VIDEO-Building Philanthropic Families

In this episode of "Dialogue for Donors", PhilanthroMedia interviewed three donors whose inherited wealth enables them the ability to offer insider perspectives for wealthy families wanting to build their philanthropic traditions.

Hear from Tracy Gary who has empowered thousands of wealthy donors to advance progressive social change, most recently through her organization: Inspired Legacies. Tracy's excellent book on the topic, Inspired Philanthropy: Creating a Giving Plan and Leaving a Legacy, has just been released in an updated third edition.

Meet Karen Pittleman At 25 she dissolved her $3 million trust fund to co-found the Chahara Foundation, a fund run by and for low-income women activists in Boston. She was also the first program director for Resource Generation which helped to launch the book. Resource Generation is a national non-profit organization that works with young people with wealth who believe in social change. She is the author of two books including: "Classified: How to Stop Hiding Your Priviledge and Use It"

Finally, hear from John Steiner who is currently knee-deep organizing a transpartisan movement. His Reuniting America is working to create a third way between sides that are most often diametrically opposed. (As an example, a recent retreat brought together women leaders as divergent as Joan Blades, Co-founder, and Roberta Combs, Chairperson, Christian Coalition.)

I'm a huge fan of these three folks and thrilled to bring them to discerning donors nationwide through the syndication network that places "Dialogue for Donors" on 70 community foundation websites nationwide.

Susan Herr

Posted at 10:18 PM, Dec 21, 2007 in High Net Worth Donors | Intergenerational | Philanthropic Strategy | Streaming Media | Permalink | Comments (1)


Private sector philanthropic giving with a focus towards nonprofits whom are grassroots is a means for knowing the donation will have local geographic reach.

The initial investment in the grassroots approach should be viewed like the planting of tree seedling. The donor plants the seed of their idea. The donor provides ongoing giving for a set number of years. It should be the intent of the donor’s reasoning behind giving idea to be willing to be involved in the effort long enough to build a strong roots for the grassroots nonprofit idea to have a foundation and the strength to grow branches.
The direction of the branches will be pruned in the direction of strengths. The nonprofit should be open to being provided direction on the prioritization and direction the donor wishes they support should grow. The nonprofit should except this direction especially if it falls with the mission of the organization.

Grassroots nonprofits have as a catalyst the strength of passion and volunteers. The nonprofit with appropriate planning should be able to know strategically how their organization is to cover fix costs, including staffing. It should be the goal of the nonprofit to have each year an understanding of how they are going to have the funds to cover the approved budget for the year. After fives years it should be expected that nonprofit knows how their financial support is being cover. A nonprofit should include in its planning whether there is there an opportunity to have members, user fees, a reserve or endowment to cover 75% of the expenses and fundraise for the rest. If there is a persistent 10-25% shortfall in spending it is usually attributed to providing raises each year to administrative staffing. It is with this in mind that outsourcing for nonprofits below three and half million dollars that a donor should request the nonprofit do.

The use of the word “grassroots nonprofits” is to bring about a more powerful impact quickly to the cause at hand.

Nonprofits are created to address a cause. The main weight for deciding a budget should be what the nonprofit can afford to do with its two main assets of cash and volunteers.

Throughout all of the nonprofits activities has to be accountability. A regulatory perspective of the nonprofits interaction with governing bodies, government agencies and financial intermediaries that require administrative forms, records sent or financial records distributed to others will fall to the designee or default to the Board officers. The interaction requires time to contract with auditors for the annual audit of the nonprofit, and to ensure compliance with all respective laws, statutes and regulations. The outsourcing of the service can provide on an ad-hoc basis throughout the year when the Board and or designated individual need the assistance. A scheduling of the compliance work can be planned in order to be timely with the compliance.

Incorporating is the easy part for a nonprofit. The hard part is annually keeping the donations from donors coming and expanding the donor base for giving.

Posted by: robert guinto