Lessons of a Life Well Lived: A Tribute to Henry Bloch
The passing of Kansas City entrepreneur and philanthropist Henry W. Bloch represents an inestimable loss. His humor, acumen and generosity were exemplary, and his work, Seven Lessons for Entrepreneurs, remains a treasure trove of wisdom for anyone eager to learn how to live one’s life for others.
Lessons one through four speak to persistence, authenticity, adaptability and timing. The last three lessons are of particular significance to fundraisers and philanthropists who understand the nobility of what we do and the Power of Philanthropy™ to change the world:
Make decisions with the customer [others] in mind.
Henry Bloch, and his brother Richard, did not set out to establish a Fortune 500 company. They began by taking care of other people’s bookkeeping. They did it well, and this attracted more customers. They did the same when they began taking care of other people’s tax preparations. They did it well, and this attracted more customers. They made decisions with the welfare of others as their guiding principle, and this turned out to be a long-term winning strategy.
Avoid pursuing short-term goals that aren’t contributing to long-term growth.
Everyone’s busy – sending out one more email, making one more phone call or meeting with one more client. We are, daily, susceptible to the tyranny of the urgent rather than committed to making quality decisions that yield long-term value. Henry’s advice is truer today than ever: Think long term.
Your legacy is what you do for others.
After all he did for Kansas City, Henry Bloch still felt compelled to express appreciation to his hometown for birthday wishes he received on his 95th. In 2017, he wrote in the Kansas City Star, “Thank you to the people who have meant so much to me. Thank you to the community that has provided me so much support. And thank you to the organizations that make this such a wonderful place to raise a family, start and grow a business and leave a legacy.”
Bloch said, on another occasion: “If it weren’t for the Kansas Citians who supported our early efforts, H&R Block would never have become what it is today. We did this, not because we had to, but because it was the right thing to do. We knew that business could be more than making money, it could be about making a difference.”
Thank you, Henry, for your life’s example. You have made an extraordinary difference in innumerable ways, and we are grateful.
Next stops on the road to achieving Hartsook’s mission of growing philanthropy by 25 percent in the next 20 years:
May 30-31, 2019
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
2019 Annual Conference
Data-driven Donor Identification, Cultivation, Solicitation and Appreciation Developing a Comprehensive Fundraising Plan
July 11, 2019
2019 Bridge Conference
AFP of Washington DC Metro Area Chapter
Prepared for Success: Demystifying the Major Gift Campaign
July 24-25, 2019
2019 VFRI Conference
Fundraising is Everybody’s Job: Creating a Culture of Philanthropy
Los Angeles, Calif.
October 10-12, 2019
2019 Economic Science Association
North American Meetings
November 14-15, 2019
Randomized Controlled Trials
Resources for Smart Fundraising Available on Kindle
Keep up to date on the latest fundraising trends with the Kindle ASR Media collection:
- Fundraising Leadership – The definitive source for empowering board members to become pro-active fundraising leaders by Karin L. Cox
- Performance-Driven Fundraising – Handy, yet entertaining reference tool for new and seasoned fundraisers by Matthew J. Beem
On the Web
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Strategies for Success explores smart ideas, connecting with thousands of fundraising professionals. We welcome your best practices contributions or comments. Send to Strategies for Success editor Karin Cox, [email protected]. If you’d like a free subscription to Strategies for Success or its monthly companion, eHartsook on Philanthropy, contact [email protected].