|Fundraising / Development
Certainly nothing is more important to a nonprofit’s success than its ability to raise money to support its mission and programs. Geoff Platt’s fundraising experience is extensive and includes several capital campaigns, annual fund drives, special funding “societies” and management of fundraising events.
In his 14 years at Maymont Foundation (www.maymont.org) in Richmond, Geoff established its first ever development department as one of his initial steps. The challenge was simple: the organization had virtually no endowment, was not allowed to charge admission fees (as per agreement with the City of Richmond, which owns the property) and with almost 400,000 visitors a year, had enormous costs maintaining the 104 acre property that featured a historic house, Italian and Japanese gardens, an arboretum. carriage collection, nature center, outdoor wildlife habitats and a Children’s Farm.
A major capital campaign from 1996-1999 funded construction and endowment for a new Nature and Visitor Center. Almost $18 million was raised. Additionally $1.5 million was raised from 2003-2005 to design and install a landmark exhibit devoted to the African-American servants who worked in the basement of Maymont Mansion. In 2004 a meeting and reception hall was created by expanding an existing building at the cost of $1 million. Numerous other restoration and preservation projects on the grounds were funded by grants from individuals and foundations.
In support of annual operations , Geoff either created or greatly strengthened a number of restricted giving groups such as Adopt A Living Thing (supporting the animal programs), the Maymont Council (for historical programming) and the Dooley Noted Society ( to attract and retain younger donors.) Additionally, in 1996 an annual auction was organized that by the time of Geoff’s leaving Richmond in 2006 was netting $200,000 per event.
These successful fundraising activities could not have been possible without a committed and active board, a strong cadre of volunteers, a highly professional development staff and Geoff Platt’s leadership.