It was just a chance encounter more than 25 years ago that introduced Bruce and Nancy Roberts to Carolina Raptor Center. But as the couple has focused on doing, they listened to their intuition and built a relationship that has been so meaningful to the organization.
It all began when Bruce and Nancy were invited to a neighborhood event in their River Hills community in the Lake Wylie, SC area. The event was facilitated by fellow River Hills resident Jim Arthur, for whom CRC’s Raptor Medical Center is named. Then-Executive Director Pat Marcum struck up a conversation with Nancy about the need for accounting support. Nancy, who had served as a freelance accountant, offered her services.
“The Raptor Center looked very different in those days,” Nancy said. “There were two trailers where the hospital is now – one was the hospital and the other was for administration. The Moretti Center was still being built.”
Nancy started out doing payroll and general accounting two or three days each week. Soon, she asked if she might be able to be a bird handler. Later, Nancy recruited Bruce to serve as a transport volunteer with her. Transport volunteers help CRC respond to calls by the public regarding injured raptors that need to be picked up and brought in for medical attention.
“I had recently retired and was looking for things to do,” Bruce said. “Serving as a transport volunteer led to me eventually serving on the Board of Directors, and now I’m a member of Campaign Cabinet for Our Quest campaign. One thing truly leads to another.”
Seeing the Connections
Fate may have played a role in Bruce and Nancy’s involvement with CRC. Bruce is no stranger to birds having raised pigeons when he was young.
“I was always attracted to the pigeon coup where I would just sit and watch them,” Bruce said. “I felt drawn to the birds, and saw it as a place to go to be meditative and reflect on life. I was also fascinated by how they interacted.”
Later, Bruce would name his company Falcon Metal Corporation after the Peregrine Falcon, the fastest bird of prey. Images and statues of falcons are dotted throughout Bruce and Nancy’s home. So it may not be surprising that the couple would find themselves at an event introducing them to CRC. What is unique is the couple’s quarter-century commitment to the organization.
“We believe in giving back and volunteering in the nonprofit world,” Nancy said. “We are involved in a number of organizations and believe strongly in community service.”
Leaders in Action
Bruce and Nancy are more than just trusted volunteers and annual supporters. The couple made the first leadership gift to Our Quest Campaign – a $300,000 commitment – long before the facility site location was selected or a single architectural rendering was completed.
“It was an incredible commitment at a time when we really needed the vote of confidence,” CRC’s Executive Director Jim Warren said. “Bruce is not only a significant donor to the campaign, but has joined me in cultivating others to join him as a donor. He and Nancy have been a huge part of our success to-date.”
At first Bruce did not think fundraising would be his strong suit. He had built a successful company, but sales was not an area of the business that interested him. However, Bruce has risen to the occasion time and again, and has proven to be a huge champion for the project.
“We have come to view money like water – if it sits still for too long it begins to stagnate,” Bruce said. “It needs to flow to do good.”
Bruce and Nancy have done so much good for CRC over the years, and as members of the organization’s Golden Eagle Society, the couple has also made a planned gift to the organization that will help to ensure efforts to conserve raptors through education outreach, research, and rehabilitation for decades to come.
How Can You Help
CRC has undertaken the most significant fundraising campaign in its history to make possible a new Adventure Center, updated Raptor Trail and remodeled Medical Center. Learn more about getting involved by clicking here.