Posts filed under ‘Commentaries’
Nationally-recognized diversity consultant Verna Myers says that diversity “is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance” and we’re throwing a “party” we hope Ohio philanthropy will not only attend but also dance.
The “party” is our program, Advancing Diversity & Inclusion in Ohio Philanthropy, on May 29 here in Columbus, which we are sponsoring along with The Dayton Foundation, KeyBank Foundation and Saint Luke’s Foundation as well as the national D5 organization.
Philanthropy Ohio has been working on diversity and inclusion for the past several years, demonstrating the importance of this work through our adoption of Diversity Principles, programming and networking events.
Kicking off our event is an address by Henry Ramos, who served as the director/lead consultant for the Diversity in Philanthropy Project, a three year initiative of leading U.S. private foundation CEOs and trustees designed to increase philanthropic sector effectiveness through expanded diversity in foundation governance, staffing, programming and contracting. Henry is also founder and principal of Mauer Kunst Consulting, a California- and New York-based private consulting group that specializes in strategic planning, project management, program development, organizational assessment/TA and research services targeted to businesses, foundations and nonprofit institutions.
If you’re engaged in philanthropy and want to join us on May 29th, you can find out more details and register here.
“If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human possibilities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.” -Margaret Mead
At Philanthropy Ohio, we’ve decided that since we are an organization dedicated to helping others learn and engage in effective grantmaking, we should be learning, too. We provide learning and network opportunities for our members, so shouldn’t we engage in activities that stimulate our learning as well?
It’s not as if the world of philanthropy that we, and our members, live in isn’t still a business world that promotes leadership, collective impact, economies of scale, marketing, customer service, measurement, evaluation and other MBA related topics.
So I’ve challenged our staff to help me engender a sense of learning and engagement within our organization. My goal is to create another level of understanding by transferring the “business school” model and finding relevance from the best business minds.
Race for Relevance
by Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers
Drive by Daniel Pink
Great by Choice
by Jim Collins and Morton Hansen
Disney U by Doug Lipp
Be Our Guest by the Disney Institute
Leap of Reason by Mario Morino
Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton
ReMembership by Kyle Sexton
7 Measures of Success
by ASAE and the Center for Association Leadership
Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
Little Big Things by Tom Peters
Little Bet by Peter Sims
It’s a great day to be learning at Philanthropy Ohio!
Philanthropy Ohio truly appreciates the unanimous, bipartisan support for last week’s state budget bill amendment that focuses both on extending healthcare coverage for many vulnerable Ohioans and continued reform of Medicaid. We remain so grateful for Governor Kasich’s leadership on these issues and for the tireless efforts of Representatives Sears, Antonio, Foley and Amstutz. At this time last week, we were facing a state budget bill with no provisions for extending healthcare coverage. After last Thursday, the House of Representatives defined a pathway for further consideration of these vital policy matters. We now look forward to making our case for extended coverage to the Ohio Senate.
Philanthropy Ohio’s Health Initiative is a group of nearly twenty foundations and other grantmakers who together support nonprofit health entities with over $200 million each year in grants. Their commitment to improving community health status, including access to care, could not be stronger. Health Initiative members feel the urgency of having the state reach consensus about adopting extended healthcare coverage because they understand how critical the need is for the more than 275,000 vulnerable Ohioans who need coverage now—including 26,000 uninsured veterans, 60,500 Ohioans with addiction and 55,000 Ohioans with unmet mental health needs.
On April 11, more than 2,000 Ohioans gathered at the Statehouse to encourage legislators to support extending health benefits to people without reliable medical care. Thanks to funding from a member of the Health Initiative, a video was taped and produced that tells the stories of those who need this coverage. The video is being distributed statewide to media and will be shared with Ohio Senators as debate continues there. Please watch, distribute and link to the video on your own websites, if you care about this issue.
A colleague sent me a copy of a thoughtful essay by Jamie Levy on philanthropy which posed a critical question, “is your organization growing true philanthropists?” This question, and the author’s subsequent discussion of the role of philanthropy in society, led me to ponder how our organization is growing (in the educational sense) philanthropic people.
At the outset, Levy said that when the word philanthropy is examined, it means love of man. Its roots are Greek, with philos meaning to love, and anthro meaning humanity or man. Simply put, philanthropy means to love humanity.
So how are we growing and educating people in our philanthropic community? A broad answer would be through programming. But if we look deeper, this question requires reflections about what we value. My colleague said that there is elegance in the simplicity of re-examining our purpose, and he’s right.
We are spending a lot of time at Philanthropy Ohio examining what we do and how our values impact our work. Integrity, diversity and inclusion, learning and sharing, excellence, leadership and service are at the core of what we do and at the heart of our upcoming programs. Our values-driven approach is evident as we help grow and educate our philanthropic community.
I hope you are able to participate in one or more of the following:
• April 11 and 12: Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) in Columbus and Cleveland!
• May 2-3: Essential Skills and Strategies for Grantmakers (ESS) offered in Columbus
We are challenging ourselves, examining our purpose, focusing on our mission, and planning our work based on our value - it’s great work!
… and thanks, Thom!
In doing a bit of research for this year’s annual conference (November 12 – 14), I came across a TED talk by Dan Pallotta, AIDS Ride founder and author of Charity Case. It was my introduction to the activist and fundraiser, and what an interesting introduction it was.
During his talk, which posted earlier this month and so far has over 1 million views, Pallotta describes “the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities.” The TED talk page summary says this about his talk:
“Too many nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend — not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses). In this bold talk, he says: Let’s change the way we think about changing the world.”
One particular statement from his talk resonated with me: “The next time you’re looking at a charity, don’t ask about the rate of their overhead. Ask about the scale of their dreams.” Perhaps this is because I had just finished reviewing responses from our annual Grantmaking Outlook report, where I was surprised to see that 84% of the respondents said they would provide operating support this year to grantees. That’s a big jump from last year’s figure, when only two-thirds said they’d give this kind of support. It seems to me that operating support is the kind of funding that can allow nonprofits to scale their dreams.
He also says, “Our generation does not want its epitaph to read, ‘We kept charity overhead low.’ We want it to read that we changed the world.” I’m not sure what generation he’s referencing, but I’d like to see myself as part of many generations with this epitaph. How about you?
Let’s talk philanthropy.
Our annual survey of Ohio foundations shows that nearly half (47%) of the respondents plan to increase their grant dollars this year, up from just a third who responded this way last year. The average expected increase is modest, at 3.2%. With another 44% saying they will hold their grant dollars steady, the outlook for 2013 is brighter than previous years.
As usual, our analysis also took a look at five-year trends, and the data here is pretty amazing. Our Outlook 2009 report captured the immediate reactions to the Great Recession, and only 11% of those surveyed said they’d increase their grant dollars that year. Since then, it’s been a slow and steady climb to the 47% who will give out more dollars this year.
More surprising to those of us who dig deep into this kind of data is this year’s indication of a significant jump in the number of funders who will provide general operating support (GOS). In 2009, two-thirds of our respondents said they would give GOS grants and this year 84% said they will do so; just last year, only 63% indicated they were supporting nonprofits with general dollars. Of course, program/project support continues to be the most common type of support that foundations will deliver, at 95% this year and 91% in 2009. Not much change there.
Tax reform – as promised during last year’s campaign rhetoric – is topping the agenda in Congress as we head into spring and it poses both an opportunity and a threat to the nonprofit sector. Both were evident during a recent hearing on tax reform and the charitable deduction held in the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee. The opportunity came as more than 40 panelists testified about the incredible impacts of the nonprofit sector, which depends on charitable contributions of individuals, foundations and corporations to do their good work. The threat came in the numerous proposals to limit or do away with the charitable deduction that individuals who itemize their federal tax returns claim to reduce their tax bills.
The charitable deduction is at risk now because of sequestration – that automatic cut of federal spending that looms – and because elected officials are increasingly viewing the charitable deduction as just another tax expenditure, like so many others included in the federal tax code, including deductions for mortgage interest and state/local taxes paid. There’s a big difference in these different deductions, because the charitable deduction is the sole such deduction from which the individual receives nothing tangible in return. But it’s still on the table as both House and Senate tackle tax reform in coming months.
You might think – like others – that it’s only the super wealthy who take advantage of the charitable deduction. However, research that we present in our Ohio Gives report shows a very different picture. First, individual Ohioans donated a whopping $5 billion to charities in 2010 (that’s the latest year reported by the IRS). And, that number doesn’t represent all of the donations given by Ohioans – it’s only the amount that the one-quarter of Ohioans (1.33 million taxpayers) reported on their itemized tax returns. We have no way of knowing what the real total of charitable giving is by individuals, we have only the IRS figures to provide a snapshot of some of the giving.
Here’s what else is surprising about our state’s giving: Ohioans at virtually every income level report making charitable contributions. Of those reporting donations, as this figure shows, one-quarter had income less than $50,000 a year and this group collectively gave over $637 MILLLION to charities!
If you donate to charity – whether it’s by dropping cash in the church collection plate or by writing checks to your alma mater or local foodbank – you should care about what’s going on in this debate. Ohio has two representatives on Ways and Means, Representatives, Pat Tiberi and Jim Renacci, and both our senators serve on the Senate Finance Committee that is also tackling tax reform. They’re hearing from us here at Philanthropy Ohio; we hope they’ll hear from you, too.
For a month and a half, I’ve spent most of my time listening to our board of trustee members, representatives from our member organizations, constituents involved in the education and health care initiatives, friends of Philanthropy Ohio, legislators, and of course, our staff, all of whom are our stakeholders.
When I’ve asked about their experiences with Philanthropy Ohio, or for some—Ohio Grantmakers Forum—without exception they’ve shared anecdotes filled with interest and enthusiasm for the good work we do. But one theme has been pervasive: Philanthropy Ohio helps those engaged in philanthropy become more connected and more informed so they can be more effective in strengthening communities they serve.
Think of the impact. Individuals in Ohio have donated an estimated $53 billion to charities during the first decade of the 21st century and foundations donated $11 billion. Last year alone, grantmaking organizations and individuals donated over $6 billion to charities in Ohio. Our job at Philanthropy Ohio is to help grantmakers by connecting the philanthropic sector to the people, organizations and ideas that collaboratively support and transform Ohio’s communities.
Philanthropy Ohio does this through advocacy, research, convening and by providing networking opportunities and educational resources to our members so that they can make wise funding decisions with their limited resources and be better informed about the needs in their region and in the state. We recognize that needs differ locally, regionally and state-wide, and we also know that each member has different expectations about what it means to be a member of Philanthropy Ohio. We are working on that.
And in this work to serve our members, I’ve discovered the stakeholder group where this pervasive enthusiasm begins: the staff of Philanthropy Ohio. To say that I am delighted with our staff’s commitment to our members and to the state of giving in Ohio is an understatement. Their positive attitude and the enjoyment they derive from working with our members every day is impressive and catching. They are in the midst of a transformation and have been resilient and enthusiastic. A name change, a new brand and a new leader have not diminished but enhanced their excitement to become the leading voice and premier resource for philanthropy in Ohio.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was correct…enthusiasm is indeed contagious.
I look forward to your comments, especially as you share your enthusiasm for the good work you do and its contagious effects.
Philanthropy Ohio applauds Governor Kasich for his decision to propose the expansion of Medicaid in the budget he presented last week to the General Assembly. It’s a courageous move on his part and one that we agree with, because we know that it will bring positive impacts – both health and economic – to Ohio. As we said in a letter to him, there is no policy decision that has greater potential to improve health access and thereby the health status of Ohioans than that of Medicaid expansion.
Improving the health status of Ohioans is a subject that foundations, individuals and other philanthropic organizations have a long history of supporting. There are countless health improvement initiatives funded by more than $200 million a year by grantmakers and another $400 million in charitable contributions that individuals provide to health-focused nonprofits. These significant dollars support a wide array of services, from school- based health care to neighborhood clinics, free pharmacies and thousands of other projects that improve the health of vulnerable Ohioans. Philanthropy Ohio, through its Health Initiative project, is committed to supporting Governor Kasich’s proposal as it works its way through the legislature. We invite other philanthropies to join us.
Last week, The Cleveland Foundation hosted Philanthropy Ohio members at my first regional “Meet and Greet.” It was a pleasure for me to talk with so many of our members and learn more about their respective organizations. What became very clear during the conversations with community foundation members, as well as representatives from private and corporate foundations, new members from United Ways and federated organizations is that they all have different roles in the philanthropic landscape, but the undeniable common denominator is that lives are changed through the grants they make.
What delighted me in these discussions were the references to collaborative works, the collective impact of their grantmaking and the changes that working together with other grantmakers have made to the work of Cleveland area nonprofits. Someone there said that “the best part of my day is making a gift that matters.” That reminded me of one of my favorite Churchill quotes…. “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
Although Churchill often spoke on philanthropic topics, one of his more famous speeches, “The Price of Greatness is Responsibility,” was written to promote collaboration between Britain and the United States during World War II. This speech also focused on celebrating what two countries can do together, and it resonated in the hearts of people on two continents.
Your work is resonating, too. Our members make many “gifts that matter” and most of that work is done quietly, without a lot of fanfare, yet each and every grant deserves a celebration. While the work of Philanthropy Ohio is to promote collaboration, I also want to celebrate the great work our members are involved in that is helping the nonprofit community tackle the needs in our state.
We have several more regional meetings scheduled and I’m really looking forward to hearing more of your stories and learning about your gifts, your grants and your collaborations. I will also be sharing our commitment to our members is to represent and serve Ohio’s entire philanthropic sector—advocating for our members, convening thought leaders, collaborating on issues and demonstrating the value of philanthropy in Ohio.
Suzanne T. Allen, Ph.D.