Transformation Through Virtous Philanthropy

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Is the Little Engine that Can Coming over the Mountain?

No it’s not a misprint.

Yes, I am referring to a favorite children’s book of mine, “The Little Engine that Could,” written by Watty Piper, the pen name of Arnold Munk. There are several versions of the story, but the underlying theme is the locomotive on the train caring the toys breaks down as it begins its climb over the mountain. Several engines more mighty and powerful refuse to help, and finally the little engine, not nearly as mighty, appears, and against all odds becomes the heroine of the day, pulls the train over the mountain, all the while chanting “I think, I can—I think, I can."

Yes, the heroine saves the day. And while not overtly using personification, the story does identify the mighty and powerful engines with the “he” pronoun, and the engine that offers and succeeds coming over the mountain and delivering the toys to the children with the “she” pronoun.

It has long been my supposition that one of the interpretations of this fable is the subconscious message that, as girls and women, we can aspire and do for ourselves, friends, family and community, what we ethically believe in and truly value for the greater good of civil society. And that we have the ability and the right to the “pursuit happiness,” believing we can achieve, what Eleanor Roosevelt described as “the beauty of our dreams.”

But one may ask, “How is this possible in a world where four out of five people believe our moral compass is no longer pointing due north?”

I am neither an historian, nor an economist; I am a boom-generation woman who believes in the beauty of my dream for a more compassionate and harmonious world. From my travels and talks around the country, I have met hundreds, if not thousands of women who, each in her own way, also believes in the beauty of her dream.

Together, in concert with our heartfelt passion and purpose, we make up a generation (73 million men and women) about to come over the mountain, pulling civil society toward a renewed vision for a more caring and compassionate world. Not only do we think we can, we know we must, using our time, talent and treasure to demonstrate that abundance and optimism are part of the beauty of our dream and the legacy we will leave.

Some will contribute by their work in the corporate world, others through the government sector. But the “Little Engine that Can” has found its home and leadership destiny in the philanthropic sector.

We know we can, we know we can. Here we go, over the mountain.

To learn more about women and philanthropy, follow Margaret May on Facebook, Twitter @MM_Philanthropy, or visit and sign up for her monthly e-newsletters.

Bookmark: Warren Buffett Invests Like a Girl - And Why You Should, Too

I seldom splurge on books at the airport. There’s enough reading material in my carryon for the entire flight and more… but, the title caught my eye. I couldn’t resist finding out how “Warren Buffett Invests Like a Girl: And Why You Should, Too.”

Hmm, I thought, is this the real Midwest secret to success or just plain common sense? Turns out, it’s a bit of both. Author Louann Lofton offers the reader both the statistical and anecdotal evidence that women’s admirable qualities such as collaboration, commitment, nurturing, and inquisitive temperament are the perfect ingredients for a winning investment strategy. The reader not only gets insight into how Buffett parlayed his meager investments, starting when he was a teenager, into the “largest and greatest investment portfolio in human history,” but also validates what psychologists have known for decades that women have the kind of temperaments that help achieve long-term success in business and investing.

The two investment traits that resonate with women are consistent and persistent returns – not spectacular but not in the cellar, either. For example Hedger Fund Research, Inc. traced the annualized performance of female-managed hedge funds from 2000 to May 2009. In the 2008 financial meltdown, women-managed funds dropped 9.61 percent compared to 19.03 percent for other primarily male-managed funds. And in good times, funds managed by women returned an average of 9.06 percent compared to just 5.82 percent averaged by a weighted index of other hedge funds.

So what’s the bottom line? There are eight feminine traits, according to the authors, that both men and women can use to improve their investment performance. Bet you can name most of them without reading the book – and if you included having less testosterone – well, that makes nine.

Find Warren Buffett Invests Like a Girl on

To learn more about women and philanthropy, follow Margaret May on Facebook, Twitter @MM_Philanthropy, or visit and sign up for her monthly e-newsletters.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Philanthropist Jane Addams’ legend lives on through Nobel recipients

In the 110-year history of the Nobel Peace Prize, only 12 women have been honored for their courageous leadership in the struggle for women’s rights. Among them is peace activist and philanthropist, Jane Addams, Mother Teresa, and Wangari Maathai.

On Oct. 7, history was again made when Thorbjorn Jagland, the head of the Nobel committee, announced that three influential women from Africa and the Middle East were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011. Two of the winners were from Liberia: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first elected female president in post-colonial Africa, and the peace activist Leymah Gbowee.

2011 Nobel Peace Prize winners: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman Photograph: Getty
Tawakkol Karman, a prominent female figure in Yemen’s populist uprising this year, was honored for her work to establish a human rights group called “Women Journalists Without Chains,” and her work to galvanize Yemini youth in their ongoing pro-democracy uprising.

The committee’s decision continues to highlight the passion and persistence of women around the world to devote their lives to equality and justice for women. It also draws attention to the suppression of women’s rights around the world.

Such an honor to women in Africa and the Middle East leads one to look here in the Untied States for contemporary champions in the political arena of women’s rights.

In September, I was the keynote speaker for the University of Northern Iowa’s 5th annual “Power of the Purse.” During the event, I had the honor of talking with former Lt. Governor of Iowa, Joy Corning, about her leadership in a 10-year effort culminating in 2020 (the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment) to see women hold half the seats in the Iowa legislature and elect a female governor.

The effort isn’t simply about gender equality, but also to bring a different perspective to public service. From my research, it is evident that women see issues through a different lens, looking for ways to foster more consensus building, with a more pragmatic perspective when it comes to financial matters.

Perhaps there is the making of another Jane Addams on the horizon right here in the good old USA, a cohort of American women seeking parity in politics. Stay tuned.

To learn more about women and philanthropy, follow Margaret May on Facebook, Twitter @MM_Philanthropy, or visit and sign up for her monthly e-newsletters.