Calvin Edwards & Company (CEC) was founded in April 2001. We started with a single client needing serious research to identify a new giving opportunity. From the outset, Calvin Edwards & Company was created to serve the needs of donors, to increase the impact of their giving. Other clients – families, foundations, businesses, and government agencies – were added, and we gradually expanded the line of products to provide well-rounded, comprehensive service.
Over some twenty-plus years, Prior to forming CEC, Calvin Edwards held executive leadership positions at several nonprofits, served on more than a dozen nonprofit boards, helped found eight charitable organizations, and had more than 100 nonprofits as clients, including some of the largest in the country. He knew well that many nonprofits have real deficiencies and that donors’ investments were often at risk as they contributed to some of the one million charities in the United States.
Also, while interacting with major donors, and as a principal at Ronald Blue & Company, a national financial planning firm, Edwards observed the challenge donors face in making large grants. He heard wealthy entrepreneurs say, “It’s harder to give money away than to make it.” Unlike the financial investment world, there is no “efficient market” with high-quality comprehensive data on giving opportunities.
Edwards started the firm because gifts were at risk and donors cared deeply about how they invested funds. The goal: maximize the good of giving. By 2011, we started to provide services directly to nonprofits so they could maximize their impact and commitment effectively with major donors.
Because of Edwards’ profile in the nonprofit sector, almost from day one the firm was contacted by charities seeking access to clients or to be included on “the list” they imagined CEC to compile. We systematically refused; there is no list. The counsel we provide donors and nonprofits is intentionally objective. Furthermore, we conscientiously protect the privacy of our clients.
The firm has grown primarily by word of mouth, and has consistently added clients and expanded its product line to 20+ services to meet new needs. Few others provide the type of services we offer, but the number is growing. Edwards enjoys being a pioneer and serving a diverse client base.