Sharpe Group was originally founded by Jane and Bob Sharpe Sr. in 1963 in the basement of their home in St. Louis. Operating as Robert F. Sharpe and Company, we were the first business to provide gift planning counsel exclusively to charities and nonprofit organizations. In 1967 Jane and Bob Sr. moved their family to Memphis and incorporated the business as a Tennessee corporation in March of that year. Between 1963 and 1967 the business grew and thrived.
The company’s mission from its inception has been to help charities achieve long-term financial success. Bob Sharpe Sr.’s philosophy was to create communications designed to educate donors on the many methods and tax advantages of making charitable gifts, and to train the development staff on the importance of maintaining donor relationships in order to help them achieve their philanthropic goals.
How we did it
The original communications technique with development staff was in person, including onsite visits to the charities. The onsite visits consisted of similar advice and recommendations, but, as it became an obvious need, Bob Sr. wisely replaced the individual onsite meetings with group training sessions; and the legendary Sharpe Group Seminars were born, providing an opportunity for group education, networking and idea exchange.
Who we are today
The company’s mission was to educate donors of the benefits of charitable giving and to train the development staff on how to communicate with their donors and to train the staff about the various gift vehicles available to meet the donor’s charitable goals. To reinforce the methods taught at the seminars, the company provided donor communications, individualized training and ongoing fundraising advice. Today Sharpe Group continues enhancing and expanding Jane and Bob Sr.’s foundational vision in innovative and evolutionary ways. See the companion article about Sharpe Group’s newest services, “Expanding the Vision of Bob Sharpe Sr.”
Fifty-seven years after our founding and building on the vision of Jane and Bob Sr., our uncompromising mission to serve those who serve society remains steadfast. I am grateful for the honor and responsibility to carry their legacy into the future.