The WASHBURN & McGOLDRICK consulting team will commemorate our silver anniversary in numerous ways, including a series of monthly blog posts, which we happily kick off today.

Step back 25 years to 1995. Forrest Gump won the Oscar, and the San Francisco 49ers won the Super Bowl. Nokia was the top-selling phone in the world. The Dow Jones industrial average started 1995 at 3,838. Giving USA reported $123 billion1 in charitable contributions. The IRS counted 626,000 non-profit organizations.

For Sue Washburn & Bill McGoldrick, 1995 was the year they took a leap of faith and began WASHBURN & McGOLDRICK.(They determined the company name by a coin toss that Sue won.)

They set out to be a different kind of consulting firm, a firm that treated their clients with the same respect, personal attention and care they used with their donors and volunteers as vice presidents and campaign directors at St. Lawrence University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Before Bill and Sue set up shop in Latham, NY, the firm’s first “office” was a corner table at a hotel in Lake Placid, NY, halfway between Canton and Troy. Our first client was an international client: The University of Alberta. Client number two was the University of Maryland College Park, a client we are proud to serve to this day.

Five years ago, in 2015, we purchased the firm from Sue and Bill and took over as its managing principals. As 2020 begins, our 13 team members are located in seven states, and we connect digitally through our virtual offices. We value the relationships all of us have developed with 250 clients over the past 25 years. Our clients have given us great opportunities to be an integral part of their advancement teams for years, sometimes even decades, from one campaign to the next.

Education transformed our lives.

As daughters of educators, we both grew up with a love of learning. As campus officers at St. Lawrence, Vassar and Smith for Karin, Penn and Lehigh for Bonnie, we witnessed education’s positive impact on students, families, communities and nations. Everyone at WASHBURN & McGOLDRICK shares this passion for education. We continue to believe in the positive force of education, in direct response to the headwinds of change and challenges facing our world, our future and our children’s future. Our work with clients lifts us all up and makes us proud.

We have never wavered in our focus on colleges and universities, in the US and abroad.

We are excited by the growing number of independent schools that engage our collaborative style of consulting. And we are delighted when we get the opportunity to help museums and libraries with their educational missions.

Fast forward to today.

The Dow started 2020 at 28,868. Giving USA 2019 reported last year that 1.5 million US charities received $427 billion in contributions, fueled by a decade-long bull market. Global non-profits are now much more focused and adept at fundraising than 25 years ago. In the education sector, financial pressures on CEOs, boards of trustees and advancement programs have never been greater. From smart phones to AI, technology is rapidly changing how education is delivered. It is also changing how our educational clients engage, persuade and thank their alumni and donors. Fewer US households are giving. But campaigns continue to increase in both ambitions and dollar goals, attracting extraordinary eight and nine-figure gifts for financial aid, faculty and facilities. Our 25th anniversary blog posts will explore many of these crucial issues.

Twenty-five years after our founding, the essential principles of philanthropy still ring true.

Great leaders who paint a clear vision for the future will inspire donors who want to make an impact. Nothing compares to strong personal relationships built on trust, confidence and mutual respect. Over 25 years, the value of relationship building to advance education has been both the central core value and the primary operating principle of WASHBURN & McGOLDRICK.

Thank you to all our clients – past, present and future!

1$203 million in 2018 dollars when adjusted for inflation (Source: Giving USA 2019)