Every once in a while, someone will criticize SVP or me for not having a little more fun or taking the time to celebrate along the way. They are right, and if you were there Saturday night, are you satisfied for a while now?! :-) We celebrated our 15th anniversary, filling MOHAI. It was a lot of fun, and two things stood out for me.
Over the past few weeks, I have reflected a lot about the lessons learned these last seven years at SVP. A stack of 5x7 notecards sits on my desk capturing phrases of what I’m taking with me. But in the end, it boils down to one key concept – and it’s what I learned when things got really hard for me. When I was feeling “one down” among people who had once felt like my peers.
“If you are ever discouraged or pessimistic, seeing what goes on at the grassroots level will give you hope. Policies, politics, practices and poor funding are major obstacles but passionate, compassionate people are working miracles.” SVP Partner Preston Thompson pretty much says it all. Find out who we met and what we learned during our visit with Team Read at Gatzert Elementary.
Ever had this experience? You’re watching TV when a show comes on and you think: yep, that’s a lot like my life. I guessing most people have, but how often is that show Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner?
It’s fair to say a few of us here in the office enjoy the movies, sharing perspectives and recommendations once in awhile. After the Academy Awards last Sunday, we couldn't help but find some great - if surprising - parallels between SVP's work, and the storyline of two Oscar-worthy flicks.
It’s Valentine’s Day and my Facebook newsfeed is filled with love. Tender messages, romantic dinner plans, and joyous celebration over the Marriage Equality Bill. It’s got me wondering how love and passion are sustained. Marriage is certainly no guarantee for long-term commitment and happiness, but it’s certainly a symbol. So what’s the symbol of sustaining a different kind of passion – philanthropic passion? How do you renew your ‘vow’ to make a difference in the world?
Since coming to Seattle in April of last year, I have heard a couple of people mention that we should stop using the word philanthropy. Why? Because it has a certain negative connotation to it that invokes images of rich men in top hats, wearing a monocle deigning to give money to all of those poor people in straw houses. Maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but in a nation that prides itself on being one of the most philanthropic, how could this have happened?
I don’t know about you, but after Seattle’s Snowmaggedon closed schools and offices for days, I was itching to JUST GET OUT. So, hopping the shoe leather express, I made the trek to my local grocer to get some fresh air, refresh our food supply and interact with beings other than my husband and cat. (No offense, honey.) What I discovered was something that also applies to grantmaking...
Sometimes the connections SVP makes are between new members of grant committees or several Partners that have a common community interest or … life-long friends that haven’t connected for years. Sometimes the connections happen intentionally or as part of a structured group … and sometimes it happens on-the-fly and out of nowhere, like for Cynthia and Meredith.
As I look ahead to 2012 here are few wishes and hopes I hold for our community (and myself). First, that we each bring more empathy into our lives – in our day-to-day interactions with spouses, children and families, co-workers and clients, and in our neighborhoods and communities.
As the holiday season is all around us, everyone has their wish list for Santa this year. I thought I’d throw out a few things I’d love to find under my 'tree,' starting with a renewed and recharged sense of hope and energy in 2012 for working even harder and smarter at solving our community’s challenges.
Recently I attended a fundraising breakfast in Seattle, Washington. The organization serves people who are homeless due to addiction and/or mental health issues. Their mission resonates with me on a personal level. My mother is mentally ill and I lost my brother to a drug overdose. Supporting them, in many ways, helps me. And this year, I found it helped me in an unexpected way.
My response to a Chronicle of Philanthropy article discussing the burden of 12 million new nonprofits on the sector.
So it’s 3:22AM in Chicago, I’m at my sister’s ... I’ve been here for two days at the Independent Sector conference and a reception this evening to launch an SVP in Chicago. That was cool. I’m still up, bleary-eyed beyond words, and getting ready to go to sleep when I check my voicemail quick. There is one message.
If you ask just about any philanthropist, from big-time givers to Joanne Q. Public, they'll tell you there are "too many non-profits." But there is MUCH less talk about funders consolidating or collaborating. Where is the outcry for the sources of capital to better rationalize their philanthropic investments?
Ever since I can remember I’ve been passionate about fairness and social causes. I remember instigating discussions during Thanksgiving dinners about how girls could be as good in math as boys and that maybe men should change their last names when they got married. I was eight and labeled a radical by my relatives who warned that no one would ever marry me.
Like probably everyone else this week, I’ve been thinking about Steve Jobs, off and on, quite a bit. The world truly feels like a lesser place without him … it is. Jobs was all about “changing the world” and “thinking differently.” The guy was truly one of the Einstein’s of our generation. I just can’t help but think a little bit about how that kind of thinking is so needed in other parts of our world, in the social sector, in the change-the-world-for-the-better sector.
What defines a rainmaker? In their documentary series, Rainmakers.TV seeks out people who have the qualities to make things happen. And that includes SVP’s own Paul Shoemaker. In his interview, Paul talks about what it looks like when you turn philanthropy on its head and change professional success into personal significance.
A few weeks ago, I went on my annual end-of-summer camping weekend (I’m not exactly a big camping fan) with my 10-year old, Sam, at Millersylvania State Park. As we laid in our two-person tent, side by side, we looked up through the mesh roof of our tent. The stars were brilliant, but the real “stars” were the hundreds of huge, tall, majestic pines that surrounded us.
SVP staff are racking up accolades! Lynn Coriano was selected as a PLACES Fellow, Mike Quinn was accepted into Leadership Tomorrow’s class of 2012, and Paul Shoemaker was interviewed in the Seattle Times and is a featured panelist at this fall’s Net Impact Conference. Congrats all around!