According to Philanthropy Today, Bob Wilson, a truly dedicated environmentalist, has announced his intention to give $100 million each to Environmental Defense, The Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the World Monuments Fund, with the proviso that each group match his gift with other fundraising.

From my Environmental Defense days, I know Bob is an original. He demands performance from the charities he supports, on both the program and management sides of the house, but at the same time welcomes risk-taking. And anyone who's been in a Board meeting with him or shared a document for his review knows that when they invented the term “cut to the chase,” they were assuredly inspired by Bob!

Requiring a match for his gifts (usually stipulating new, incremental gifts) has been Bob's way of helping — indeed prodding — his chosen beneficiaries to raise the bar for themselves, their other major donors and prospects, and even their grassroots donors in ED's case. Obviously it's not a concept original to Bob, but applied on his scale and with his rigor, what huge impact it has. More major donors should follow suit.

I have no doubt that ED will meet Bob's challenge and reap the $200 million benefit.

Thanks Bob!

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