Rob Stuart shared my birthday, Jan. 11th. We were both part of the 1-11-11 club. But we also shared more than that – the nonprofit technology field. Rob was the godfather. The last time I saw him was in 2009 in San Francisco at the NTC – he attended almost of them from the time they were called the roundup. I just learned that Rob passed away, leaving behind a wife and two daughters. I’m shocked and saddened.
Back in the mid-1990’s – after 15 years of working the nonprofit sector, I got obsessed by technology and started working as the network weaver for an online network of artists called ArtsWire. That’s when I first heard about Rob Stuart who at the time was Director of the Rockefeller Technology Project, at the Rockefeller Family Fund. His projects included the National Strategy for Nonprofit Technology and the Circuit Riders Program. I also heard there was a list serve for Circuit Riders where peers and colleagues provided support.
After meeting him at a conference, he added me to the circuit riders list – and thus started my career in the nonprofit technology sector because I could connect with my peers. I had wanted to travel to Kansas City in 2000 to participate in the conference, but didn’t make it. Finally, I was lucky enough to attend my first “roundup” in 2001 in Denver as the NTC was called in those days. That’s where I met Holly Ross. I got hear the legends in the nptech sector in the early days talk about their work and was inspired.
The photo above is of Rob Stuart in 1997 at a meeting in Montana to create a plan at what eventually became NTEN – thoughtfully documented in photos by Gavin Clabaugh and included in the nptech history wiki.
Rob, you will be missed. Thank you for leadership and inspiration in the early days of our field – you are the godfather of the NpTech Movement.
Allison Fine suggested that we have a way to honor Rob – perhaps a NTC scholarship or Award for the craziest idea for the NpTech field and the winner gets the latest and coolest early adopter technology tool.