Thursday, May 24, 2018

GOING FOR THE ONE - Introduction

In the summer of 1998, I asked Bill Gates to donate $35 million to save the endangered Mountain gorilla. Getting there took three years, standing on the shoulders of giants, and a business plan forged in the white heat of the Internet revolution. Douglas Adams made all the introductions, opened the doors to the titans of tech. I was the parrot on his shoulder. How could we fail with such an A-list of advocates and advisors as Eckart Wintzen, who donated $50,000 to prepare the plan; Ian Charles Stewart, who honed it to a standard that suited the mindset of the Microsoft CEO; and Mike Backes who travelled around the world in eight days asking our gorilla gurus to commit to camera why these great apes needed to be saved? This is the story of how, with instinct, serendipity, and a stack of celebrity endorsements, a self-taught fundraiser pitched an eight figure appeal to the world’s richest man, and failed.

Over the summer I’ll be blogging a serialization of my gorilla memoirette, ending on August 12th, the 20th anniversary of my pitch to the Gates Foundation. Follow me to this seminal moment, and beyond, to glean wonderful insights into big gift fundraising and endangered gorillas.

August 12
Part 12 - My DNA

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