Few fundraising professionals aided more nonprofit causes over a longer period than Finley R. Greene Jr., a gentleman's gentleman who deftly worked telephones and meeting rooms to secure millions for organizations as diverse as the Gow School, King Urban Life Center and Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute.
Modest by nature, Mr. Greene, who died Tuesday in Erie County Medical Center at age 66, preferred to stay in the background and defer credit. A newspaper photograph of him reading with two children at the King Center in 2002 offered the only public glimpse of the man who guided the $5 million conversion of St. Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church into an East Side education hub.
"He was more of a networker than anybody I ever met -- a genuinely wonderful guy who made everyone he touched feel special," remarked Gayle Hutton, development director of Gow, the renowned school for dyslexic boys in South Wales.
Mr. Greene, who had been development director there in the 1980s and a consultant in the late 1990s, helped launch Gow's $16 million capital campaign. He "excelled at what he did because he liked people and enjoyed putting them together with causes he believed in," said Hutton, who saw the drive through to its conclusion.
Mr. Greene "found ways to make giving easier for donors who were caught between two organizations. He made it all work for both organization and donor," said Constance S. Constantine, a former chairwoman of the Hauptman-Woodward board.
Born in Buffalo, Mr. Greene graduated from Nichols School and received his bachelor's degree from Randolph Macon College.
He was founder, president and chief executive officer of Finley R. Greene Advertising, which from 1966 to 1982 handled advertising, public relations and marketing for 25 clients and achieved annual billings of $2.5 million.
Mr. Greene was a development and public affairs consultant to Buffalo General Hospital in the early 1980s, and for a time after holding the Gow development post was a vice president of both the Healy-Schutte advertising and public relations firm and RJI Advertising, Reeds Jewelers' in-house ad agency.
He was a vice president of Reeds from 1986 to 1990, and over the next eight years worked successively as vice president of the Northeast Communications Achievement Center at St. Mary's School for the Deaf and as development and public relations director of the Salvation Army and Buffalo Museum of Science.
After joining Hauptman-Woodward as vice president of development and communications in 1998, Mr. Greene increased the internationally recognized institute's annual fundraising total from $250,000 to more than $1.2 million and helped manage the capital campaign for its $24 million laboratory and office complex on Ellicott Street, which opened in 2005.
He left Hauptman-Woodward for the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, where he was vice president of philanthropic services in 2006-07.
Mr. Greene was president of the Buffalo Zoological Society from 1972 to 1981, King Center from 1986 to 2003 and Cornell Cooperative Extension from 1996 to 2000.
At various times he was on the boards of Community Music School, Elmwood Franklin School, the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Western New York Chapter, Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society and Grosvenor Society of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library.
Survivors include two sons, F. Robert III and Cutler S.; two brothers, Christopher T. and James W. II; and a sister, Constance G. James.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Monday in Trinity Episcopal Church, 371 Delaware Ave.
-- Tom Buckham