Over the next few months, we are sharing The Money Room, a bit of history written by John Kerr, John Carver, and Sam Tyler whose fundraising careers at WGBH spanned three decades.
By Sam Tyler
David Ives knew just about everybody in Boston. At least it seemed that way.
This made my job coordinating the WGBH Independence Fund in the late ‘70s much easier than anticipated. I was representing a stellar organization with a charismatic leader. We had first class materials from Design, probably more impressive than any other institution in Boston. And potential donors were enjoying NOVA, Julia Child, Sesame Street, Pops, Tennis, The Victory Garden, and so much more each week. Basically, we had free ads for our campaign.
But somebody had to take credit for success. So, I led the band as well as I could.
Off we would go all over Boston — sometimes Kerr with David, sometimes me — with our flip charts to make the case and a couple of umbrellas to leave behind so they’d remember us.
David was obsessed with being on time. On the appointed day, we arrived in the beautiful office suite of Bank of Boston chairman Bill Brown at 1:10 PM for our 1:30PM “hit” as we called such meetings.
This was a big one in our minds because the bank often set the pace in such matters. At 1:20 p.m. Bill came by, greeted David, and apologized for having to cancel the presentation with only 10 minutes notice. David indicated that we looked forward to coming back when convenient. Bill said no need, they are pledging $100,000. Then he hurried off. David and I packed up and headed to the garage. We signaled that we would not talk about what had just happened until we were in the car.
Then David said, “Well, Tyler. I’ll be damned. We got out of the meeting 10 minutes before it began with twice as much as we were going ask for.”
We howled. The plan was to ask for $50,000. But we never got the chance. $100,000 was better for sure. I’ve always wondered what element of fate caused the cancellation that doubled our take.
Read more entries in The Money Room series.
Special thanks to Gene Mackles for the series wordmark.