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, May 25, 2010

The Definition of Philanthropy

I was reading an article by H. Peter Karoff who is the founder of The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI). Check out www.tpi.org for more information on this organization which has been working with families and corporations working to realize deep social impact for 20 years. This specific article is called "The Long Distance Call". The reason why I am writing about the article is that Mr. Karoff includes a great definition of philanthropy that I would like to share. The author of this definition is Peter Goldmark, former President of The Rockefeller Foundation. His definition is as follows: "Philanthropy is the practice of applying the assets of knowledge, passion, and wealth to bring about constructive change."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Online Grantmaking

There are a number of service and software providers out there that I have been researching which support grantmaking. I believe the ideal way to go is online. For so many years online grantmaking was only available for larger foundations. This is no longer the case. There is no reason why a small foundation can't go completelty paperless. Two technologies stand out - Foundant and Common Grant Application. Both provide online grantmaking services for every step of the process including Letter of Intent, Application, Review, Grant Agreement and Project Evaluation. With online grantmaking, the decision process can be streamlined. These services offer rating and ranking systems for evaluators and board members. Some foundations worry that an online grants management process could be cumbersome for the grantee organizations. Grantseekers know that this is the future of submitting proposals and they have to figure out a way to represent themselves via an online environment. While there is less flexibility when answering questions, there is also a parallel movement to encourage grantmakers to get out there and meet people and visit the organizations which seek support. Check out www.foundant.com and www.commongrantapplication.com for more information.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Seeking Support from Women

After working for the same firm for 15 years, I am now experimenting on my own following the birth of our third child. It has been a great journey thus far and one that keeps guiding me towards women. Lately I have been thinking about the female influences on my career. When I was doing philanthropy work at SEI, I worked for a very strong-willed and smart woman. I learned a lot working for her and in thinking about the relationship we complimented each other really well. There have been other women, a generation older than me, who have also influenced me. These women broke down barriers - from wearing pants suits to performing successfully in roles typically held by men. My thoughts lead me to other moms in my community and in my circle. These are professional women who have figured out a way to stay engaged while being the main caregiver to children. My thoughts also lead me to my women friends who do not have children. I love their commitment to their work and to their personal relationships. I am drawn to their passion. In the Catholic faith, May is the month to honor Mary. We honor all mothers and mother figures on Mother's Day in May. May is also National Women's Health Care Month. We have all of these reasons to celebrate women, yet why do so many women feel invisible? The support is out there for the taking and the seeking. We need to remind ourselves of this every day.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Our Gift for Haiti

My husband and I made the decision to wait to make a more substantial contribution in support of post-earthquake Haiti. After a lot of reading and research, we've made the decision to support Partners In Health (PIH). PIH have been active in Haiti since 1985. Their model of care is working in the local communities to combat disease and poverty. At the time of the earthquake, PIH was operating 12 hospitals and employing over 4,000 people in Haiti. They were and continue to be uniquely qualified to provide much needed healthcare. Their ultimate goal is to work with local partners to rebuild Haiti's health and medical systems. We made the decision to give an unrestricted gift because we believe in the leadership and work of PIH. They are best to decide how funds raised are best deployed. For more information check out http://www.standwithhaiti.org/haiti. PIH is doing some great work in other emerging countries as well.