NewsVisual: UMass Amherst announces plans for $10m donation from Douglas Berthiaume

amhers berthiaume

Last week the University of Massachusetts Amherst announced it’s plans for a $10m donation from Douglas Berthiaume and his wife, Diana. The gift will be used to “create a “world-class” entrepreneurship center within its business school.”  

Donor Profile  

Berthiaume currently serves as the Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Waters Corp. Between 1990 and 1994, he was also the President of the Waters Chromatography Division of Millipore Corporation, the predecessor business of the Company. 

Berthiaume is an avid philanthropist and the Chairman of the Children’s Hospital Trust Board, and a trustee of the Children’s Hospital Medical Center and The University of Massachusetts Amherst Foundation.  

His relationship with UMass Amherst goes back a long way. He graduated from the University’s Isenberg School of Management, in 1971 and is closely involved with the school’s fundraising campaign “Umass Rising”. In the past both he and his company have made sizable donations to UMass including a $5 million donation in 2006 in support of initiatives at the business school.  

Did UMass just get lucky?  

Alumni have always been a rich pool for Universities looking for prospective donors. However what is it that makes an alumnus make the leap from being a $100 donor to a $1m dollar donor? Of course part of it is capacity – but the other more intangible part is a sense of connection. Successful alumni feel a natural connection to the schools that helped them achieve their goals. However if relationships are not cultivated, that sense of connection can easily dissipate.  

UMass Amherst did not just get lucky – they have been actively maintaining a strong relationship with Berthiaume throught the years – culminating in an invitation to become a trustee. His sense of connection is not merely sentiment, it is formed by real and current relationships with people at the school.   So when it comes to deciding where to donate, his choice is made much simpler because he has a trusted organization already in mind .

Making Sense of Chaotic Data

by Gerry

chaotic dataAccording to Wikipedia, in 2013, the World Wide Web has been estimated to contain 4 zettabytes. For a little bit of a comparison (I’ll save you the calculations), 4 zettabytes is 250 billion iPads (16GB) of storage. If you were to place each of the iPads end to end, you could wrap around the widest part of the Earth 1,490 times!

So how do we organize all this data into useful information?

At Prospect Visual, we filter unstructured data based on sources. We exclusively take information from SEC filings, Businessweek, press releases, company websites, and Businesswire. This process allows us to gather information via automation.

Our natural language processor (NLP) then pulls the information from the article into structured fields and cross-references these fields with the current database for duplicates.

The fields of information are then processed by our software and then turned into the final product: a connection with strength, sources, and visuals.

NewsVisual: University of Arizona former dean supports school with $10 million donation.

The Gift  

Over the weekend it was revealed that the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences had received, on this their 50th Anniversary year – the largest scholarship gift in UA’s history: a donation of $10 million in endowments from Jim Wyant, a former dean of the college.

The Donor  

Apart from having previously been a dean at the college, Wyant has also served at UA as a professor and director – meaning his links to the school are numerous and strong. This image from Prospect Visual shows 10 of his strongest connections to high ranking UA contstituents.

The Power of Relationships  

uarizona wyant

Having identified the connections shown in the map above, the donation – though record-breaking in its generosity – will be unsurprising. It has emerged again and again that many of the largest donations to Universities and Colleges in the United States are made by donors with current links to people at their chosen schools.

When viewed in that context, it seems perfectly understandable that Wyant, with all of his close, strong relationships to UA, would become such a generous beneficiary to the school.

NewsVisual: UT Austin gets $500,000 from Phillips 66. Who made it happen?

UT Austin Phillips

Last week it was announced that the University of Texas – Austin, were presented with a half a million dollar cheque from Phillips 66, “a growing energy manufacturing and logistics company with high-performing midstream, chemicals, refining, and marketing and specialties businesses.

So what made them do it?  

Apart from the fact that Phillips 66 is a Houston-based organization and has a history of supporting Texas based nonprofits, it turns out that several high level employees – including Board Members and Senior Executives – have many strong connections to constitents and trustees at the University.

What does this mean?  

What this reveals, is evidence that Universities – or any fundraising organization – do not simply need to rely on constituents such as alumni to make generous gifts to their schools. They have access to a much wider audience through the connections that those constituents have.

Whilst figuring out these connections can sometimes be a long-winded process, the rewards, as this donation proves, can be incredible.

NewsVisual: Methodist University receives $1 million gift – get the scoop on one of the donors!

The Gift

Last week Methodist University announced that it had received a $1 million donation from Terri Union and Carlos Zukowski in support of an endowment for Judaic Studies and the Fine Arts.

Donor Bio

Terri Union and her husband Carlos Zukowski are both long-term donors of Methodist University. Today we’re going to take a closer look at Terri and her history.

Currently serving on the board of PWC Fayetteville, she was initially appointed to in 2002 and was the first woman to serve on the board at that time. She was also the first woman to serve as Chair in 2005 (and later in 2009). Union is an active member of the community and has many strong connections to other influential individuals. Using Prospect Visual we have generated a map of this “Sphere of Influence”.

Teri Union

What does it mean?

Simply put, the map shows all the people to whom Terri is connected through various employment, nonprofit and board affiliations throughout her life.

Why should anyone care?

Terri Union is a committed constituent of Methodist University and has demonstrated this through several large charitable donations to the school. An active supporter with a large sphere of influence is always going to be of benefit to any fundraising organization looking to identify new prospective donors.

If Terri agreed to make an introduction to any of the individuals within her reach, studies have shown that this prospect would be 200 times more likely to make a donation than if they had simply been approached by a fundraiser. Food for thought?

Relationship Mapping for Financial Institutions – how does it work?

Rel Mapping Finance A lot of our posts lately have been focusing on the advantages that Relationship Mapping can provide for fundraising organizations. But today we thought we’d discuss what’s in it for our friends in the enterprise sector!  

A couple of days ago, a well-known financial institution came on board as a Prospect Visual customer. What is it that they are hoping to get out of the service? How can Relationship Mapping give them an edge in their field?  

Networking – so what’s new?

Companies have long been aware of the benefits of networking and using their relationship capital to help them grow. Even with the advantages provided by services such as LinkedIn, it has traditionally been an inexact science – hard to track and even harder to predict. So even though using mutual connections to reach new clients has always been part of business development team goals, the efforts to transform this into a strategic process have often been impeded by limited or imperfect knowledge of who knows whom, how and how well. What Relationship Mapping services can provide is exactly that knowledge.  

How does it work?  

By analyzing an institution’s existing contacts and cross-referencing them against the individuals they’re targeting, Relationship Mapping can help business development teams gain instant access to exactly which target customers have relationships with their existing contacts – along with details on how and how well those people know each other.  

The end result…  

Institutions can now get a true understanding of the full reach of their trusted networks and use that insight to reach new target clients.

It’s a small world: the number of steps between you and your prospect…

6 degrees
The “Six Degrees of Separation” theory, first proposed by Frigyes Karinthy, is so well-known that it is routinely accepted as accurate. But this is 2014 – the age of social media – a decade since Facebook was founded within the halls of a Harvard dormitory. So surely the theory can be tested?

It turns out it has been: three years ago, in November, various news outlets began reporting on our “shrinking world.” Facebook announced that a study had taken place analyzing its users’ connections and had discovered an exciting new development. As extraordinary as it seems that we could be six steps away from anyone else in the world, it turns out it’s an overestimation. In fact, we are separated by 4.74 degrees from anyone globally and are a mere 3.74 steps away from people within the same country.

A couple of weeks ago, in a blog post at, Jerry Henry discussed the “Six Degrees of Fundraising” and how “relationships are vital to the success of raising funds in the nonprofit sector.” Why are they so vital? It’s simple – people are always going to be more likely to donate to people that they trust.

Here’s the rub though. If we are all only roughly three steps away from being connected to any prospective donor, what’s the value in discovering that path? How is a fundraising organization supposed to distinguish itself as “trusted”? The simple truth is that, with the world getting smaller, reaching and engaging with a prospective donor through a third degree connection is almost never going to be effective.

Fundraising organizations need to work to discover much closer relationships – because in this day and age when almost anyone can boast about being three steps away from someone, only a connection that is one step away truly represents an actionable path to a prospect.

NewsVisual: University of Utah receives $12m from alumnus. Who helped him make up his mind?

The University of Utah last week announced that their Business School was to receive a $12m gift from Pierre Lassonde, an MBA alumnus. Mr. Lassonde is a long-time donor for the school. This most recent donation brings the total sum of his gifts to $25m.

What makes some member’s of a university’s alumni community more likely to donate than others? What prompts their generosity? Throughout a series of posts, NewsVisual has reported numerous university major gift donations and in every case has been able to identify key relationships between the donor and constituents at the recipient school.

This case is no different and the image from Prospect Visual shows Pierre Lassonde had several connections to University of Utah. The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that key relationships can often act as strong influencers when it comes to convincing a prospect to become a donor.

Donataion Details As discussed on Ft.come, “The latest donation will help support the construction of the new building, which will open to students in 2016. The Lassonde Studios, as the building will be called, will cost an estimated $45m and will have 412 residences and a space for students to build prototypes and launch companies.”

NewsVisual: White & Case LLP recognized by University of Miami School of Law for major gift. How are the two connected?

Yesterday the University of Miami Law school revealed that law firm White & Case LLP has made a major gift donation as part of Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign of the University of Miami.

Donation details – The extent of the gift

According to the University,  the donation will provide  important resources for the development of the LL.M. degree program, an endowed scholarship and an an annual lecture series. White & Case partners will also serve as professors and collaborators.

Why UM School of Law?

Dean, Patricia D. White has said about the donation, “This is a wonderful gift from a great law firm and honors an extraordinary lawyer, and will allow us to offer the best International Arbitration LL.M. in the world.” The lawyer she is referring to is Carolyn Lamm  – a partner at White & Case, Co-Chair of its International Arbitration Practice for the Americas and crucially a UM School of Law alum.

A closer look at the image from Prospect Visual reveals that not only is she an alumnus, she is also closely connected (as are several of her colleagues) to important constituents at the UM School of Law. So why has White & Case chosen to throw it’s weight behind this particular School of Law? Well, regular readers of NewsVisual will be unsurprised to discover that the reason seems to have everything to do with relationships.

NewsVisual: Florida Institute of Technology gets $24.1m corporate donation from PTC. See the influencers behind the gift.

Last week the Florida Institute of Technology announced that it received a donation from Massachusetts-based software company PTC. What or who was behind this decision? Why did PTC choose FIT above other schools? Some of the influence may have come from several mutual connections and overlapping relationships between PTC board members and high-ranking constituents at FIT. The image from Prospect Visual displays some of these relationships.

Details of the Donation PackagePTC, who provide products aimed at the manufacturing and engineering sectors, made the donation in order to improve FIT’s courses in manufacturing technology. The package also includes access to its proprietary software and online training on the use of PTC products for a select group of Florida Tech students.