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Maurice G. Gurin Papers

Identifier: MSS034

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of the personal papers of Maurice G. Gurin and the records of his fund raising firm.

The History Files, 1949-1990, contain biographical information on Gurin as well as biographical information on some partners and staff members of his firms, master plans for Gurin & Bowen, client lists, news clippings, news releases, and newsletters.

The Correspondence Files, 1964-1969, contain correspondence between Gurin and individuals who were not clients. These files give an understanding of his opinions about the field.

The Writings Files, 1962-1990, contain Gurin’s articles and speeches on various aspects of philanthropy and fund raising, book reviews, and published letters to editors.

The Client Files, 1958-1989, that compose the majority of the papers, contain client brochures created by Gurin and his colleagues for various campaigns and campaign feasibility studies. Evident in many of the brochures is the Gurin style of “humanizing” or using a human face and story to add emotional impact such as the United Cerebral Palsy Association brochure that was Gurin’s entry into the fund raising profession. Prepared as a preliminary step to an actual campaign, the feasibility studies include fund raising surveys reviewing an institution’s financial statements, audit reports, analyzations of previous giving records, and statistical data. A questionnaire was created to seek out data about its case/institution’s objectives, leadership, and prospects. Logical interviewees were targeted, the survey administered, and the results were analyzed to provide recommendations to the client including the amount that could reasonably be expected to be raised, the budget of the campaign, the campaign’s time schedule, the campaign’s organizational chart, the table of gifts or estimate of the size and number of gifts likely required to meet the goal, sources of support, gift opportunities, and campaign literature. The Museum of Modern Art and the New York Philharmonic Records are good examples in understanding Gurin’s methodology.


  • 1945 - 1990


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

1. Feasibility studies and other unpublished client records are subject to the following restrictions on their use: a. records ten years old or less may be used by researchers only with the written permission of the donor; b. records that are more than ten years old and less than thirty years old may be used by researchers, but may not be copied, either by hand or by machine, without the permission of the donor; c. records more than thirty years old are open to research without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

The donor retains the copyright, but permits researchers to copy and quote from unpublished writings, except as limited in Restriction #1a and 1b as noted in the Conditions Governing Access note.

Biographical / Historical

Maurice Gilbert Gurin was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1911 to Adolph and Rena Gilberg Gurin. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 1933 he worked as a reporter and rewriter for the Philadelphia Record Newspaper from 1934-1938. During 1938 and 1939, Gurin worked as a freelance public relations consultant and from 1939 to 1941 was the executive director of Phi Epsilon Pi, a national college fraternity in Philadelphia. Gurin served as a Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Air Corps, in the European Theater of Operations during World War II and was awarded the Bronze Star. From 1945-1949 Gurin was executive vice president of the public relations firm of Leonard V. Finder and Associated in New York City. In 1949 he founded Maurice G. Gurin Associated, a public relations firm serving commercial and nonprofit organizations, which he directed until 1959.

Feeling that his career in public relations was not providing the emotional satisfaction or financial recompense he needed, Gurin entered the field of philanthropic fund raising when he was asked to write a brochure for the United Cerebral Palsy Association. Because of his inexperience, Gurin broke one of the major fund raising taboos of the time, namely, that the sufferers of a disease and/or recipients of the charity should never be identified or pictured. The brochure created by Gurin featured a picture of Emik Avakian, a man with cerebral palsy who, since he could not use his hands, had invented a typewriter that could be operated by breathing. The brochure was a success and Gurin’s career in fund raising was launched.

On February 2, 1959, with Lewis H. Bowen, then vice president of Kersting-Brown Firm, Gurin founded Bowen & Gurin, Inc. By 1966 it became evident to both Gurin and Bowen that the firm would benefit by including a third partner. Robert Barnes, who had been with the firm since 1960, was chosen and the firm’s name was changed to Bowen & Gurin & Barnes, Inc. In 1968 Barnes suggested hiring Robert P. Roche, who had just finished a capital campaign for the University of Pennsylvania raising $103 million. The firm’s name became Bowen, Gurin, Barnes & Roche, Inc. and Roche opened an office Philadelphia. In 1969 Edmund A. Carlson, a former vice president for development for Loyola University and Marymount College in Los Angeles, was invited to become a full partner and he opened an office in Los Angeles. Again the firm’s name was changed to include the new partner’s name. As consultants mainly in capital campaigns, the firm counseled such organizations as the Museum of Modern Art, New York Philharmonic, Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Opera, the Asia Society, Council on Foreign Relations, Teachers College of Columbia University, and more than 25 voluntary health agencies. By 1969 as a result of the additions to the firm and the opening of new offices, the firm had an average of 50 clients a year and a gross annual income in excess of $400,000.

In the two years that followed, however, the firm began its dissolution. Bowen left to join Brakeley, John Price Jones as a senior vice president. Soon after, Carlson left the firm and the Los Angeles office was closed. Finally it was decided that Barnes and Roche would continue to serve the clients of the Philadelphia office and Gurin would maintain the New York office. By 1972, after what Gurin described as “a 14-year immersion in the hectic business of building a nationwide counseling firm by the accretion of partners,” Gurin was again operating as president of his solely owned firm, the Gurin Group, which he directed until 1986, retiring shortly thereafter. (Gurin, p. 64)

Gurin was progressive in his field and listed among his “fund raising firsts” that he was president of the first firm belonging to the American Association of Fund Raising Counsel (AAFRC) to give up resident campaign management and to provide only campaign counseling. His firm publicly departed from the “rule of thirds,” a formula used in constructing a capital campaign that offered a standard norm of 10 donors accounting for the first third of a campaign goal, about 100 donors making up the second third, and all other donors contributing the final third of the goal. Gurin espoused the “specific situation formula” in its place, feeling that the giving prospects of any campaign rested in the individual organizations’ potential donor base. Gurin was also proud of being a part of the first fund raising firm to have a woman serve as a consultant to clients.

Gurin served on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Fund Raising Counsel, Inc., as the Director of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives (NSFRE), and as President of the Greater New York Chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. He was the author of What Volunteers Should Know for Successful Fund Raising (1981), Confessions of a Fund Raiser: Lessons of an Instructive Career (1985), and Advancing Beyond the Techniques in Fund Raising (1991).

Maurice Gurin died on December 1, 1990.


1.8 Cubic Feet (1 record carton and 2 document cases)


Maurice Gilbert Gurin (1911-1990), was nearly 50 years old in 1959 when he made the career change from public relations to fund raising. Gurin incorporated new and innovative fund raising methods with more traditional techniques and in only 12 years rose from free-lancer fund raising to president of a fund raising firm with offices in New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. He continued over the next 30 years to seek creative new answers to old questions, using imaginative new approaches to fund raising focused on individual client needs and making the fund raising plan fit the client rather than the client fit the fund raising plan.

The papers consist of correspondence, speeches, published materials, client feasibility studies, and client files.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented by Maurice G. Gurin, June 20, 1990, A90-95.


  • Gurin, Maurice G., Confessions of a Fund Raiser: Lessons of an Instructive Career, Washington, D.C. : Taft Group, 1985.
  • Who’s Who in the East, 23rd Edition, New Providence, NJ: Marquis Who’s Who, 1991
  • Philanthropy: A History of Fund Raising, Indiana University Oral History Research Center, Interviews with Maurice Gurin, 1987, 1988, Bloomington, IN:Indiana University Oral History Research Center, 1987, 1988


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Maurice G. Gurin Papers, 1945-1990
Brenda L. Burk and Barbara J. Mondary.
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Repository Details

Part of the Philanthropic Studies Archives Repository

IUPUI University Library
755 W. Michigan St.
Room 0133
Indianapolis IN 46202 USA