The field of philanthropy lost one of its most remarkable leaders last month. So did the fields of conservation and environmental protection, those committed to racial and economic justice, children and families, and the people of South Carolina. And all was lost in the person of one small yet extraordinary woman, Anne Springs Close.
The last opportunity I had to interview Mrs. Close was an evening program for the Southeastern Council of Foundations. At one point, she casually likened something to a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro. When I stopped her— realizing she was talking about mountain climbing in her late 70s—she acted as if this were no great feat. This prompted me to tease her and ask the audience how many of them had climbed Mount Kilimanjaro at any age. Of course, not a hand was raised. (Her third and final climb up that mountain was made at age 78!) She made her final pack trip at age 92. And did I mention that she did all this while legally blind?National Center for Family Philanthropy