At an unexpected dinner, we raised a glass to Barb

Oh, blog... I have neglected you over the past 11 days. It is not you, it is me. You see, I've been on the road. Since last Tuesday. Getting to be part of some really exciting, energizing things--from honoring four outstanding community members served at Black Hills Works to celebrating opening night of a new off-Broadway show at MCC Theater to partnering with a group of the "unusual suspects" on a community development initiative in Rapid City.

On Wednesday afternoon, I had a chance to fly to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul for a meeting on Thursday. As I left my house (after about only 12 hours at home) I got a text from a friend from the Quad Cities--Clare Thompson, a former St. Ambrose University advancement officer who is now working at Ruffalo Noel Levitz, asking if I had time for a conversation about art and culture.

"I'm on the road right now, but let me check my schedule," I texted her.

"I'm in Minneapolis for meetings this week. Any chance you are here too?" she replied.

"That's where I'm heading right now," I texted back.

"Shut the front door," she replied.

And with that, my plans for a quiet evening burrowed in an airport hotel room catching up on some work and some much needed sleep (the bags under the eyes today are really something) turned into a wonderful, fun evening between T3 (me) and C1 (as she has adopted for herself) catching up and talking philanthropy over a 19 (or was it 21?) course tasting menu at Travail Kitchen and Amusements in Robbinsdale.

The restaurant, I must add, is absolutely perfect--an experience every foodie should try if ever in the area. The food is fantastic, but what I loved most was the creativity and pride with which they prepare their menu, and cook and present their food.

Over the course of the evening, we talked quite a lot about our profession, and the Quad Cities. And at some point, began talking about the great work one particular woman is doing in the Quad Cities to transform the region through the generosity of donors: Barbara Melbourne. I first got to meet Barb about four years ago, a year or two into our work at The Numad Group.

As the vice president of development for the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend for nearly 10 years now, Barb has helped philanthropists in the region that I grew up in realize how meaningful charitable giving can be. She is helping people leave their legacy now, so that they can see the impact their gifts have on the region while they are still on this earth. She is bringing lawyers and accountants and financial advisers and more together to work together--work that makes new advancements possible.

Barb’s a tremendous resource. She is successful because of her passion for the work and because she has the unique ability to walk donors through the philanthropy process in a simple, effective way.
— Scott Park, Vice President of Legacy Giving, Knox College

Today marks the start of Community Foundation Week. And next week National Philanthropy Day will be celebrated in the Quad Cities. For her work--and her approach--to philanthropy, Barb will receive the 2015 Outstanding Planned Giving Professional Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Illinois-Quad Cities Chapter during their annual fall conference (read more about that here).

At Numad, we can think of no one more deserving. C1 absolutely agrees with me.

The Quad Cities is better because of people like Barb.

So at Travail, we raised a glass to her--and all the fundraising professionals out there who help to transform communities.