Transformation Through Virtous Philanthropy

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Philanthropy: Big, Bold and Beautiful Giving

Big, Bold and Beautiful: the three new B's in philanthropy
“To give away money is an easy matter and in anyone’s power. 
But to decide whom to give it and how large and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every person’s power- nor an easy matter.
Hence it is that such excellence is rare, praiseworthy and noble.” 
– Aristotle 

“Big, Bold, Beautiful” are the three new B’s in philanthropy. And one can participate in many ways. The rich and famous, such as Paul Allen, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet and David Rockefeller (and the rich and soon-to-be famous for their generosity) are getting on board through “The Giving Pledge.” It’s a moral commitment to give the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice during their lifetime or after their death. To date, more than 68 billionaires have taken the pledge to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Such a statement is bold in concept and will be even bolder in execution.

In June, The Chronicle of Philanthropy ran a story by Maria Di Mento announcing that more than 60 of the nation’s largest foundations, including Robert Wood Johnson, General Mills and the Wallace Foundation, have signed “Philanthropy’s Promise” a pledge sponsored by the National Committee for Responsible Philanthropy to channel a majority of their grant money to needy people as well as advocacy efforts to encourage citizens to get involved in their communities. Coming to a meeting of the minds among large foundations will be a big win for such under-served communities such as women and girls and economically disadvantaged minority groups.

So what about Beautiful? Last year, I met an extraordinary individual, Jason Franklin. We were both in Philadelphia to participate in Tracy Gary’s Inspired Legacies workshop. We both were celebrating milestones in our lives. John Wiley and Sons, New York had recently published my book, Women, Wealth and Giving: The Virtuous Legacy of the Boom Generation that I co-authored with Niki Nicastro McCuistion and Jason had just been appointed as the executive director of Bolder Giving. In addition to deep discussion at the workshop, we all took time out to follow Jason and practice our singing – and as you can hear on the video, we all decided to keep our day jobs!

At the Inspired Legacies workshop, Jason announced that Bolder Giving had received a challenge grant from the Gates Foundation (BIG!). A year later, this July 14, Jason announced Bolder Giving met and exceeded the challenge and Bolder Giving took a “huge leap forward toward our dream of transforming the culture of philanthropy.” Bolder Giving does this by developing partnerships to share the message of giving to millions of people (ordinary citizens with perhaps more to give in time and talent than treasure, but willing to stretch their treasure in a bolder way.) How beautiful is this!?!

It seems to me there is a convergence of “Big, Bold and Beautiful” happening in philanthropy and the time is right for societal giving of time, talent and treasure (see Kelly Beard’s blog post, below) to excel in excellence so that rare, praiseworthy and noble philanthropy is a way of life for everybody.

Read more about how you can be a "Big, Bold and Beautiful" philanthropist in "Women, Wealth and Giving: The Virtuous Legacy of the Boom Generation," or visit www.margaret-may.com.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Volunteers: worth their weight in gold

Kelly Bruce Beard
By Guest Blogger Kelly Bruce Beard

The beautiful thing about philanthropy is that it comes in all shapes and sizes. You don't have to be a multimillion dollar donor to make a big impact. Your community, or organization of choice, will be forever grateful if you volunteer your time or talent - which are "treasures" in and of themselves.

I had to chuckle to myself during a recent volunteer project when an older woman standing next to me said to the group, "How did we get someone under 20 to volunteer?" Being the youngest in the room, I knew she was referring to me - and was quite flattered she thought I was under 20! (That new face cream must be working!) I quickly introduced myself, surprised our paths hadn't crossed since I had been volunteering quite actively for the organization for close to two years.

Nevertheless, it was surprising to me that a volunteer "stereotype" still existed in my small town. I had been raving to my family and friends about how charity- and volunteer-driven the young people in my community are. But for many, the word "volunteer" still brings to mind retirees and rich housewives.

I can confidently say that stereotype is changing. I am so proud to be surrounded by volunteers of all ages while helping out a number of organizations. One of the main reasons is the community service hours assigned to local high school teens - required for graduation at many schools. It's also a prerequisite on most college applications these days. And while it may be required at first, volunteerism is fostering a group of caring, community-oriented, dedicated young adults. And I believe most of these teens will continue to serve their communities wherever the future takes them. (And I am thrilled to think of them as tomorrow's leaders and our country's future).

I might not have grown up with a community service quota, but I still find myself deeply involved in my community. For me, volunteering stems from a desire to help others and create a brighter future for the next generation. I'm newly married, the owner of a "fixer upper" (our first home) and a small business owner, so I don't have a lot of money to give. Volunteering is the natural choice for me, and I am constantly rewarded with smiling faces and the satisfaction of seeing the events that I helped coordinate become a success.

In the end, volunteers do raise money and offset costs, a true treasure for budget-strapped communities and not-for-profit organizations everywhere.

Learn more about how you can make the most of your donation of time, talent and treasure in "Women, Wealth and Giving: The Virtuous Legacy of the Boom Generation," or visit www.margaret-may.com.  

Kelly Beard is the owner of New Growth Media, LLC. Visit her website at NGMedia.biz to learn more.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Empowerment, Part 2

Empowerment is visioning. It is taking responsibility for your actions and controlling your future. Empowerment allows you to draw on your knowledge, combine it with your experience and your values, and act from an internal locus of motivation, acting with strength and taking initiative. It traditionally has not been the strength of women, who too often turned over their power to others.

As activist Petra Kelly reminds us, "We must work from our own values and elevate their influence to those of men. There is a saying, 'where power is, women are not.' Women must be willing to be powerful. Because we bear scars from the ways men have used their power... women often want no part of power."

We believe it is the patriarchic definition of power as authority and control that women want no part of, rather than power itself. Women do see power as a way to achieve their goals, and part of the destiny for boom-generation women is to redefine power using their values, which include nurturing and egalitarianism.

The foundation for empowerment is abundance, the wealth we recognize from within our soul as the energy we celebrate by our words, actions, and deeds.

Daniel H. Pink in his book, A Whole New Mind, says, "Abundance has brought beautiful things to our lives, but that bevy of material goods has not necessarily made us much happier. That's why more people - liberated by prosperity, but not fulfilled by it - are resolving the paradox by searching for meaning." Pink reminds us that "as more of us lead lives of abundance we'll have a greater opportunity to pursue lives of meaning."

Hundreds of millions of people all over the world no longer have to struggle for survival. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert William Fogel writes, this has "made it possible to extend the quest for self-realization from a minute fraction to almost the whole of it."

Most especially for boomer women, as they empower themselves and others to fully realize their vision for a better world, the acquisition of material abundance accelerates  their need and heightens their desire for self-realization and meaning in their life.

In a recent management certification class, counselor and career coach, Dr. Sherry Bluffington, author of The Law of Abundance emphasized, "Ultimately, it is happiness, contentment and a deep sense of satisfaction that are the true measures of abundance."

And unless we own the responsibility of empowerment for ourselves and fulfill it through meaning, philanthropy and our virtuous legacy for our communities suffer.

Read more about empowerment in "Women, Wealth and Giving: The Virtuous Legacy of the Boom Generation," or visit www.margaret-may.com.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Empowerment, Part 1

All life is an expression of a single spiritual unity. We can no longer afford false divisions between work and community, between ethics and economics. But how can we change from a system which values endless increasing profit and materialism, to one in which the core values are community, caring for the environment, creating, and growing things and personal development?
The answer: We empower people.
~ Dame Anita Roddick (1942-2007)

Give yourself power
Empowerment is something you give yourself, not something you get from someone else. And it is not a zero-sum process, where one person's gain is balanced by another person's loss. Rather, it is the dynamism and intensity that a woman uses to bring focus and clarity to how her values connect to the philanthropic issues she defines as important in her life. It is a process by which she chooses how to direct her energy to find creative solutions for those critical issues. She must take an active role in finding ways to leverage her energy with that of others also in pursuit of creative solutions to their social concerns. A woman empowers herself by her ability to establish goals, monitor progress, and evaluate the impact of her philanthropic agenda as it relates both to individual progress and community betterment. It is a process that provides a structure for her philanthropic journey and brings purpose into her life.

Some have called empowerment the force that keeps all the dots connected. Some call it the force that gives the courage and fortitude to transcend doubt and distrust in one's ability to transform dreams into reality, while others say it is the force that leads them to collaborate with other like-minded individuals and community members. Empowerment shifts the consciousness of a woman's mind-set from what has been to what can be, through the synthesis of her creative thought in meaningful association with other community members who are also charged by an energy grounded in the integrity of purpose, the wisdom of passion, and the freedom of that comes with power.

Read more about empowerment in "Women, Wealth and Giving: The Virtuous Legacy of the Boom Generation," or visit www.margaret-may.com.