Wednesday, March 14, 2012

100 Days of Gratitude - Day 20: Ami Dar

Ami Dar
In late 2000, I was in New York City for some meetings when I got a call from Mari, who said "You have to go meet Ami Dar.

"Ami Dar?" I replied, "Who is he?"

"Find a copy of the Chronicle of Philanthropy - he's on the cover,"  she replied.  And so I did (in those days, there were actual magazine stands and shops!)  I read the story right away and then called Ami.

He invited me to his office that afternoon, and we spent a couple of hours talking about what the new thing called the Internet might mean for aid and philanthropy. Ami had started something called Action Without Borders in 1995, whereas Mari and I were just starting to think about launching what is now GlobalGiving.

At that time, there were very few people who understood the concept of what we were hoping to do - much less had any experience implementing something like it.  Ami was already in the process of thinking about the next phase of Action Without Borders, which would go on to become the very well known Idealist.

Fast forward to eleven years later.  I meet a new staff member at GlobalGiving who is terrific.  I say to Mari "Wow, she seems good.  Where did we find her?"

Mari looks at me like I am a moron and says "Idealist, of course - where else?"

Over the years, I have seen Ami here and there.  What strikes me each time I see him is that he is about action, not talk.  Others get more PR, but few get more done than Ami.  He does not go to that many conferences, but when he does you can be sure he will be worth listening to.  Candor, not flattery, is his middle name; he tells it the way it is (and that does not always make other people happy)!

What Ami may not know is how much that first meeting meant to me in terms of giving me the courage to  take the leap into the great unknown and launch GlobalGiving with Mari.  Trailblazers like Ami are few and far between, and they show the rest of us the way.  For that, I am very grateful.