Frank R. Hall and Associates
   382 E. Montecito Ave
   Sierra Madre, Ca 91024

Biographical Sketch Dick Slottow



I wasn't always a fundraiser. In the beginning I worked for a bank. In fact, in 1970 I was the Assistant Vice President and Manager of the Palm Springs Office of Crocker Bank and a real "Honcho" in that town. I was the President of the Rotary Club, the Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Board of Governors of the Desert Hospital Foundation.

One day the Hospital Administrator called and invited me to lunch. Over martinis, those being the days of the three-martini-lunch, he offered me the job as Executive Director of the Foundation.

"Hell, anybody can do it," he said. "You've been doing it as a volunteer and all I'm doing is offering you a lot of money to do what you've been doing for nothing."

He was talking about fundraising and I had, indeed, raised a few bucks for them by leaning on our vendors and competitors.

Then he offered me $22,000 a year and a car. That was a 50% increase over what I was making, so I took the job. It wasn't until I sat down behind the desk my first day as a fundraiser that it dawned on me that I didn't have a clue about what to do.

I read the files. All I learned from the files was how to write a "thank you" letter, because that was all that was in those files.

I decided that I'd better get busy earning those big bucks, so I made a list of 20 people, each of whom could make a gift of $10,000 to the hospital. I knew they could give $10,000 because I'd been their banker. And, they knew I knew it, too.

Then, I called them all up. The first thing I discovered was that they didn't return my phone calls anymore. When you're a banker and you call someone, they call you back. Think about it, there's a message on your desk when you get back from lunch that says "Your Bank called." Do you call right back? Of course you do. All kinds of bad things can happen to you if you don't call right back. But, from this group of 20 people that I fully expected to raise $200,000 from, I raised a grand total of $1,200 from the three or four people who returned my call. A thousand of that came from a man for whom I'd made a lot of money in a banking transaction who let me know that this paid off his debt to me and I'd better not come around asking again.

So, I went back to that Hospital Administrator and said, "You said any one can do this, but, I can't. If you don't want me back in the banking business real fast making you look really stupid for hiring me, you'd better spend some money to train me."

And, he did. For the next few years I went to workshops and seminars. I attended conferences and visited other hospitals. Sometime in 1974 I attended a Regional Conference of what was then called the National Association for Hospital Development (NAHD). The Conference was held at one of the Los Angeles International Airport's adjacent hotels and the keynote speaker was a consultant, some guy named Dick Slottow.

"Your Hospital's not going to raise money unless some one is asking for it," said Dick.

That made sense to me.

He said a lot of other good stuff, too, like how to raise money from doctors. The doctors at Desert Hospital had convinced me that they shouldn't be asked to give, because they were involved in the lofty pursuit of making people well. These newly healthy people, in turn, should give money to buy the new equipment that these doctors wanted the hospital to have.

"When a doctor wants the hospital to buy a piece of equipment you know it will be a money loser," said Dick. "If you could make money with it, the doctor would buy it himself and put it in his office."

That made sense to me.

"When a doctor says that the quality of care will be compromised by some action the hospital's administrator wants to take, it usually means he thinks the doctors will end up making less money," Slottow said.

That made sense to me, too.

Finally, he said, "The problem we have trying to raise money from doctors is we treat them differently than we do everybody else. With a regular donor you cultivate and court him, buy him lunch and tell him how great he is. But, with a doctor you tell him he HAS to give because he owes it to you. All the while the for-profit hospital up the street is feeding him gourmet meals in the doctor's dining room and washing his car while he's making rounds. No wonder they don't give to our hospitals."

It all made sense.

I checked this guy out and found out that he had been one of the first hospital fundraisers in the country (he says he WAS the first) at Presbyterian St. Luke Hospital in Chicago and he was the keynote speaker at the first NAHD Conference in 1966. Before that he worked at Northwestern University and for the Haney Company, a fundraising consulting firm.

In 1971 he started his own consulting practice and moved with his wife Jean and their three boys to San Francisco.

After our first meeting, I kept in touch with Dick over the next few years and was tempted several times to take his "Seminar at Sea," but I could never convince my boss that it was a serious educational experience.


By 1977 I had moved to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach and thought I had learned enough about the fund raising business to take the NAHD Fellows exam to be given in San Francisco that year. We were looking into the creation of a fund raising Foundation for Hoag and I thought as long as I was in the area, I'd stop by and seek Dick's advice about it. He arranged to pick me up at my hotel, then down to the Marina we went to have a drink on his sailboat. The moment I came on board, out came the logbook for me to sign, certifying that I was there for strictly business purposes.

That's when I realized that this Slottow was a pretty slick hombre having figured out a way to write off his sailboat as a business expense. That's what the "Seminars at Sea" had been all about.

We did talk business and arranged for Dick to come to Newport to assist us in putting the Foundation together. Oh, yes, I took and passed the Fellows Exam the next day.


The following year I made my debut as a speaker at the NAHD Conference in San Diego. There was Dick in the audience. My topic was "Goals, Results and Accountability," a presentation about how most hospital fund raising departments failed at setting achievable and measurable goals.

Dick came up to me afterward and said, "That was great stuff, you should be a consultant."

"I can't," I said, "I've got a full time job."

"Sure you can," he said. And he offered me my first consulting engagement with St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco.

"Tell your boss you don't want a raise the next time you're eligible, that you'd rather have a few days off each month to do consulting instead," Dick told me.

"How much should I charge?" I asked. And he told me this story.

After he moved to the West Coast he received a call from an old friend, a hospital administrator in New England, who wanted him to conduct a Board Retreat in the dead of winter. Dick didn't want to go to the cold Northeast in February, so he told him he would charge $3,000 for the retreat, which was about four times greater than his normal fee. The friend said he'd get back to him.

The next day, Dick got a call from the friend who said, "You're hired! I told my Board you wanted $3,000 for the retreat and they figured anybody who can charge that much must be terrific." And, he was, too.

So, Dick said to me, "When you charge an exorbitant fee, they're more likely to do what you tell them to do, because they think you must know what you're talking about or you could never get away with charging so much money."

So, I set my fee at $300 a day and asked my Boss for the time off in lieu of a raise.


In Dick's book, "Confessions of a Fundraiser," he describes the situation he encountered when he took on St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco as a client. The Hospital was near broke and the CEO was hoping Slottow could work miracles.

That's pretty much what he did, too.

He brought me in to review the old restricted accounts and make recommendations on how to utilize the money. One fund was the result of a $10,000 gift made in 1906 the income from which was restricted to provide a free room for a charity case for an entire year. (That ten grand might buy you a day in the Intensive Care Unit today.) The money had been deposited in a trust account at Bank of America and over the next 70 years it grew to only about $27,000. We thought the investment return bordered on criminal neglect but that's the kind of conservative investing one could expect from a bank in those days.

Dick helped engineer a renewal at St. Francis including a new Sports Medicine Department that helped them get back in the black.

I enjoyed my consulting days at St. Francis. I would grab the bus from SFO into the downtown terminal, then grab a cable car up the hill to Hyde and Pine where the hospital was located. Sometimes Dick took me to dine on Pot Stickers at his favorite Chinese Restaurant and sometimes we'd go to the buffet at the St. Francis Yacht Club. When I stayed over night, Dick would arrange for me to stay at the University Club on California Street.

Those were the days of Air California's commuter flights from Orange County to San Francisco. They were almost always overbooked coming back into Orange County and, since I was single in those days, I almost always made extra money by accepting the Airlines offer of $100 or more to give up my seat and take a later flight.

I was really rolling in dough.


Speaking of rolling in dough.

In "Confessions of a Fundraiser" Dick describes his interaction with Arnold Beckman that led to the largest pledge he or I had ever received, $5 Million, and why it was never paid. Here are a couple of anecdotes to complement Dick's story.

Arnold Beckman founded Beckman Instruments in his garage and built it into a billion-dollar company before he sold out to Smith Kline in the 80's. When I went to Hoag Hospital in 1976, Dr. Beckman was on Hoag's Board of Trustees and I was able to convince our Board President to ask him if he would agree to be our Annual Giving Chair. Nobody had ever asked Dr. Beckman to do anything at Hoag Hospital because it was assumed he was too busy to accept any new assignments. They were wrong. When you get as rich as Dr. Beckman you can afford to hire people to do everything for you and life can be very boring.

When I met with Dr. Beckman to discuss the campaign I brought along a list of companies whose employees were heavy users of our hospital. Dr. Beckman looked down the list and stopped when he saw "Continental Airlines."

"Why, I'm on the Board at Continental Airlines," he said, "and Bob Six (the Chair of the Continental Board) is a good friend of mine. But, I don't think they'll give us anything, they're losing money hand over fist."

"If they're losing money," I responded, "Maybe that's because they have a lot of empty seats and they could give us round trip for two to Hawaii to auction off at our annual benefit."

"Good idea," said Dr. Beckman, "I'll give Bob a call." Which he did.

A week later I received a letter from a Mr. Kelly in the Continental Airlines Marketing Department informing me that Continental was giving Hoag Hospital two round trip FIRST CLASS tickets to Hawaii for our Auction. To ask for First Class seats had never entered my mind.

Well we auctioned them for a lot of money and when the next year rolled around I asked Dr. Beckman if he would again approach Continental about the Hawaii tickets.

"Write a letter to that fellow Kelly who sent them to you last year," said Dr. Beckman. And I did.

A month or so later I got a letter in the mail from Mr. Kelly telling me that there were about a million charities in the USA all of whom would like to have Continental Airline tickets, so, they couldn't possibly let us have them two years in a row. "We simply don't have the budget for it," said Mr. Kelly.

I put one of those yellow post-it notes on this letter, wrote "FYI" on it and sent it on to Dr. Beckman. The following week I got a phone call from Mr. Kelly.

"We've reviewed our budget," said Mr. Kelly and from that moment until Continental sank into Chapter 11, Hoag Hospital had first class tickets to Hawaii every year for their auction.

Dr. Beckman liked to tell the story of how, after he had given $20 Million to the University of Illinois, he received a phone call from the University's President inviting him to enjoy the next home football game in the President's private box.

"That would be lovely," Dr. Beckman says he told the President, "what time does the game start?"

"What time do you want it to start?" replied the President.

I've got a million Dr. Beckman stories, but I'll just add one more.

One day I phoned a woman at St. Joseph Hospital in Joliet Illinois, that we were trying to recruit to our Marketing Department. She wasn't interested in our job offer, but before she hung up she said, "By the way, in Newport Beach do you happen to know a man named Arnold Beckman?"

"Of course," I said, astonished that there was anyone in the world who might not know who he was, "He's the founder of Beckman Instruments," etc, etc. "Why do you ask?"

"He's a donor to our hospital," she said. "Every year we get a check for $10,000 the first week in December. It's been going on for 15 years and now he's our largest donor. There is never a letter with the check and he never answers our letters to him offering various types of recognition. Nobody here knows why he likes us so much and we'd love to find out."

I offered to see what I could learn.

The next time I saw Dr. Beckman I said, "I happened to be speaking to a person from St. Joseph Hospital in Joliet the other day and she said you are their best donor." "Oh yes," he said, and told me the following story.

While traveling through their native Illinois many years ago, Mrs. Beckman became ill in a hotel in Joliet. The Desk Clerk referred them to a Protestant affiliated hospital near the hotel and Dr. Beckman rushed his beloved Mabel to the Emergency Room. "What kind of insurance do you have?" asked the E. R. clerk. "I don't have any," said the richest man this clerk had ever laid eyes on. "I'll have to write you a check."

"Sorry," said the clerk, "we can't accept personal checks at night because your bank is closed and can't verify it. Why don't you try St. Joseph Hospital down the street, they'll take just about anybody."

And he and Mabel did, and St. Joseph did indeed take them in without a wallet biopsy, and he's been sending them money every year since.

I know Dick will agree that one of the great things about our profession is having the opportunity to befriend people like Arnold Beckman. He's 102 years old now and his beloved Mabel is gone. When last I saw him, he didn't recognize me. He and his pal Ronald Reagan now suffer from the same malady.


The first consulting job Dick and I did together (he as boss and me as flunky), was for the Northern San Diego County Hospital District.

The District CEO, Ken Dillard, hired Dick to do a Feasibility Study to determine the likelihood of success of a Fund Raising Program for his two hospitals, Palomar in "blue collar" Escondido and Pomarado in "ritzy" Rancho Bernardo. Dick hired me to help with the interviews.

It was an interesting case because Pomarado was a relatively new hospital with few needs while Palomar was an older hospital with a crumbling infrastructure and too many charity patients. What CEO Dillard really wanted to know was whether the rich people in Rancho Bernardo would give money to support health care for the poor people in Escondido. The answer to that question was a resounding, "NO!"

And we collected a pretty hefty fee for finding out that fact, too.

One thing I remember about the Study was that when it was over several of the publicly elected Board Members complained because we hadn't interviewed them. Dick told me these politicians couldn't possibly add anything to what we had already learned, but they felt "slighted" because we weren't interested in their opinion. So, for several hundred dollars Dick and I went back to Escondido, interviewed the neglected Board Members, included a few of their comments as window dressing and resubmitted the report with the same conclusion. Everybody was happy with it except poor Ken Dillard who didn't get the financial result he wanted. Dillard liked Dick, however, because he never "pulled his punches" and kept him on retainer for years.


One of the things that always amazed me about Dick Slottow was the way he was able to deal with difficult Administrators. They admired and respected Dick, while most Fundraisers were beneath contempt to them. I always wondered why this was, but I've come to believe that it was because he always told them the truth. While most fundraisers would try to "butter-up" and/or "bullshit" an Administrator, Dick simply treated them as equals and called a "spade a spade." They loved him for it.

One such administrator was Russ Stromberg who was for many years the CEO of Centinella Hospital in Inglewood. Russ had built Centinella into a powerhouse that included the famous Sports Medicine program of Doctors Kerlan and Job, who were known as "Orthopedists to the Stars." Many years before, Russ and Dick had worked together and Dick could look Russ in the eye and tell him "no" when no other Fundraiser could get away with it.

Stromberg went through Fundraisers like a hot knife through butter. Many a famous name in Fundraising lasted only a few months at Centinella because Russ had his own ideas about how it should be done.

Russ played Golf. He liked Golf. So, his idea of fundraising was to put on a Golf Tournament. For awhile it was an LPGA Tournament, then it was a Seniors Tournament, each of which gave Russ a chance to play golf with a famous Pro Golfer. But, the Tournament didn't have a "chance in Hell" of raising a dime because of the high purses that had to be guaranteed the Pros.

So each year Russ hired a new Fundraiser in the hope of finding one who could turn his Golf Tournament into a moneymaker. None of them ever did. Each year I would get a phone call from a new "Headhunter" hired by Russ to scrounge up a new Fundraiser. Russ went through a lot of Headhunters, too, in his quest for the "Perfect Fundraiser."

Finally I got a call from a Headhunter who said, "Name the top five Fund Raisers in the Country."

"I'll name four," I replied, "But modesty prevents my mentioning the fifth."

That's another thing I learned from Dick, "Modesty is for those who have much to be modest about," to paraphrase Winston Churchill's famous assessment of his replacement as Prime Minister.


One year while I was at Hoag I got a call from a Medical Doctor who identified himself as the President and CEO of Scottsdale Memorial Hospital. He wanted to know if he and several of his Board members could stop and see me during a trip they had planned to Newport Beach. I agreed, for a fee.

The CEO and the Board Members called on me and I spent some time advising them on their Fundraising Program. About a week later I got a call from the Doctor in Scottsdale who said, "We'd like you to come to Scottsdale and be our Fundraiser." Then he offered me quite a bit of money. I told him I'd think about it.

I called Dick and told him about it. Right at that moment I was feeling under-appreciated at Hoag and I was flattered by their offer.

"Before you go off half cocked," said Dick, "and do something you may regret for the rest of your life, ask yourself one question. Are they offering all that money because they want Frank Hall to run THEIR Program? Or, is it because they want you to bring Hoag Hospital's Development Program with you?"

He was right, of course. These folks had been impressed not with me, but with the amount of money Hoag was raising on an annual basis. It would take years to build up a program to that point and I was sure they wouldn't have the patience to wait for it.

I passed.

But, I did refer them to a friend of mine named John Tabor, who I knew was interested in leaving St. Louis where he headed a hospital foundation. A few days later John called me and said he'd received an inquiry from Scottsdale. He asked me what I thought he should ask for, in terms of salary and perks. I told him I'd ask for $50,000 a year and a car, which he thought sounded pretty good.

Later I heard that Scottsdale Memorial had hired John.

I ran into him at an NAHD Convention and asked how he was getting along. He said he had made only one mistake.

"Remember when you told me to ask for $50,000 and a car? I should have asked for $50,000 and a NEW car."

It turned out the Doctor/CEO had been driving a five year old hospital vehicle which he assigned to John while he got a new BMW for himself.


Another Administrator who remained faithful to Dick during his entire consulting career was George Graham of Torrance Memorial Hospital. Dick hired me to help on the Torrance account from time to time.

The first fundraiser I worked with there was Mark Mattson. Mark had been in Public Relations and I always had the feeling he didn't like fundraising very much. I would give Mark a list of tasks to accomplish before I returned two weeks hence and when I came back I almost always found the task list still sitting in Mark's "To Do" basket.

I talked to Dick about the problem and he told me that it was an exceptional P.R-type who could juggle both Fundraising and P.R. at the same time. The problem was that the Public Relations person was always on a deadline.

"I can't go ask for money today; I have to get the Employee Newsletter out." It was true. It sounded a lot like the excuses I was getting from Mark. Ultimately Mark quit, just before one of his deadlines.

Several years later, Dick hired my fiancée Patricia (later my wife) to help him conduct interviews for a Feasibility Study for Torrance Memorial. Gary Steinhauer was then the Development Director at Torrance and was to spearhead the campaign when it got underway.

Sometime during the course of this Study, Dick convinced Patricia that I could make more money as a full time consultant than as an employed person. They've both been on my case ever since. But growing up in Post-Depression Bakersfield convinced me of the value of a steady paycheck and I've just never been able to get over it.


Dick and I worked at Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina at different times over the years, sometimes together, sometimes alone. In the early 70's "the Queen's" Fundraiser was a man named Gordon whom I admired. He was a big shot in NAHD and he sounded to me like he knew what he was talking about. But, Gordon left Queen of the Valley and several other hospitals after relatively short intervals, so I asked Dick about him.

"Gordon has the Yips," Slottow told me. "The Yips" is a golfing term applied to a guy who "chokes" and misses when confronted with a short "money putt."

I asked Dick how the Yips applied to fundraisers.

"He gets sick," Dick told me. "Whenever he has a big meeting to attend or a tough decision to make he gets the stomach flu or some other malady that prevents him from showing up for the big date."

After Gorden came a string of Fund Raisers at Queen of the Valley and finally the Queen hired Jim Lester as their CEO.

Jim depended on Dick for his sage advice, including the advice to hire Michael Slottow, one of Dick's three sons, as a trainee in the Queen of the Valley Foundation.


In 1986 when I left Hoag for Orthopaedic Hospital I was faced with hiring four or five new professional staff members to replace those who decided to leave with my predecessor Jon Olson. Dick told me about Michael and suggested I speak to him about one of our openings. So, I called him and we made a date to meet, amazingly in all my trips to the Bay Area I had never met Michael.

When he walked into my office I recognized him immediately. He had his Father's enthusiasm, pleasant attitude, sense of humor and his slight wiry athletic build. He was smart like his Dad, too. Luckily, he had inherited his Mother's good looks.

I offered Michael a job and he took it. We had an opportunity to work together for more than a year and it was a highlight of my time there.

During our two-year tenure, Orthopaedic Hospital had four Chief Executive Officers.

The man that hired me was Bob Sloan, with whom I had served on the Board of the California Hospitals Political Action Committee. I liked Bob a lot and had looked forward to working for him. Unfortunately he was fired before I ever reported to work. His replacement was Dave Arterburn, who had been Sloan's Assistant. But he didn't last long because the Hospital continued to lose money and, to escape, Arterburn accepted a position in Northern California.

Next, the Board of Trustees decided to appoint as CEO one of their own, a Board member who had previously been Business Manager for fitness guru Vic Tanney and was now "between jobs." The other Trustees thought this was sufficient "Health Care" experience. He ran the place into the ground so that the Board in desperation conducted a search, which turned up a former For-Profit Hospital Administrator with the ethics of a Trial Lawyer. That's when I quit and went to work for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange.

Meanwhile Michael yearned to return to the ski slopes of Colorado. When he was offered a job sufficiently high on the mountain to guarantee continuous winter snowfall he leaped at the chance and as far as I know he hasn't come down yet.


Somewhere along the way Dick and I decided to form a partnership for the purpose of doing Executive Searches. Several times Dick called me for ideas whenever he was doing a Search for one of his clients and he always shared his fee with me if someone I suggested was hired. Since he was in Northern California and I was in the south we knew just about everyone in the business, better yet, we knew which ones were really good and which ones only sounded good.

"All fundraisers SOUND like they know what they're talking about," Dick told me. "But, not many have actually got this business figured out. Most Hospital Administrators don't know anything about it either, so they hire someone who looks and sounds like the last guy they had." (And, in those days they were all "guys.")

It reminded me of a long ago incident. In the early 70's the Director of Development for White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles was a former radio announcer named Wally Lighthall. Wally never raised any money, but he sure sounded wonderful. A few months after Wally retired I attended an NAHD Regional Meeting where a man introduced himself to me.

"Hi there", he said in a deep and trained-for-radio voice, "I'm Gary Quackenbush."

"Don't tell me," I said, "I'll bet you're with White Memorial Hospital."

"How did you know?" he asked, truly puzzled.

At the time Dick and I decided to start our little recruiting firm there were several large executive search organizations specializing in hospitals that would do a search for a fundraiser, but, they didn't know what a fundraiser should be doing, exactly. So, we felt we had a unique service and launched Hall Slottow. Dick even arranged for us to have stationery and business cards.

We placed quite a few people, most of whom stayed in those positions for a very long time. One, Jim Klosterman at Downey, just retired after staying in the same job for 20 years. We must have been doing something right.

Unfortunately, we had to give up our little enterprise when the St. Joseph Health System negotiated to buy all my consulting time.


Thus far I have spoken only about Dick Slottow, with only passing mention of the driving force behind his success, his wife of 50 years, Jean. They say that behind every successful man is a strong woman and a surprised mother-in-law. This is very true of Richard Slottow.

I have known many persons named Jean, but it is Jean Slottow who comes to my mind when I hear song from Brigadoon, "Bonnie Jean."

Jean is a saint. She put up with Dick's long hours, the years on the road, his loutish friends and the monumental egos of the "Fat Cats," he had to cultivate to succeed in his chosen craft. She also had to put up with visiting fundraisers like me, who would stomp into her house, collar her husband and speak about nothing but business for hours on end.

Through it all she raised three fine sons and was there for Dick when he needed a shoulder to cry on. And, she is a generous and thoughtful hostess, too.

One time, many years ago, during the Great California Drought, I visited the Slottow household. The Drought was so bad that each home was only allowed to flush their toilet twice a day. Jean gave me two beers even though this inevitably meant that I would be forced to use one of their flushes.


I've written in these pages about Dick Slottow the Fundraiser. I have not mentioned Dick Slottow the sailor, or Dick Slottow the bicyclist, or Dick Slottow the sculptor, or Dick Slottow the skier, or Dick Slottow the writer, or Dick Slottow the tennis player or Dick Slottow the pianist, or Dick Slottow the investment advisor, or Dick Slottow the real estate mogul or Dick Slottow the true, blue friend.

He is all of those things and probably a lot more that I don't know about.

I owe him a lot that I will never be able to repay.

"So, try," he will say.



Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Frank Hall and Associates