10 Things I Can't Live Without
Erich Hunker is a 30-year veteran fundraising professional who leads with his heart through his warm personality and willingness to serve individuals or organizations whenever needed. He is this year’s Outstanding Professional Fundraiser and will be recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) at its upcoming National Philanthropy Day celebration in November. Spending the most recent 19 years of his career at his alma mater, Columbus Academy, Erich has achieved an impressive track record of accomplishments, raising more than $65 million in outright philanthropic gifts. Prior to coming home to Columbus and the Academy, he led the fundraising, membership and marketing programs at The Toledo Zoo, earning the Zoo a national reputation as a leader in membership growth and attendance. A self-described “sucker for a great cause,” he and his wife support over 25 non-profits each and every year with their own philanthropy.
1. My wife, Mary, and my family. Mary is a great counter-balance to me: super smart, thinks with her head and not her heart, understated, and only buys the healthy stuff at Kroger.
2. Bob. What About Bob? Bob Ramin is my best friend and a superb fundraiser who lives in DC. Though we only see each other a handful of times each year, we talk a couple of times every week.
3. Memories of those gone but never forgotten: I don’t want to live without memories of special people in my life like my dad or our dear friend Kelli who I hired at The Toledo Zoo and passed away in 2016 from life-long bouts with cancer.
4. The Academy Experience. Having been fortunate to attend high school at Columbus Academy, I was able to experience a community of teachers, coaches and classmates who were interested in me and believed in me and my abilities.It is an honor to work for the institution today that changed the trajectory of my life some 40 years ago.
5. Family Vacations: Getting time away from the everyday to experience new places and parts of the world is something we try to do as much as we can as a family.
6. My Wild Side: From a childhood avocation to spending part of my vocational life at two of them (and meeting Mary at The Baltimore Zoo), I love zoos.
7. A Good Walk Spoiled: It has been said golf is a good walk spoiled. What I’ve discovered about my favorite pastime is how the fun ends up being more about who you are with than the game itself.
8. The greatest of all time. My mom's family's 4th generation "Famous Double Chocolate Birthday Cake" is the greatest cake of all time.
9. Suspenders: Belts - simply put I don’t like the feeling of a belt around my waist!
10. Cameron’s restaurants. Cameron's American Bistro, Ocean Club, The Guild House, Hudson 29 – just a few of my favorite Cameron Mitchell restaurants. I’m thinking about the walleye at Cam’s Bistro right now...