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Monday, April 20, 2009

Farewell to "Flagstaff's Good Samaritan"

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On Saturday, April 18, Dr. John H. Caskey III, a mentor and inspiration, passed away at his home in Flagstaff, Arizona.
He was 80.

The obituary published in the Arizona Daily Sun talks about many of the wonderful ways that he contributed to the well being of people in Flagstaff. They mention his role in founding the emergency physicians practice, his leadership of the High Country Hounds, and his creation of the Flagstaff Free Clinic, which is now North Country Healthcare.

But as is the case with all obituaries, there are a lot of stories that go along with those facts. When Dr. Caskey was recognized as the AFP Northern Arizona Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year in 2007, his nominator, Rick Swanson, North Country's Development Director, spoke about Dr. Caskey being the heart of the campaign. That was definitely the case.

John Caskey was one of our "rock star" volunteers on our North Country capital campaign. There were many things that John did that both affirmed fundraising best practice and demonstrated how practices can be modified to fit a rural community. Here are some things, among many, that we learned from Dr. Caskey:

Volunteers with strong networks are critical.
Everyone knew John, or knew someone who knew him. In many cases, Dr. Caskey would be calling on a prospective donor that he delivered as a baby! One of the issues at the beginning of the campaign was that North Country did not have an established fundraising program, so we didn't have a donor base to draw from for the initial asks. John took care of that.

Don't beat around the bush. Once John told me why he believed physicians weren't more charitable. After delivering his theory, he ended with a pause and added, "Well, I think that's a load of bull." Dr. Caskey would tell it like it was, not pausing to be politically correct. It demonstrated powerful belief and commitment to the cause.

Remember it's not about you: it's about making the community a better place. As we were in the final stages of the campaign, Dr. Caskey suffered a stroke. We were immediately concerned about being able to recognize his vision and efforts before he passed away. We approached Dr. Caskey and his family about naming the Learning Center in his honor. He wasn't interested. His main objection? "Seems like you could sell that naming right and get more money for the clinic." As a result, we established the John H. Caskey Endowment instead, to fund uncovered medical expenses for uninsured and underinsured patients. With John's support and his contacts, the endowment campaign has raised over $100,000 to date.

Passion for the cause combined with confidence makes you hard to resist. Rick would often joke that Dr. Caskey was a "chick magnet." We found him to be a "donor magnet," too! He exuded a level of command that made you want to listen to his stories and consequently, do the right thing for the health of the community. He talked about his inspiration for the Free Clinic--a young mother who's child didn't have a pediatrician. He spoke about asking doctors to donate their time to provide clinic hours once a week. He talked about the inadequacies of the current facilities to continue to serve those who needed care. And then he said he needed you. How could you say no to that?

We were very privileged to get to know Dr. Caskey over the last few years, and were honored to put together video and audio clips for the tribute dinner to launch the campaign in April 2008. He is someone we aspire to be like, and we will continue to think on a daily basis, "What would Dr. Caskey do in this situation?"

John Caskey was a great leader and friend. He made healthcare in Northern Arizona better for all of us. John, we'll miss you.

Links:
Caskey Tribute Dinner Video
John H. Caskey III obituary
North Country John H. Caskey III Endowment

Connect with GoalBusters: LinkedIn - Alice Ferris / LinkedIn - Jim Anderson / Facebook / Twitter / YouTube / Myspace

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Supplemental Materials Available for "The Velvet Rope: Creating a VIP Experience"

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Hello, and thanks again to those of you who attended AFP's International conference in New Orleans last week. We appreciate you choosing our workshop, "The Velvet Rope: Creating a VIP Experience" as one of your educational opportunities.

The webpage with supplemental information is now available by clicking here: "Velvet Rope" If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me (Alice Ferris) or Jim Anderson.

We always like to present at meetings and conferences too, so if your organization or AFP chapter is interested in a program, let us know. In addition to "The Velvet Rope," other workshop topics are available on our website at "Workshops & Presentations"

We invite you to connect with us on LinkedIn: Alice Ferris and Jim Anderson

If you're Tweeting, you can follow GoalBusters on Twitter at @GoalBusters
You can follow the AFP Northern Arizona Chapter Tweets at @AFPNAZ

We also hope you'll subscribe her to the GoalBusters Blog.

Thanks again for your investment in your personal professional development at AFP 46th International Conferernce in New Orleans and for helping advance philanthropy with your membership in our association!

Best wishes for a productive 2009.

Connect with GoalBusters: LinkedIn - Alice Ferris / LinkedIn - Jim Anderson / Facebook / Twitter / YouTube / Myspace

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