On Private Funding

| June 14, 2010

For years I had and loved a jade plant, a common household Crassula ovata, even if it never had the fortune to bear small pink or white flowers. It required normal watering in the summer, when the soil was dry, and very little watering in colder months. But the dry heat of our New York City apartment deceived me in the depths of a bad winter; over watering caused my jade to lose its leaves, becoming crinkled after falling, while my skin became drier and I sweated out the flu. I watched the blizzard from the 20th floor, the air a swirling mass of white, and sadly could not revive the rotted stem.

That summer we visited my mother-in-law in Scotland who proudly showed me her “money tree.” A jade, for sure, but perhaps incorrectly referred, for it was not the Pachira aquatica, the original money plant. Her succulent thrived, sitting in a large blue glazed pot on the top step to the backdoor, taking in the Scottish rain, facing the commuter trains as they thundered by. I couldn’t understand how so little TLC could work so well, but then again my mother-in-law was wise beyond her 75 years and always knew exactly what to do: a bookkeeper by trade, she could save for a rainy day even in the hardest of times.

Looking for private funders in this tough economic climate is a bit like that Scottish crassula. There is cultivation, development, and stewardship – only, just the right amount in just right place, if you’re brave enough to weather both the natural and human elements.

Referencing the Roundtable: Connecting More Effectively with Private Funders, Monday, 6/14, 3–4:30 pm