Longtime class fund director relishes relationships made with Grinnellians

Mar. 19, 2019 — Daniel Baskes ’87 looks forward to getting Phonathon calls from Grinnell College students because it gives him a chance to get to know some of today’s students.

When he was a student in the mid-1980s, Baskes worked for Phonathon, where student callers build relationships and raise money for Grinnell.

“I always had great conversations and heard interesting stories when calling alumni,” Baskes says. “Once I graduated, I started getting those calls and got to meet the students who were calling me. We developed some great relationships on some of those calls.”

Baskes is a transactional real estate lawyer with an office in Chicago. He helps clients buy, sell, lease, and finance commercial and residential properties nationwide. He also considers himself a semi-professional volunteer, having served the College as a class fund director for the past 31 years. He also is a trustee on the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School Board, and board member and current president of the Camp Thunderbird Charitable Foundation, which helps raise money to send underserved children to summer camps.

“One of the nice things about being a CFD is getting to know my classmates better over time,” Baskes says. “You get to stay involved and in touch with people. “When I come to reunions, I always have a great time interacting with so many more people than I knew from my time as a student.”

Baskes first came to Grinnell to visit his older brother, Jeremy Baskes ’83. He knew he didn’t want to attend a large school and his parents were happy with the education his brother received.

“It was really a combination of personal fit and my brother’s experience that brought me here,” Baskes says.

Baskes, who was a history major at Grinnell, has made a gift to the College every year since he graduated. He also has employed alums at his law practice.

He says he continue to be blown away by the type of person that chooses Grinnell and the graduates the College produces. “The school is still doing a great job cultivating the Grinnell experience,” he says. “The students have evolved and gotten more diligent academically, but I still find that they care about the world.”

For alums who haven’t had a chance to take on volunteer roles at the College, Baskes encourages them to try it. Beyond helping current and future students, giving back is its own reward, and the relationships with students and other alumni make it all worthwhile.

“In some ways my continued fondness comes from looking back at young adulthood to a place that meant a lot to me, and that makes me want to give back,” Baskes says. “It was a safe environment to grow up in and make some mistakes, and I want other students to have that chance.”

—by Jeremy Shapiro & Jim Asplund ’88, Alumni Council Member

For your information:

To learn more about being a Class Fund Director at Grinnell, visit the CFD Web page or contact Mary Zug, assistant director of annual giving, at zugmary1@grinnell.edu or 641-269-4554.

To read more alumni news, check out our news archive.