Payton Memorial Guestbook Entry

Is there anyone else in the world who keeps a list of the seven deadly sins and the seven virtues in his wallet?  What kind of man does that?  A man who thinks, who wrestles with big questions, who challenges others to do the same. 

Robert Payton was a giant in the nonprofit world.  He was a person of superior intellect and compassion who was able to convey ideas, provoke inquiry, and inspire action.  His definition of philanthropy as “voluntary action for the public good” has become the sector’s mantra. 

As a staff member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals I had the good fortune to attend Bob Payton’s Executive Leadership Institute for fundraisers several times; each time I came away with renewed enthusiasm for philanthropy and the good that can be accomplished through collective action.  I also had an opportunity to attend research-related meetings in which he was a participant.  He was always a thoughtful contributor to the discussions, offering words of wisdom gleaned from a wide variety of sources, from theology to ethics and history.

We will all miss Bob Payton, but through his writing and his personal philanthropy he will continue to influence and inspire future generations of scholars and philanthropists.  


Cathlene Williams

Independent Consultant

Former Vice President for Education and Research

Association of Fundraising Professionals