Friday, March 26, 2010
I just read about the 2010 International Femtor Awards. A Femtor is "a wise and trusted woman providing knowledge, inspiration and practical information to other women." I like the idea of a Femtor. Thinking back on my own career and influencers, I think of mostly men. I have been lucky to have had experiences with men who have had my best interests in mind and from whom I could learn. As I get older though, I find myself seeking other women for advice and inspiration. I have had the opportunity to reconnect with former colleagues and women in my community as I investigate establishing a Giving Circle and building a business. My conversations with women are different than I have experienced before. They flow back and forth between personal life and business life. For women, I think this is natural because there is little separation.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Just read an article by Jonathan M, Katz called, "Billions for Haiti, a criticism for every dollar." The article states that the estimated bill for the earthquake in Haiti is $2.2 billion. Americans have gifted over $1 billion with the vast majority ($980 million) coming from private individuals. Aid groups and Haitian officials have admitted to be overwhelmed by the scale. There is a lot of frustration on the part of Haitian officials because they feel they have no control of the money, goods, and services coming in. There is a Post-Quake Donor Conference in New York taking place on March 31. It will be interesting to read about what's been accomplished thus far and what areas are needed. My husband and I purposely chose to wait a bit before giving a donation. We wanted the dust to settle and we wanted to see what organizations are making the best use of funds received. According to the article, "...leaders including Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive are not happy with the way the aid money is being delivered." Further, "Too many people are raising money without any controls, and don't explain what they're doing with it." The U.N. admits that this situation is the most complex humanitarian response they have ever had to deal with. I will track our decision process through this blog. I am waiting on the outcome of the March 30th meeting before taking steps. More to come!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
I just joined the Women's Philanthropy Network which was launched by The Philadelphia Foundation. The purpose of the Network is to help area residents exchange ideas on how to give back to the community more creatively and effectively. I welcome the opportunity to connect with other women interested in philanthropy in the Philadelphia area and am excited about my membership. I am more committed than ever to establish a giving circle in Chestnut Hill for women. The aim is to gather women together and drive the activities of the giving circle based upon their collective interests. I am at the early stages of establishing the giving circle and I am focusing on developing the content for an organizational and introductory meeting. More to come!
Monday, March 8, 2010
Today is International Women's Day. It is a day of global celebration of women. The intention of the day has changed since the first celebration in 1911. But in many regions, the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong. I find it interesting that the day is an official holiday in some countries but not in the United States. This year's theme is "Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all." United Nation's Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, posted a message to mark the day. In closing he said, "The Beijing Declaration remains as relevant today as when it was adopted. The third Millennium Development Goal – to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment – is central to all the rest. When women are denied the opportunity to better themselves and their societies, we all lose. On this International Women’s Day, let us look critically at the achievements of the past 15 years so we can build on what has worked, and correct what has not. Let us work with renewed determination for a future of equal rights, equal opportunities and progress for all." Today I filed the corporate documents for Harp-Weaver. This is an exciting day for me and I am happy that its on a day that marks women's empowerment.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
I just started reading The Art of Giving by Charles Bronfman and Jeffrey Solomon. The purpose of the book is to "show donors and potential donors how to become street-smart, effective philanthropists." This is right up my alley. I loved the tag line - Where the soul meets the business plan. Partially into it, I am still hopeful, but there have been a couple of points stuck in old philanthropy. They describe a nondonor as "she does contribute her time...does so many tasks that keep alive the organizations that hold communities together." According to my definition, this person is in fact a donor. She donates her time, her skills and her resources. They also suggest that a good way to attract young people to an organization is to put them on junior or advisory boards. I don't think Generations X and Y are looking for this type of introduction to the world of nonprofits. I think nonprofits need to tap into social networking - the virtual and the physical - as a way to attract strong young leaders. I think for my generation (X) its about the issue and the organization's ability and effectiveness to address the issue that draws us in and spurs our desire to do more and to give more to an organization. Bronfman and Solomon have tremendous experience in the field and I continue to read with great interest.
Monday, March 1, 2010
I just read HBR article, "Breaking the Least-You-Can-Do Cycle." Dan Pallotta explores the term philanthropist. The popular perception is that of the billionaire donor versus, as Pallotta describes, "the poor bastard who spends 100% of her time serving as the executive director of a homeless charity..." Yes, philanthropy is rooted in its Greek origin - love of humanity. Anyone who cares about some one, some issue, some thing deserves rights to the term. I like this line the best in the article - "But by applying the term "philanthropist" only to the rarified few who make outside donations, we rob the average person of an important aspiration." The article continues to explore how nonprofits treat individual donors by their level of gifting. It is definitely a matter of time and resource management. Mass appeals for the masses, tailored appeals for the major donors. Pallotta calls for a new age of citizen philanthropy and the challenge is on nonprofits to create donor programs that are meaningful even for the smallest donor. I also think the responsibility falls on the donor too. Take a thoughtful approach to spending resources on issues, people and things that you care about.