Next year NCG will celebrate its 30th anniversary and as part of the preparation for all that we’ll be doing next year, I’m combing through our archives, sleuthing around the Internet and experimenting with timeline generators.
This week I’ve been working on various timelines: 1) important dates in history for the field of philanthropy; 2) important dates in NCG’s history; 3) important dates in our members’ histories. I’m compiling them all on a nerdy little spreadsheet.
Though all this informational foraging doesn’t sound anywhere near as exciting as say searching for lost artifacts, I do enjoy all the tidbits of historical knowledge I’m learning.
For example, there’s Levi Strauss. Yes, the Levi Strauss, who made his money selling blue jeans, practically inventing them. Today his descendants have established several foundations here in the Bay Area: Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund; Joanne & Peter Haas Jr. Fund; Mimi and Peter Haas Fund; Walter and Elise Haas Fund; not to mention the Levi Strauss Foundation, the corporate giving arm of the Levi Strauss Company.
That’s a lot of philanthropic organizations and that equates to a lot of giving.
And all that giving has a beginning, a point of origin that begins when Levi Strauss endowed 28 scholarships to UC Berkeley (half of them going to women). It’s a wonderful moment to highlight and I dearly want to (and will ultimately find a way to), but there’s a some specific information I’m unable to track down.
You see, what eludes me, after several exhaustive Google searches, is the exact date when Mr. Strauss gave UC Berkeley money for its first scholarships.
Yes, I know the year was 1897, but I’m looking for the day, the month.
This is where I sigh a bit and explain it’s the timeline generator‘s fault.
You see, I’m gathering all these interesting historical moments in order to compile a timeline. And I found a timeline generator that I’m experimenting with. All you have to do is plug in the day, the month, the year, the title for the “event” and then a description and even a photo (if you like). All of the events float above the timeline and when your mouse hovers over an “event” a little balloon appears with an abridged description. Click on the balloon and it expands to show more detail (and said photo, if you added one).
But here’s the rub.
Say I only know the year that Levi Strauss donated money to UC Berkeley, an event that began a long and rich history of giving on the part of his family to Bay Area communities.
This is why I said the sleuthing has been more Carmen Sandiego and I’m the detective trying to track down that elusive mastermind and return whatever historical artifact she’s stolen. This time it’s an exact date.
Who knows if I’ll find it. Some things are lost forever, especially when there’s no Facebook or computer hard drive to house it.
And if what I’m looking for eludes me, I’ll figure out a work around. Besides, I have to admit, part of all the fun in playing detective/archeologist is…well…the chase.