The Loss of My Philanthropic Brother
I normally create a post title quickly for my Friday slot on NonProfit Pro. This week’s title was the hardest for me to write, as I lost a dear philanthropic brother, George Mongon of Huber Heights, Ohio. He passed away suddenly on July 28, 2015. I was teaching a community relations course at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois and could not attend the funeral. I felt awful, as I really wanted to be there to pray for the family and, if possible, provide a few words about my longtime colleague.
Who was George Mongon? George was a distinguished consultant in our profession. He created G. J. Mongon and Associates in 1971. He worked with a number of extremely bright and passionate career development professionals. These individuals worked with George on and off for more than 40 years. He worked with extremely large clients and very small clients. He always treated them the same. George was a very humble and devoted man to his profession, family and community. I knew him for many years and we never had a harsh word. He was always wise and thoughtful, plus engaging to anyone lucky enough to interact with him. He focused on solutions, not problems.
I talked to many people over the last few days about him. The word impact is played over and over again. He impacted people and set an example for others to follow. He had the perfect resume to be the outstanding consultant that he was in life.
Some examples of his work experience included:
- Corporate consultant to Fortune 500 companies
- Corporate consultant to the U. S. Olympic Committee
- Corporate consultant to the University of Natal in South Africa
- Directed a $51 million campaign for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming
- Directed the Air Force Museum Foundation to new heights while raising millions to acquire a space shuttle at Wright Patterson Air Force Base
- Lecturer in management at the University of Cincinnati
- Associate professor of business administration at Thomas More College
- Successfully raised millions of dollars for hospitals, universities, churches, etc.
He directed a significant part of the early educational and research efforts by the National Society of Fund Raising Executives, now known as the Association of Fundraising Professionals. As its national board vice president, he also helped lead the development of the Certified Fundraising Professional Credential (CFRE) and educational programs (First Course and Survey Course).
George and I met years ago and began to work continually together as associate consultants. The life of a consultant is hard. For example, he and I were working on a campaign for Kiwanis International in Montreal, Canada in 2006. The convention was great, but it rained for days. I remember him and me getting on a Montreal Underground Metro System train and arriving at the Kiwanis International Convention soaking wet. We worked side by side for 14 hours and went back to the hotel lobby only to work four more hours in preparation for the next day.
I also remember the many lectures he and I would give to groups. Even though we had the same level of experience, we viewed things differently. That is why I love the art and science of our profession. He was driven by exceeding expectations. He also gave away thousands of dollars in free consulting advice. Ask the hundreds of professionals he mentored through the years. He firmly believed that one had to build an exciting-yet-prudent business plan, develop and maintain strong community and constituent relationships, and continually seeking quality-focused results.
When you work with a band of philanthropic brothers and sisters for many years, you see the collective soul of a network of good people focused on one purpose. That purpose is to make our society a better place. I know I can speak for Del Staecker, Ronald Kaplan, Jim Gillespie and others who also had a close relationship with George when we say well done, good and faithful servant. My prayers go to Marcy and the Mongon family. The nonprofit profession has permanently lost an important member of the philanthropic band of brothers and sisters. He cannot be replaced, but I hope others aspire to be like him.
I have been blessed to have had such a friend and colleague. While our plans for the future are not meant to be, I will cherish the time and memories we spent together. You are already missed.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.