A non-profit for Prospect Development professionals. 

Tales of Terror: The Prospect Development Edition

Tue, October 23, 2018 7:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Apra-IL presents Tales of Terror: The Prospect Development Edition. Inspired by series such as Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps, this series will present stories that thrill, excite, and chill you to the bone ... just in time for Halloween!

This story is brought to us by Katie Fanning, Senior Analyst, Prospect Research and Amelia Aldred, Lead Analyst at the University of Chicago. Walk with them through this twisting exchange that travels the globe and the bounds of your credulity. 

The Mysterious Advancement of Jacob Harding

Date: September 25, 2010

To: Caitlin Mire

From: Jacob Harding

Subject: Quick Lookup?

Hi Caitlin,

I have a quick turnaround request – I just got a visit with an alum that I think has a lot of potential. Could you do some research on him? His name is Voievode Nicolae Lupei Basarab (see attached business card). I think part of the name might be a title though.

I met his personal assistant (I think? I wasn't clear what the relationship was exactly, but he definitely works for the guy) at the alumni event in Vienna. The PA gave me the business card and said that Voievode Nicolae was sorry he couldn't attend but would like to meet with me if my travel schedule allowed. I let him know that I was going to be in Europe for another week and scheduled a visit while I'm here.

Here are my questions:

-He sent an assistant to meet me and from talking to the PA, it sounds like the alum lives on an estate in the country; – I'm definitely thinking family money. Is there any info on the family/wealth etc?

-It sounds like the alum found out about the event from his network as he wasn't actually on the invite list (I didn't mention that, of course!). Can you tell me what his degree/year/affiliation is?

-Anything else you can find: other philanthropy, etc.

I know this is really last minute but any additional information would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance,


Jacob Harding

Director of International Advancement

Office of Alumni Relations and Development

Carfax University


Date: September 26, 2010

To: Jacob Harding

From: Caitlin Mire

Subject: Re: Quick Lookup?


You’ve got a live one there!

Although I wasn’t able to find much on Mr. Basarab personally, I suspect you’re correct about family money. The Basarab House has been prominent in Romania since the early 1300s when they established the principality of Wallachia. The family actually predates modern Romania by over 500 years.

Voievode looks to be a hereditary title analogous to a crown prince but with a distinctly military bent. The Basarab family has had the right to it since their inception. At some point, the family split into two lines: Dănești and Drăculești. It looks like the Drăculești line lasted a lot longer. Given Mr. Basarab is still using Voievode, I would bet he’s one of their descendants.

Although a hereditary title would be functionally useless in modern Romania (no legal standing), it’s still a good sign for social standing (and wealth!) that he’s able to use it.

I did find some information that there’s a family estate nearish Pitești though there’s conflicting reports as to whether or not it’s even inhabitable. Apparently, the Romanian government has tried (unsuccessfully) to take possession of it on several occasions. Can you confirm the location of your meeting? If he’s in residence, I would bet Mr. Basarab still has some claim.

As for his affiliation, that’s a little unclear. I wasn’t actually able to find a Basarab in the database but those records aren’t great for our older alumni. I ran by the library just in case and I did find a PhD thesis on Ioan de Hunedoara submitted to the history department by a Nicolae Basarab but it was from 1897. Unless Mr. Basarab has the world’s best diet, it’s not him. Probably a relative – Basarab isn’t a super common name. Could be an interesting conversation starter.

It looks like he has some giving (amount unreported) to the ELN Foundation, which supports European leukemia research.

I’d love to hear an update when you get back.

Caitlin Mire

Senior Analyst, Prospect Research

Office of Alumni Relations and Development

Carfax University


Date: September 28, 2010

To: Caitlin Mire

From: Jacob Harding

Subject: Quick Lookup?

Hi Caitlin,

Thank you so much for the quick turnaround! You are a rock star.

I visited Mr. Basarab at his family estate today; it is an actual castle in the Carpathian mountains, surrounded by miles of forest. The castle is beautifully furnished, all antiques including some lovely medieval weapons and tapestries hanging in the hall. I attached a photo of the great hall. Mr. Basarab is posed by the suit of armor but he just shows up as a shadow (he must have moved). I suspect that you are on the right track regarding his family history – I noticed that several of the older paintings had the name Drăculești, including one that was nearly identical to Mr. Basarab. I mentioned the likeness and he laughed.

He seems to live very comfortably and does not appear to have a career outside managing the estate so I suspect that there is still family wealth. I tried to steer the conversation to his experience at the University and get a sense of what years he attended, but he only said that he attended “very long ago.”

I mentioned the PhD thesis you found and asked if he knew of any ancestors who attended the University. He said that history was a family passion and we had long conversation about the history of the area, of which he was very knowledgeable.

I tried to update Mr. Basarab on the University’s current activities but he was apathetic. He was very interested in me: he asked how long I had worked for the University, if I had family in Chicago, when they were expecting me back, etc. It was a little odd, to tell the truth.

Mr. Basarab has invited me to stay for a few days, hopefully I will find out more about his connection to the University and get a better sense of his gift capacity and interests.


Jacob Harding

Director of International Advancement

Office of Alumni Relations and Development

Carfax University


Date: October 1, 2010

From: Liz Wells 

To: Caitlin Mire

Subject: Fwd: Jacob Harding Announcement

Hi Caitlin, got this announcement – forwarding it to you in case you didn't get it. I know you were the liaison for Jake. Apparently, it was really out of the blue (he emailed Johanna from Bucharest and starts his new job immediately). You can put his projects on hold for now, until we get a new International Advancement officer.



Dear Colleagues,

It is with mixed emotions that I announce the departure of Jacob Harding. He has accepted an opportunity to direct the Basarab Family Foundation, headquartered in Romania. Jacob served at the University for five years, during which he worked tirelessly to build up our International Advancement team. We wish Jacob the best of luck on his future endeavors!



Johanna Vanhelm

Vice President of Alumni Relations and Development


Date: June 20, 2018

To: Mindy Murray

From: Lucy West

Subject: Capacity Rating for Nicolae Lupei Basarab?

Hi Mindy,

I was looking over the list you pulled of unengaged alumni in Europe and I wondered if you could do a cap rating for Nicolae Lupei Basarab (Entity ID: 0007846351). I see that some research was done on him several years ago and he was visited but no contact report was entered.

I'm putting together a visit list for my upcoming Europe trip and I plan on doing some qualification visits.

Thanks in advance,


Lucy N. West

Director of International Advancement

Office of Alumni Relations and Development

Carfax University

The End.

Scared Horror GIF


  • Thu, October 25, 2018 11:16 AM | Emily
    Talk about a different type of prospecting...
    Link  •  Reply
  • Tue, October 30, 2018 4:09 PM | E. M. Goodman
    Well done!
    Link  •  Reply

Apra-IL is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. 

332 S Michigan Ave. Suite 1032 #A62, Chicago, IL 60604 | apraillinois@gmail.com

Copyright © 2021 Apra-IL. All rights reserved. 

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software