Call me Dale,” he says by way of introduction, after I’ve slaughtered the pronunciation of his last name…and then he laughs graciously, his smile radiating over the phone line.
Detroit native Dale Zschoche started his education at Michigan Technological University as a Forestry major. Fortunately for the world of planned giving, he soon realized that it was too solitary for his liking and with limited job prospects, perhaps he would do better studying business. He initially got involved in the nonprofit world during his college years, with a club that partnered with a local charity. Not long after graduating, that same charity pulled him away from his corporate job, he started working in development, and never looked back. As he tells it, working for a small grassroots organization, a $1,000 gift made his colleagues fall off their chair. He soon realized it was much easier to ask one donor for $1,000 than to find 100 $10 donors. In the mid-80’s he was introduced to gift planning and went to work for his alma mater—Michigan Tech—in 1989. He was their first fulltime gift planning officer and spent 8 years before deciding he’d had it with Lake Superior’s snow, and headed south. He spent the next decade-plus in the Midwest at small private colleges doing more general advancement but decided he was really happiest doing planned giving work.
Colorado called next, when he learned about an opening at the U.S. Air Force Academy, from which his son graduated (he is now an Air Force command pilot based in New Jersey and currently deployed). Dale’s unique perspective as a parent allows him to accurately portray for the USAFA Endowment what it means to be a cadet. He is the Director of Gift Planning and the only Endowment staff member solely dedicated to PG, augmented by a great Major Gifts team. The USAFA Endowment raises funds for additive programs and projects, such as the nearly-completed Center for Character and Leadership Development building.
Dale has been a CPGR member for 4 years and serves on the membership committee and works the Summer Symposium every year. He is also a member of the Michigan Tech Legacy Society, and active with Rotary and his church. He has a beautiful view of Pikes Peak and the Air Force Academy from his home north of Colorado Springs where he lives with wife Ruth and enjoys all the outdoor activities Colorado has to offer. A world traveler, Dale and Ruth have visited over 35 countries on five continents, and hosted foreign exchange students in their home.
Written by Cari Karns, Development Director at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center