The Best Birthday Gift of All
I have always loved fall. It consists of sunny days and cool nights plus the perfect temperature. The sights, sounds, smells and colors are amazing.
If you know me, you quickly understand I am from West Virginia. A friend recently sent me a fall photo from West Virginia. Growing up in Charleston, I was surrounded by hills with colorful trees. I always loved the time of year of my birthday, not for personal gratification, but because the birth date was near the peak of the leaves showing off their many colors.
With respect to the birthday itself, I always enjoyed giving gifts instead of receiving gifts. I grew up with a philanthropic heart. I will always be that way. Isn't it always better to give than receive?
For 28 years, every fall, three organizations in Indianapolis have worked very hard as partners to see that more than 4,000 children receive new or gently used winter coats, hats and gloves: The Salvation Army, Tuchman Cleaners and NBC affiliate television station WTHR-13. The credit for this idea goes to Jim Dunn, former president of Tuchman Cleaners. He took his idea to Bob Gregory, a now retired WTHR-13 weatherman. No one knows better than meteorologist Bob that Indiana winters are very cold and snowy. The annual program name is Bob Gregory's Coats For Kids. There are various additional corporate supporters that make this program a success, including the Indianapolis Colts NFL football team.
When this program was established in 1986, Jim and WTHR-13 approached the Salvation Army with a plan for success. They felt you needed a television station to promote the event for several weeks in the pre-winter season. They also believed you needed a major dry cleaning company to clean coats for distribution to children. They also wanted a partner organization that had the human resources to collect financial donations, secure donated coats and organize a distribution day event where coats plus other winter items could be given to families. The three partners joined forces and are still going strong today, more than 200,000 coats later!
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.