Transformation Through Virtous Philanthropy

Mission: To inspire generations to abundantly fulfill their wealth legacy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Charicteristics of Virtuous Philanthropists, Week 5

Living Their Passion 

Each day you find virtuous philanthropists advocating for their causes and inviting others to join them in the experience. There is enthusiasm and determination in their attitude and aptitude to find creative ways to inspire others to follow their lead. They are nurturing to others and disciplined in carrying out the mission of their philanthropic biography. Their positive energy is like a magnet, attracting others to give gratitude for blessings received and the quality of life they work to sustain. They bring vision and virtue to each decision, which is reflected in their actions for a more compassionate world.

When Florida Cultural Alliance president Sherron Long talks about philanthropy, she means living her entire life working for and supporting her passion for the transformative power of the arts and art education experiences on individual lives, communities, and schools. 

Her goal in high school was to study marine biology because she loved the ocean and wanted to sail the seas with Jaques Cousteau. But in 1967, she went on a humanities trip to New York City with her Duval County, Fla. senior class where they saw the musical Man of La Mancha. She remembers how moving the production was and watching her classmates at the end of the performance crying and be deeply touched by what they experienced in the theater.  She thought to herself, if something can move people that much, in that short period of time, that's what I want to major in.

Long went on to get an undergraduate degree in theater, went back to get her MFA in theater directing, and taught in high school and college. Eventually she went to work for the Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs, where she got involved with the political process and learned how important government partnerships were to sustain cultural organizaitons and artists.

She realized how critical advocacy was to the arts and worked to ensure that not only did the arts have a voice in state government, but that government understands its role to help sustain policies and funding for the continued development of diverse and quality arts, arts education, and cultural resources throughout the state. By creating stronger partnerships with both the public and private sectors to sustain and advance cultural resources, greater access to the arts and cultural experiences are possible not only for the children, but for everyone. Says Long: 

Those of us who work in the not-for-profit world certainly understand the importance and appreciate the philanthropic monetary gifts of others to help sustain the vital work our organizations do. Many of us would like to be in stronger financial positions to also turn around and make major monetary contributions to organizations and causes we believe are critical; however, many of us earn modest amounts and can only make modest monetary contributions to the causes we believe in. I can, however, give enthusiastically of my knowledge and time and devote my entire professional life in ways I know are going to help support a creative industry that enriches people's lives and connects them in meaningful ways through arts and cultural experiences. It is my way of giving back to the community.

For more, read "Women, Wealth & Giving: The Virtous Legacy of the Boom Generation" by Margaret May Damen and Niki Nicastro McCuistion.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Charicteristics of Virtuous Philanthropists, Week 4

Belief in Their Dreams

Virtuous philanthropists have an unshakable faith in their ability and in the capacity of others to achieve and sustain the goals they want their philanthropy to achieve. Their vision is long term, and considers that what is started by one generation may need to be completed by another. They see their life story as an inspiration for others and a legacy of significance for family, friends, and the community. These women bring harmony and balance to their lives and to the lives of others, one person at a time.

Beverly Holmes, former senior vice president fr Retirement Services at MassMutual Financial Group, now chair of the Center for Women's Business Research and a member of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, not only believes in her dreams, she has seen them come true during her life.

At a very early age she made a conscious decision that philanthropy would be a part of her life. "I wanted to save women and children from all of the atrocities going on in the world that negatively affect their live, and I still believe I can make a difference," says Holmes.

Soon after graduating from college and finding that employment opportunities in the nonprofit sector were great but the pay was not, she turned instead to pursue a career in the financial service industry, since her undergraduate degree was in human resources with a special interest in finance.

That was 30 years ago. From then to now, as Holmes has been a successful leader adding billions in assets, and new revenue, and profits to her company, she always held very dear her focus and attention on the nonprofit and education sectors, especially areas that impact women and children. Says Holmes:

It was a conscious decision on my part that giving back was something that I would do the rest of my life, once I met my financial goals. From my perspective, I knew I had to be financially secure to spend the kind of time that I wanted to spend helping people nationally and internationally. I knew I could make my dream come true.

Holmes established a scholarship for young women at Bay Path College in Longmeadow, Mass., specifically for women who have little in the way of money to obtain a college education.

"I was particular to emphasize the field of study would be in finance and at the same time have a human service element."

"For me to know," Holmes says, "that this scholarship will live on after I am gone gives me a wonderful feeling of joy. I am hopeful that it will have tremendous impact in the lives of women who get to complete their degree and that they too will go on to give back to their community and make a difference in the world."

For more, read "Women, Wealth & Giving: The Virtous Legacy of the Boom Generation" by Margaret May Damen and Niki Nicastro McCuistion.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November E-News

Just a note to let you know the November edition of my e-newsletter is now available for your reading pleasure. In this edition, you'll find information pertaining to women and philanthropy. Visit the "News" page on my website for the latest updates and e-newsletter archive.

If you didn't receive the e-newsletter in your e-mail inbox, be sure to subscribe by clicking on the link "Join the mailing list," at the top right of my website, Margaret-May.com.

Thank you!

Margaret May

Monday, November 8, 2010

Characteristics of Virtuous Philanthropists, Week 3

Consistent in Their Values

The investments that virtuous philanthropists make through their wealth, wisdom, and work reflect personal beliefs as well as values they feel strongly will create a more just and humane community. The entries in their checkbook registers reflect the issues they support. The money in their investment portfolios is allocated to the corporate and social institutions that practice responsible corporate citizenship in their conduct of business. Volunteer time is specific and focused on the causes that they have identified as important and that reinforce their shared family and community values and the giving of their other resources of money and talent.

Business owner and entrepreneur Jody Potts Bond gives us another example of how she puts the principles to work on a daily basis. Bond tells us that she has been blessed with a wonderful family. It is always a joy to visit her jewelry store, Just Gold in Stuart, Fla., where on many occasions a contented grandchild sits happily in a playpen while mother and grandmother attend to customers.

As a community activist, Bond believes in family values and in the economic vitality of a community fostered by a good education system. A former school board member and past president of the Soroptimist International of Stuart, she grew up in a loving family where "we always looked out for each other, worked hard, and encouraged each other to do our best at home and in school." For Bond, family, education, and community were and still are her most cherished values.

"I prefer that my money help families. I think more than anything about family issues, whether they are domestic problems or children's issues, that's where my first allegiance lies," she says. "These are values I hope my daughters and grandchildren will inherit from me as we work side by side in the business. I want them to take an active part in making the business decisions of where we volunteer our time or give financial support in the community."

When it comes to her philanthropy, Bond is very focused and direct and purposeful.

"If I think there's a real need out there, I research it; I go over it; and I decide what I want to do about it. Do I want to give it my time? Do I want to write them a check? Do I want to give them material goods? I have to determine if there's a real value, a real need. I primarily only give to local charities, because I want to make sure those dollars go to the individuals or the entity that needs it. And I am the first to recognize that when you do it, you feel good about yourself, you feel good that you can share with another person, that you can help someone that needs help."

For more, read "Women, Wealth & Giving: The Virtous Legacy of the Boom Generation" by Margaret May Damen and Niki Nicastro McCuistion.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Characteristics of Virtuous Philanthropists, Week 2

Confident in Their Decisions 
 
Every day, virtuous philanthropists reinforce their commitment to the issues and concerns they support by not allowing adversity to drag them down. These perennial optimists lead others through uncharted territory in search of lasting solutions to systematic problems confronting the well being of their world. They remain restless until their goal is met and exceeded. They remain responsible for their actions and yet open to working with others, and are both leaders and followers for the same cause, knowing and respecting all diversity of thought and individualism.

Such an example of a confident, virtuous philanthropist is Margaret Smith, CEO of Dormus, one of the San Francisco Bay area’s largest independently owned kitchen and home accessories stores.

In 2000, she was honored by the Women’s Hall of Fame, which recognized her work as a past president of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and for her work in 1995-96 negotiating a $1 billion loan program for entrepreneurs with Wells Fargo Bank. Smith is the immediate past chair of the Center for Women’s Business Research.

As an entrepreneur, she herself has been generous with her time and talent and money for more than 30 years. Much of her volunteer leadership work is for the benefit of entrepreneurs worldwide.

“My volunteerism at the center is more cause-based. I really believe in the causes of women entrepreneurs and in the validation of the social, economic, and political impact they are making on the world and the world economy.”

One of the concerns Smith has championed for several years is how to build positive messages and focus on solutions built on what is right, not what is wrong, in our world.

“People still want to make a difference, they still want to volunteer, and they still want to adjust or address social issues. We’re just focusing on what is wrong rather than celebrating what is right and moving forward with it. Women entrepreneurship, that is right. There’s a whole culture of financially independent, thinking people who have inculcated special values into the workforce. It’s a $4 trillion business. That’s what’s right. So let’s encourage this right and move forward.”

For more, read "Women, Wealth & Giving: The Virtous Legacy of the Boom Generation" by Margaret May Damen and Niki Nicastro McCuistion.