We’re accepting nominations for our annual awards recognizing phenomenal Ohio philanthropists, including a new one created this year to recognize a board member who passed away in March.
We are very excited about this new award, The Michael G. Shinn Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Philanthropy, which honors Mr. Shinn’s dedication to this important work in modern-day America. The award will recognize an individual who has demonstrated a significant commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in his/her philanthropic practice in Ohio.
Mr. Shinn was the founder of the Shinn Family Foundation and served as secretary of Philanthropy Ohio’s Board of Trustees until his death in March 2015. He chaired our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, taking on primary responsibility for guiding Philanthropy Ohio’s efforts in that arena. The Philanthropy Ohio Board of Trustees created the award to honor his memory and will present it for the first time this year.
We are also accepting nominations for three other awards. First is the Ohio Philanthropy Award, which honors an organization or individual who has made outstanding contributions to philanthropy by demonstrating long-standing leadership in advancing philanthropy, creativity in responding to societal problems or a significant positive impact on philanthropy.
The Philanthropy Innovation Award recognizes someone who has moved Ohio philanthropy forward through an innovation or implemented an idea that led to positive change in how the philanthropic sector operates, thinks or impacts communities. The Emerging Philanthropist Award celebrates someone who – regardless of age – has engaged in philanthropy for the first time during the last few years, either in a career path or as a private individual, and shows amazing potential.
Nominations close August 3 so that the Board of Trustees can make selections in time for the award ceremonies scheduled for September 16 – 18 in Cincinnati during our Philanthropy Forward ’15 conference.
Call us at 614.224.1344 if you have questions and stay tuned for announcements about the winners!
Claudia Y.W. Herrold
Answering that question was the theme of Kathy Merchant’s retirement toast last week, held in the beautiful Cincinnati Music Hall and attended by hundreds of friends, colleagues and even the mayor. He proclaimed it Kathryn Merchant Day and presented her with a key to the city.
It was a terrific tribute to Kathy’s 18 years leading the Greater Cincinnati Foundation; under her leadership, the foundation grew not only the assets, staff and giving of the foundation but became a recognized convener and partner in search of a better, stronger, healthier community. As person after person got up to share reflections on their interpretation of what Kathy stands for, I began to think of my own answer to that question.
Kathy was one of the first people I met when I started work at Philanthropy Ohio back in 1998. Coming from jobs in textbook writing and human services coordination, I didn’t know much about foundations and what they did, other than a general idea that they award grants. Over the years, I was able to watch and learn from Kathy as she became a widely-recognized innovator in the community foundation field, both in Ohio and across the country, and as she took on tough issues in southwest Ohio. And, yes, along the way I also learned a little bit about wine – a recurring theme from the reflections shared during last week’s toast.
In 2006, we presented Kathy with our Ohio Philanthropy Award, which we give each year to someone recognizing their “outstanding contributions to organized philanthropy in our state.” When I re-read the many letters submitted to support and celebrate her nomination for the award, I got my answer to the question of what she stands for: she stands for philanthropy. Her commitment to the field of philanthropy has taken many forms, from participating in the CEO Leadership Circle to encouraging diversity, equity and inclusion in philanthropy, leading an effort to create the Endow Ohio tax credit and sharing her expertise and knowledge with other community foundation leaders in formal and informal ways.
Thanks, Kathy, for all you’ve done to make the philanthropic landscape in Ohio a more effective, strong and visible force for good.
With the death toll at 5,000 and climbing, the April 24 earthquake has impacted more than 6.5 million people in one of the world’s poorest countries. The stories and images of the devastation continue to spread, as do the crumbling, injuries and death caused by strong aftershocks. It didn’t take long for the world – and Ohio philanthropy – to respond to the disaster. I queried our members this week and found immediate plans to help that include these examples:
The Columbus Foundation’s website funnels donations to humanitarian relief organizations;
KeyBank will match employee donations to the American Red Cross Nepal Disaster Relief fund, providing a dollar to dollar match;
The Dayton Foundation emailed donors about how they can help, listing a number of possible charities to support; and
Eaton provided $100,000 to the American Red Cross International Disaster Response Fund for relief in Nepal and is matching employee gifts around the globe for donations to a Red Cross Society or Salvation Army disaster relief fund.
There are many resources for Ohioans who want to help Nepal and assure their donations are effective. The Center for Disaster Relief Philanthropy provides this advice:
- Watch. The disaster occurred on April 24. Before considering a funding option, wait two weeks. Maybe even four. Use that time for the magnitude of the disaster to truly unfold. It won’t be long before a fuller picture emerges of lives lost, infrastructure damaged, individuals affected and unmet immediate response needs.
- Learn. Take that time to understand how the needs associated with this disaster are unfolding by reading media accounts of the disaster, responding agency reports, UN and USAID updates about the devastation, and the CDP website.
- Act. After two weeks, the media’s attention will sadly have turned away from one of the poorest nations in Asia.
Simultaneously, the local and international nongovernmental organization (NGO) community efforts will be in full swing to support the needs of affected Nepalese. Now is the time for a funder to wisely choose to support medium- and long-term recovery efforts. Either by working with CDP or closely with an NGO, look to support activities that will rebuild Kathmandu and put its residents back in their homes, jobs, schools and communities.
Making sure your dollars go to legitimate organizations is a particular concern to Ohio’s Attorney General, who issued a reminder about avoiding charity scams.
Let us know how you are helping with the relief and recovery,
Claudia Y.W. Herrold
Last Friday, Philanthropy Ohio President & CEO Suzanne T. Allen, Ph.D., testified in support of HB 128, a bill that would create a tax credit for Ohio taxpayers who donate to endowments at eligible community foundations. The bill was introduced by Representatives Barbara Sears and Ron Amstutz, along with nine of their House colleagues. Both Reps. Sears and Amstutz supported the bill last year, when it passed the Ohio House with broad bi-partisan support evidenced by its 84 – 9 vote.
You can watch the recorded hearing online: it begins with five witnesses from Hudson schools, including two sixth-grade girls. We were glad Suzanne didn’t have to speak directly after these young citizens: they were incredible witnesses who with great knowledge and poise explained why the House should not make any cuts to their district’s funding and went on to answer questions from committee members. By the end of their testimony, members from both sides were recruiting them to run in 2030 House elections.
Several Philanthropy Ohio members attended the hearing, leaving their homes early in the morning to arrive in time for the hearing’s 9 a.m. start and we appreciate their support: Brian Frederick (The Community Foundation of Lorain County); Keith Burwell (The Toledo Community Foundation); Marlene Cassini (The Delaware County Foundation); Michele Carey (The Greater Cincinnati Foundation); Erin Clemons (The Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty) and Megan Wancyzk (The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio).
Ohio has a strong network of community foundations, starting with the world’s first one established in Cleveland over 100 years ago. These foundations support local nonprofits that address a wide array of critical needs; in 2012, they gave more than $340 million to fund initiatives in areas including education, health, human services, the arts and community development.
An endowment is a fund that invests donated dollars and uses only the interest generated from that investment to make grants. Because it uses only the interest and doesn’t touch the principal, these funds are sustainable sources of revenue in perpetuity. Endowment funds can be created to fund a specific nonprofit organization, a particular cause that is dear to the donor’s heart or any number of programmatic areas.
HB 128 would help grow these permanent funds through these provisions:
- donors who give $1,000 or less would receive a 50% credit on personal income tax, while those giving more than $1,000 would receive a 20% credit;
- the credit is non-refundable, so individuals wouldn’t get money credited beyond his/her tax liability in a given year;
- the credit is capped at $10,000 for an individual filer and $20,000 for joint filers;
- only community foundations in compliance with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations (a rigorous accreditation process) are eligible for the credit; and
- the total pool of state dollars allocated for the credit is $20 million per year.
This last point is where the true power of the concept lies: if donors in Ohio use the entire $20 million available, that could provide $100 million in permanent funds – a 5-to-1 return. And, that $100 million would annually spin off $5 million in grants to nonprofits. With research that shows an $8 economic impact for each $1 of grant money, that means that Ohio communities could receive $40 million in benefits each year.
You can read more about the tax credit’s details as well as Suzanne’s testimony online and stay tuned for updates on the progress of the bill through the House.
Claudia Y.W. Herrold