Mrs. McGillicuddy walked through the front door and went straight to the Main Desk. “Hello, I would like to see the President, please.” The receptionist smiled and said, “I’m sorry, ma’am, but the President is in a Board Meeting and can’t be disturbed.”
“Dear, I know she is in a Board Meeting. That’s why I came by today. Please go knock on the door and say that a lady is outside who wants to make a million dollar contribution. I have the check right here.” And she did.
In thirty seconds the President came out into the hall. “Well, good morning! Thank you for coming today! You mentioned that you would like to make a gift?” “Yes,” Mrs. McGillicuddy answered. “I only need five minutes of your and your Board’s time. May I join you?”
The President ushered Mrs. McGillicuddy into the Board Room and introduced their special guest. “Thank you and I am sorry for disturbing your meeting. The President is correct. I would like to make a contribution of a million dollars to you today. I have actually met with dozens of boards over the years, and I am still trying to make this gift to a worthy organization. Really, I just need to ask one question. May I do so?”
“Yes! Of course! By all means!” The Board members shouted in unison, flushed with anticipation. Mrs. McGillcuddy asked one of the younger board members to help her place a chair in each of the four corners of the room. She then asked the President to sit in one of the chairs, the chairperson of the board in another, and two other board members in the third and fourth chairs.
As the rest of the Board gaped, Mrs. McGillicuddy whispered something in the President’s ear, and leaned close as the President whispered her reply. Then the Board chair was asked the question. Finally, the board members in the other two corners of the room were asked the question and gave their answers.
Mrs. McGillicuddy straightened up and wiped a tear from her eye. She turned to the group. “I’m sorry. I guess I will have to keep trying.” She turned and hobbled out the door, the million-dollar check still in her hand.
The Board was in an uproar. “What did she ask you!” they demanded to know.
The Board Chair answered for the four. “She said she was going to ask each of us the same question. If we all gave the same answer, the gift was ours.
“She just wanted to know to what institutional priority we would apply the gift.”
Honestly, I have never known an organization that would earn her gift.