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Alumni Spotlight Notable Philanthropy

A good stretch

Robert Bull

Serving up the next level of giving

It is 9 a.m. the day before Thanksgiving, and Robert Bull ’93 is already cooking what will be a southern homemade feast with lots of butter—for 50 people. It’s something he and his wife do every year, cook for dozens of people.

That’s Robert Bull. He thrives when he gives, and when he can get others to do so, too. It’s a skill dating to his Goucher days as a theatre major; he realized there was a whole back of house that was just as important. He focused his study on arts administration, and, after graduating, went into fundraising. After working at a liberal arts college and a national consulting firm, Bull helped build the Compass Group, a fundraising company to which he was named president in January 2019.

He spends a great deal of time volunteering those fundraising skills, particularly at Goucher. Because he studied arts administration, “I was one of those younger types who knew what a board was. I understood volunteer leadership,” he said. Right after graduation, he joined the Alumnae and Alumni of Goucher College, and from there he joined the Board of Trustees. Today, Bull, along with Margo Winslow ’69, is co-chair of Goucher’s capital campaign, [UNDAUNTED]. The campaign was announced last March and, as of writing, the college was nearly halfway to its goal of $100 million.

Doesn’t he ever get tired of fundraising after doing it at work all day and then doing it some more for Goucher? Bull laughs. “Oh, my goodness, it’s more fun!” he said. He gets to step away from the consulting and teaching aspects of his work and do the fundraising itself. “That’s like icing on the cake,” he said.

Bull demonstrates his leadership through volunteering and his own giving. He donates mostly to the Greater Goucher Fund. “Having been on the board for a number of years,” Bull said, “I understand the importance of unrestricted giving, just because of the flexibility that it gives to the institution so it can direct it to the greatest need.”

Because of the momentous campaign, Bull has decided to push himself a little further through a stretch gift. “When we’re asking someone to stretch,” he explained, “I would want them to consider something in the neighborhood of 10 times what they would typically give on an annual basis. It’s reaching that next level.”

But that next level should not be painful. “There’s a saying, don’t stretch until it hurts, but stretch until it feels good.” He wants fellow alumnae/i to feel proud about committing to Goucher. He remembers his pride at his stretches, when he went from giving three figures to four to five. For this campaign, Bull stretched to make a six-figure gift.

“It’s the first time for me,” he said. “I’m honored to do it, and it feels great.

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