NewsVisual: $40m gift for Worcester Polytechnic Institute from alumnus!

Yesterday Worcester Polytechnic Institute announced that they had received a $40 million donation from a former student – the largest gift the school has ever received, since it was founded in 1865.  

Who was the donor?

The donor was a Robert A. Foisie, a highly successful entrepreneur has been president of Matik North America since 1981. In 1952 Foisie had to rely on scholarship funds to help him afford the tuition at Worcester Polytechnic. He now credits much of his subsequent achievements and success to what he learned at the school stating, “Scholarships helped me when I got started, and I’m trying to give back.”  


Foisie is already one of Worcester Polytechnic’s largest donors. With this gift comes the question – what influences him to keep on giving? He obviously feels a lot of gratitude towards his former school but what makes him donate millions of dollars?  

Well this image from Prospect Visual may provide a clue. It looks like Foisie, who was invited by the school to become a Trustee, has several strong relationships with other constituents there.  

wpi - foisie


And what have we learned about relationships? They are amongst the strongest influencers when it comes to making large donations.

NewsVisual: Another $4 million donation shows strong relationship between University of Rochester and Wilmot Family

The news was announced yesterday that the Wilmot family and the James P. Wilmot Foundation has combined to make a $4 million donation to fund genomics research to the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Cancer Institute.  

The Institute is in fact already named after the Wilmot family, which has just embarked on a campaign to raise $30 million in support of Cancer Research. The gift is the latest in a series of donations dating back to the 1980s when a fellowship to train physicians in cancer research was the first cause to be supported by the James P. Wilmot Foundation. 
As the image from Prospect Visual shows, the University of Rochester Medical Center has kept a strong relationship going with both the family and the foundation – ensuring their continued support over the years.
rocherste - wilmott

Build Social Capital like a Natural!

by Rizzie

Building new relationships is an integral part of developing social capital. Your social capital – i.e., your access to people who can give you great advice, help you meet the right person, spread the word about you, etc. – may be an intangible asset, but it is also an invaluable one.   

There are some people out there who are natural networkers – they have a plethora of contacts because they have a genuine ability to form connections and make friends when they meet new people. This is a natural gift – and unfortunately that means that not everyone has it. But does that have to be the end? If you don’t already have this gift, are you and your business doomed?

Of course not!  

How can you become a natural?  

The natural ability to network actually stems from a person’s innate understanding of unspoken rules. That means that as long as you can work out what those rules are, you can be just as successful at it. Here are a few of them:  

Be Natural: Although it may seem unnatural to make a rule about being natural, that’s exactly what you have to do. Attend relevant events and engage with people. Ask close friends and colleagues who are well-connected to lend you a hand.  

Be Selfless: Don’t go out there thinking you want to talk only to people who can do you a favor. Try to see who you can help as well. Willingness to help others means others will be willing to help you.  

Be Realistic: Forming a network doesn’t happen overnight. Talking to a hundred people at an event and handing out your business card won’t get you very far. Be realistic – be considered. Approach the people who seem to have expertise or contacts they can share. And don’t forget to approach the people for whom you can provide those things.  

So what will all your efforts get you?  

Network for Business

Following all the rules is a delicate balance but not an impossible one. Keeping that balance will help you grow your social capital – whether you’re a natural or not. And the greater your social capital is, the wider your professional reach becomes. The more people you help, the more that will be out there willing to help you.  

And if you’re successful at getting the right people to want to help you? You will have built a powerful support network behind your business.

NewsVisual: Texas Tech University gets $9.45m from United Supermarkets. Whose idea do you think it was?

 Last week Texas Tech University announced a new Donation from United Supermarkets totalling $9.45 million.The large gift will go towards improvements in the on-site arena at Texas Tech – which will also be renamed from the United Spirit Arena to the United Supermarkets Arena in honour of the gift.  

University Chancellor Kent Hance, thanked the company for their donation, “As an industry leader and great corporate citizen, we are truly thankful to United Supermarkets for their continued support of Texas Tech and are proud to bear their name on such an important facility.”  

Whose idea was it?  

A quick persusal of the United Supermarkets website reveals their interest in philanthropy, “One of the greatest privileges we enjoy is to be able to make a positive impact in the communities we serve.” This coupled with their deep Texas roots makes the donation an unsurprising one. However why donate to Texas Tech in particular? You guessed it – it’s about the relationships.

Just take a look at the image from Prospect Visual which shows several of the strongest connections between the school and United Supermarkets President and CEO, Robert Taylor. With this image in mind, it’s not difficult to imagine who might have influenced the direction of this corporate donation.

texas tech - united

NewsVisual: Alumnus makes record $75 million donation to Notre Dame

A Record-Breaking Donation  

Last week the Chicago Tribune reported that John W. “Jay” Jordan, a University of Notre Dame alumnus and the founder of a private investment firm donated $75 million to his former school – the largest single donation in the university’s history.  

The details of the Gift  

The gift will be directed towards a variety of programs at the school, including a new science and technology research program and recruiing faculty and students.  

In a Press Release, Jordan is quoted as saying “Although I am not very knowledgeable in the technology sector, I know how important it is for our country to maintain leadership in state-of-the-art technology. It is not only critical for socioeconomic reasons but national security as well.”  


The gift is not Jordan’s first – several buildings at the school are named after him in honour of the gifts he has made which now amounts to a total of $150 million.  

The image from Prospect Visual shows some of the relationships that he has with constituents at the school – and can provide a clue behind his reasons for making such generous donations towards his alma mater.

notre dame - jordan

Sometimes, there are things that only a visual can truly convey!

by Rizzie


It’s no secret that as a company, we’re big on visuals – everything we do is based on our core belief that maps and graphs can convey far more insight than text or tables.
Sifting through vast amounts of raw data to try and draw conclusions that can help your business or your nonprofit is not only time-consuming, it can also be extremely boring! If you can get an image to convey the same information though… comprehension is instant! And it can often be awe-inspiring.
That’s always the goal when we develop interactive maps for Prospect Visual. And we’re not alone. Just take a look at this beautiful graphic shared by @Recodefrom @TwitterData. The inspiration for my post this morning – it shows a data visualization of Tweets as the sun rises across the globe. There are some things that only visuals can truly convey!