effort; advanced research regarding several hundred prospective donors (valued in excess of $100,000,000), for a second, 60-county wide major gift effort; and developed cultivation activities for the new major gift campaign (among them orchestrating a 100-person VIP dinner at the San Antonio Country Club, and designing, writing and producing the Diocese’s first donor-specific newsletter. I prepared a comprehensive, 24-page report regarding the Diocese’s overall development operations, suggested new directions for future work, and introduced a planned giving consultant to assist the Diocese with its growing estate planning activities. In addition, I followed in the footsteps of a prior year of voluntary service to help Development Board Chair Alice Heldenfels Sallee, and campaign Chair Mary D. Clark, refine solicitation materials, identify prospects, solicit potential donors, and write grants to support the expansion of Mustang Island Conference Center. (*)
From April through December, 2007, I worked full-time with the Chinati Foundation. Projects included creating a prospect management system, grant research and writing, and planning for multiple capital campaigns. My work was supported in part by a grant from The Meadows Foundation, Inc., and among the successful grants I helped Chinati secure were from The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston, The Henry Luce Foundation, The William Randolph Hearst Foundations, and The Terra Foundation for American Art.
As an aside, several of the grants I helped secure were multiple year pledges; as the global financial crisis occurred the very next year, those payments helped this nonprofit weather the storm more easily than most! I enjoyed my collaboration with long-time Chinati administrator and bookkeeper Barbara Blake, whose assistance with grant research and writing was truly invaluable.
I returned to Marfa to work with Chinati in 2007 after many years of volunteer work. Having met the late founder Donald Judd in 1993, when I was asked to help him explore a conservation easement on his property in the Chinati Mountains, I was pleased to see how far the Foundation had come, and happy to contribute to its continued success (my meeting with Judd is described on Tumblr.) (*)
Thanks to Charles Thomasson of Gary, Thomasson, Hall & Marks, and Linda Hahn of Hahn & Oldham, P.C., Carolyn M. Appleton, Inc. was formed in 2007, after several years of freelance fundraising work.
For the first three months of 2007, I helped the staff of the Texas State Aquarium organize a $3,000,000 capital fund drive, Conservation Cove. I designed and wrote a 52-page case for support (for in-house production), and related campaign solicitation and tracking materials. I conducted research on prospective donors, developed strategies of approach, arranged meetings and conversations with potential donors, and launched the grant writing process. I was instrumental in helping the Aquarium secure a grant for a new American alligator exhibition from The Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation.
~ 2005 and 2006
During 2006, I returned to the Art Museum of South Texas as a full-time independent contractor (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 (Legorreta + Legorreta, Architect). Please see the section below (2003 and 2004), for an overview about my initial work for the Museum; I was asked by the 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 the Museum is partially supported by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, the advancement office was not involved in any aspect of the new facility campaigns that I spearheaded. The now-retired TAMUCC President provided his endorsement overall as campaign co-chair; he graciously participated in select donor calls; and he signed grant proposals requiring his signature.
I stayed on to develop and personally implement a grand opening event for five-figure and larger campaign donors (special thanks go to Lee Gwozdz and his musician colleagues for their invaluable participation in that event), and 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. To view a slide presentation developed for the Rotary Club of Corpus Christi regarding this project, see SlideShare.
Last but not least, I also 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 (to whom I provided additional staffing), U.S. Senator John Cornyn, and 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 all grant proposals and correspondence to-and-from contributors, obtaining gifts for the honoree and gala co-chairs, and more. The event volunteers (and AMST staff) raised over $400,000 in cash and in-kind donations, with some of the proceeds going to establish an art education endowment in honor of Ambassador Armstrong.
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 and Dolph Briscoe, Jr.). Sincere thanks go to Joe Cook of Coastal Bend Video for lending his considerable talents to our BSA video projects.
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 (underwritten by Wells Fargo).
~ 2003 and 2004
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 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 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.
~ 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.
~ The 1990s
I provided full-time development assistance to the Dallas Zoological Society, orchestrating a capital campaign between 1996 and 1998 under the leadership of outstanding volunteers Mary McDermott Cook, The Eugene McDermott Foundation, and the late Edgar A. Robinson, Exxon Corporation. Then-Mayor of Dallas, Ron Kirk served as honorary campaign Chairman. The Dallas Zoo is a city-run institution; I worked for the Zoo’s nonprofit support group, DZS.
A consultant had been hired to assist DZS at the start, but was relieved of duties because I was able to handle all required work (full-time and by hand). I received an award for excellence and a standing ovation from the Board of Trustees at the conclusion of my two-year tenure, at which point $8,000,000 had been received and pledged.
Among the donors with whom I worked specifically were, in order of size of gift, The Meadows Foundation, Inc., Kimberly-Clark Corporation, The Eugene McDermott Foundation, Crystal Charity Ball, The Kresge Foundation, Hoblitzelle Foundation, J. C. Penney Corporation, A. H. Belo Corporation Foundation, The Rosewood Corporation, O’Donnell Foundation, Boeckman Family Foundation, and others.
I was honored when legendary physician and veteran Dallas fundraiser Charles C. Sprague, a campaign volunteer, told me that I was the best at running a major gift campaign of anyone he had ever seen. This was the beginning of my consulting career.
For a description of one portion of the campaign, see my blog. Special thanks go to Robert Cabello for the compelling wildlife photography he provided for the campaign (see the photograph posted above).
Other work in Dallas …
Additional, brief and specific consulting activities were subsequently undertaken in Dallas with such organizations as the Parks and Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Dallas Urban League (now the Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Central Texas), American Red Cross of Dallas, The Greenhill School, and the Dallas Arboretum. This involved advanced prospect research, campaign organization, strategy development, and grant writing, skills sorely lacking at the time in development staffing in the region. I worked for six months with a consulting firm, The Dini Partners during this time, but resigned after discovering that I preferred my independence.
My prior activities include work for such organizations as the Austin Museum of Art (formerly Laguna Gloria Art Museum), The University of Texas at Austin (College of Fine Arts), and The Nature Conservancy of Texas.
During my tenure at The Nature Conservancy (1992 to 1996), I helped create the first Corporate Conservation Leadership Luncheon – a program that has since generated millions of dollars and enhanced corporate financial support for the organization dramatically, and which has been replicated by Conservancy state chapters across the nation today – with the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and such outstanding volunteers as Robert A. Ayres, Larry Gilbert, Ph.D., the late Clark Hubbs, Ph.D., Ronald W. Kessler, the late Lowell H. Lebermann, Jr., the late Frank W. McBee, Jr., the late Mrs. Robin Shivers, Daphne DuPont Vaughan, and others.
The event was created with the invaluable assistance of Mike Hicks and Rob Miller of HIXO. I received an award for excellence from the Conservancy for work on this and other activities, which were conducted both in the San Antonio state headquarters office, and later the Dallas regional office (which I subsequently helped to open after two failed attempts). Here is a Tumblr about another event organized for the Dallas office you might enjoy, Plimpton! I would like to recognize Dallas volunteer Robert L. Thornton, III, without whose assistance opening the Dallas office would not have been possible.
(*) = The asterisk found after the above entries denotes that a significant portion of business expenses have been, or are being donated to the organization as an in-kind contribution.