harp-weaver is an independent philanthropic advisory firm based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Teresa Araco Rodgers, the principal, works with individuals and families to gift to issues that matter in a meaningful way.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

International Corporate Philanthropy Day: February 23, 2010

Yesterday was International Corporate Philanthropy Day and the United Nations Economic and Social Council chose it to focus on women's rights and equality amongst women and men. Fundamental to this are two key areas - expanding economic opportunity and ending violence against women. The corporate and philanthropic sectors were urged to promote women at all levels. Sarah Ferguson announced a new initiative called "the Mother's Army" to "harnass the collective power of mothers to enable girls to dare to dream." What a wonderful thought which really resonates with me as a mother to two girls. Its by our example that girls will learn to lead and dream. We need to take care of our own wellbeing in addition to our children's. Supporting programs that support this message, this call to action, is critical.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Giving Circles

I just read an article about the Women's Giving Circle of Howard County. The Circle is an electronic fundraising mechanism which operates via email to 1,000 women and asks them to give what they can when a request comes along. They focus on helping women overcome dire situations. Since 2003 they have helped over 37 women and their children through gifts totaling $25,500. This is a wonderful way for individuals to practice philanthropy and get connected to others. Sometimes charitable gifting can feel detached. You ask yourself, "Who am I helping?" In this way you can choose when, how much and for whom. The requests are personal. While the grants do not solve the fundamental problems causing the situations, one-time emergency needs are met in a way that "democratizes" philanthropy.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Social Entrepreneurship Revisited

Stanford Social Innovation Review came out with their 5 most read articles of the year. One of the articles chosen stuck with me when I originally read it. Social Entrepreneurship Revisited Not just anyone, anywhere, in any organization can make breakthrough change explores Paul C. Light's evolving definition and understanding of social entrepreneurialism.


The crux of the article is Light's revelation to "identify potential social entrepreneurs, give them the training and support they need, and increase the odds that their work will succeed." Social entrepreneurs do not stumble upon the work. It is a conscious choice to engage to solve a social issue. They do not act alone. Networks of support are critical to the work of social entrepreneurs. They are in the business of change. Its that concept of change - something else will work better or something else will resolve - that interests me. Cultivating and harnassing new ideas to stimulate change! That change can be big or small.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More Strategic Philanthropy

The Foundation Center expects 2009 will show a 10% drop in foundation giving. The headline associated with this reads, "...philanthropy to become more strategic as a result." Strategic means establishing clear gifting goals on focused areas. It also means establishing a framework to help achieve the goals. This is advice any indidividual or organization engaged in grantmaking should follow. The current and cumulative economic climate has lead people to think more about impact. Bigger grants do not equal a bigger impact. Its about finding the right organization and gifting the right size grant. To achieve this is time-consuming and often difficult for individuals.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Women's Campaign International

The other week I reconnected with a fantastic organization - Women's Campaign International (WCI). Check out www.womenscampaigninternational.org. WCI is located in West Philadelphia. Since 1998 WCI has increased the number of women elected into office around the world by providing them with leadership skills, advocacy training and technical assistance. WCI has worked in more than 20 countries worldwide. They are about to kick-off a new program locally for high school aged girls called GALS. The goal of the program is to increase participants' skills in community leadership and activism, global awareness, advocacy, social media, financial literacy, public speaking and networking. They have partnered with the Freire Charter School. If you are looking for a strong, women-focused, women-lead organization then this is something to check-out.