Yesterday morning Jimmie Alford died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 69. This sad news started circulating slowly as the day unfolded, and then it snowballed into an online viral event and my email inbox is full of people sharing the news, their grief, and their disbelief.
For the last two years, Jimmie Alford has been my inspiration. As many of you know, I resigned from a great job at Boys & Girls Clubs of America almost two years ago to open my own small non-profit consulting practice. Making that decision was one of the hardest things I ever did, but it was Jimmie’s journey line, his bio, and his story that gave me the courage to chase my dream.
My favorite memory of Jimmie is sharing lunch with him at the University Club in downtown Chicago. He insisted that I take the seat with the best view of the Chicago skyline. We talked about our shared passion for philanthropy, and I remember the time slipping through my fingers like sand in an hour-glass.
I had another one of those lunches at the University Club scheduled with Jimmie for tomorrow on Thursday, December 20, 2013.
While I am profoundly saddened that we aren’t able to keep that appointment, I am so grateful for the lasting memory of our last lunch together. I will hold onto that memory forever and treasure it.
I am forever indebted to Jimmie for being a visionary leader and mentor. I have no doubt that he touched countless other fundraising professionals’ lives like he did mine.
Jimmie may be gone, but he won’t be forgotten.
Our collective challenge as fundraising professionals is to pick up the torch and carry Jimmie’s love of philanthropy upward and onward to greater heights.
Please use the comment box below to share one of your favorite memories of Jimmie Alford. If you don’t have one, I also invite you to share ways that you can “pay it forward” and light other people’s passion for philanthropy as Jimmie was famous for being able to do.
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With a heavy heart . . .
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC