By: J. Scott Feierabend, Executive Director
For most of my adult life, I routinely invoked the phrase of “killing two birds with one stone,” the old standby adage used to describe one’s ability to achieve two objectives with a single effort. Focused more on the directness and efficiencies conveyed by the idiom, I never gave a second thought as to the actual words and their meaning. That is until I met Keith Ashley, IDA’s former Director of Philanthropy. Earlier this month, Keith left our team to pursue a wonderful career at his former haunt, the Tucson Audubon Society, just across town from our office.
Time and again, as Keith and I met with donors and supporters to describe the work of our organization and the impact of their investments, he would artfully mention how a gift was “feeding two birds with one seed.”
Keith is one of those rare individuals who immediately connects with others by listening rather than by speaking. Keith’s remarkable ability to connect with people from the laid-back, rural lands of Texas, to the busy streets of Los Angeles stem from his life’s early lessons growing up in rural Kentucky and his years of teaching experience with at-risk youth, indigenous, and diverse communities around the world. But it was Keith’s unvarnished passion for the natural world, his deep love for birds and the urgency to protect their habitats, and his understanding that light pollution robs us all of things wild and pure, that made him such a powerful and effective ambassador for our movement.
The amazing and myriad fund development accomplishments achieved by Keith during his tenure at IDA – most importantly creating the organization’s first-ever philanthropy plan – will guide and inform our work for years. Because of his insight, wisdom, and impeccable professional standards, Keith has positioned IDA for unprecedented growth and ever-expanded impact in reducing light pollution worldwide.
From all of us at IDA … Board, staff, and volunteers … we wish only the best for Keith in his new position. I thank Keith for all he has taught me and from this day forward will always, “feed two birds with one seed!”