Posts filed under ‘Miscellaneous’

Giving Tuesday in its 5th Year

headshot of claudia smilingEnd-of-year giving kicks off tomorrow, November 29, with GivingTuesday, a global day for giving back that comes the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Eat your turkey, shop local until you drop on Black Friday, buy online on Cyber Monday, then donate to your favorite charities on Tuesday, November 29. A recent search for Ohio nonprofits participating in GivingTuesday showed 884 entries, including these Philanthropy Ohio members:

Columbus Foundation

Jewish Federation of Cleveland

Scioto Foundation

Toledo Community Foundation

United Way of Greater Cleveland

United Way of Greater Lorain County

Women’s Fund of Central Ohio

Last year, over 700,000 individuals from 71 countries donated $116 million on GivingTuesday. It harnesses the power of social media, as evidenced by last year’s numbers: 114 billion Twitter impressions, 1.3 million social media mentions, 1.08 million gifts (mean gift was $107) and over 917,000 Facebook reaches. Participating organizations have access to a toolkit and sample resources to help create a successful campaign and individual donors can search for local nonprofits where they can volunteer and donate.

giving tuesdaySome of the participating nonprofits have secured match funds for donations on Tuesday, making the day even more impactful for those serving neighbors in need. See if your favorite causes are participating – and if they’re not, figure out another way to donate your time and money.

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

November 28, 2016 at 2:47 pm Leave a comment

Making sense of a very strange day

2016-Suzanne-blog-photoIn the wee hours of the morning, as I was trying to make sense of a very strange day, I read a tweet that suggested we all just go to bed and rest. Tomorrow would come, as would the next day, and the next.

And I thought, of course the days would come and we will trudge on. It’s what we do.  It’s who we are. We serve a sector that is about civic dialogue and participation, social innovation and justice, and most of all, we are sector that is inclusive. So let me be a gentle voice of reassurance today.

Our work is noble, our voice is important and we need to step back and remember why we serve a nonprofit organization, whether as grantmakers or grantees – we see the problems and we see ways to meet them in creative and meaningful ways. And we make a difference.


Diverse People Friendship Togetherness Connection Rear View Conc

We may have to rally our causes more, because fear and hate are hard to overcome. But when we welcome trust, compassion, justice and the belief that we all have special gifts to share, it’s easier to disassemble the issues behind the fear and the hate and create conversations about what’s really important.

flag-american-pride-1191650I’m grateful for the work you do each and every day, encouraging people and organizations to be their best, and sharing the message of hope and healing. But don’t forget that as we navigate through the next few days, weeks and months, it’s okay to spend time nurturing yourself, taking care that you are rested, not weary, enlightened and not down-hearted and filled with hope rather than hopelessness.

Perhaps the tweet was right, maybe we can just take it one day at time and get a good night’s sleep.

Suzanne T. Allen

November 9, 2016 at 3:04 pm 1 comment

More than rooftop yoga and food trucks

2016-nelson-beckford-blog-photoThis week Philanthropy Ohio welcomes guest blogger Nelson Beckford, describing efforts in placemaking.

Project for Public Spaces defines placemaking as the active process of planning, designing, managing and programming the public realm.

In essence, the goal of placemaking is to improve the functionality, aesthetics, social ability and comfort of our public realm. Two years ago, we hosted a convening with Fred Kent, the founder and president of the New York-based Project for Public Spaces (PPS).

Suffice to say, Mr. Kent and PPS have informed and inspired our thinking. Functional and beautiful places are signals—they reflect the hopes, dreams, pride, history and culture of a place.


Our responses to public spaces can be both visceral and subconscious. They conjure feelings that are sometimes hard to put into words, although one simple measure may be this: A great place is somewhere we want to spend time.

builtenvironment2We use these spaces to recharge, relax, reflect, recreate and connect with nature and humanity. To see this in action, go to any park and watch how kids use the space. They play, they laugh, they make friends.

Last week, Mr. Kent and PPS went to Quito, Ecuador, to join delegations from around the world for the United Nations Habitat III. It’s a conference that happens only every 20 years. At the event, global leaders finalized an agreement—The New Urban Agenda—that provides direction on the future development of cities. As this agenda moves toward implementation, placemaking is being seen as a vehicle to bring together disparate agendas, causes and disciplines necessary to make our cities healthier, sustainable and more equitable.

We concur.

 “What defines the character of a city is its public space, not its private space.”
—Joan Clos, UN-Habitat


Nelson Beckford
Senior Program Officer, A Strong Neighborhood
Saint Luke’s Foundation

November 7, 2016 at 4:42 pm Leave a comment

Celebrating Halloween with humor

headshot of claudia smilingIt’s Halloween, trick or treat – and our treat for you is Vu Le’s latest humor blog on his site –

25 quotes by famous people if they had worked in nonprofit.


We also came up with our own take on his #awesomenonprofitquotes below. Enjoy!

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. But don’t seed those new nonprofits.
— Robert Louis Stevenson


Jessica Howard, manager of communications & membership, in costume in our Columbus office.

The proper aim of giving is to put the recipients in a state where they no longer need our gifts; three years of funding and out they go.
—C. S. Lewis

No one need wait a single moment to improve the world unless you’re waiting for word on a proposal, which takes six months.
—Anne Frank

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to send a mail-merged thank you letter.

— John F. Kennedy
The results of philanthropy are always beyond calculation. Just like the hours we put into the annual meeting and fundraising campaign.
— Mary Ritter Beard
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now apply to foundations to support them.

— Henry David Thoreau

One must know not just how to accept a gift, but with which form letter to appreciate it.
— Maya Angelou

Happy Halloween!
Claudia Y.W. Herrold

October 31, 2016 at 4:13 pm Leave a comment

The Big Table at Philanthropy Ohio

2016-jessica-blog-photoTwo weeks ago, more than 5,000 individuals participated in The Big Table conversations across our community, including 20 of our members convening at our Central Ohio office. Deborah Aubert Thomas and I led the conversations, splitting into two groups to better facilitate conversation and interaction.

The Columbus Foundation invited people and organizations to host conversations and participate in discussions, and we took the opportunity to convene our members to hear about the issues close to their hearts. The conversations lasted just over an hour and spanned topics from emotional intelligence and equity to mental health and millennials.

To see notes from the two conversations we hosted, please visit our website.

The Columbus Foundation was hoping to engage 1,000 people and on August 30, more than 5,000 people participated in over 450 conversations—gathering around tables to listen, share and learn about what strengthens and challenges our community – far exceeding their original hopes.

gok_infographicAnd as a thoughtful gesture of thanks, The Columbus Foundation made a contribution to the Gifts of Kindness Fund in honor of each person who participated. The fund provides one-time emergency grants through local nonprofits to help lift up individuals and families who experience an unexpected setback.

We’re grateful for The Columbus Foundation for giving us the opportunity to hold the community conversations. Our members really appreciated the candid discussion and outlet to talk about Columbus’ assets, opportunities and ways we can collaborate.

big-tableIn addition, The Columbus Foundation created a follow-up survey and will release the results at the end of the month. We’re excited for what may grow out of The Big Table and what The Columbus Foundation has in store.

If you’d like to see what other Big Table conversations looked like, check out the Twitter hashtag #TheBigTable. For more information and next steps to The Big Table conversations, check back on our website for updates.

jessica signature

Jessica Howard

September 12, 2016 at 4:26 pm Leave a comment

Ohio philanthropy goes back to school

2016-Suzanne-blog-photoBrené Brown summed up my feelings pretty accurately with her statement, “In many ways, September feels like the busiest time of the year: the kids go back to school, work piles up after the summer’s dog days and Thanksgiving is suddenly upon us.”

September is indeed a busy month and it’s one that most people connote with fall leaves, schools and learning. While I’m not quite ready to buy the turkey yet, I did pick up a few notebooks last week just because it’s “back to school” time. It was rather disconcerting to see the Halloween candy next to the spiral notebooks and lunchboxes, though.


Even more disconcerting is how much we spend on school supplies. According to the National Retail Association, money spent on K-12 and college supplies is expected to reach $75.8 billion by the end of September, up from last year’s $68 billion… and that’s a lot of spiral-bound notebooks.


But we know that school (or learning) doesn’t end as it does in the traditional notion of education. As leaders in philanthropy, we know that we must always seek new knowledge and understanding of the changing world we serve.

So as Ohio’s children head back to school, it’s the perfect time for the philanthropic community to gather, reflect and learn together and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing on September 20 and 21 at Philanthropy Ohio’s 2016 Learning Institute.

This year, I’m delighted that we are offering two days of engaging sessions focused on a wide array of topics that philanthropy addresses daily. And, as in school, it’s more than just learning, although our programs will be impactful, focusing on strategies for economic revitalization in urban or rural settings, demystifying impact investing and evaluation, learning how to plan for leadership succession and more.

learning institute logoIt’s also about the networking. The conversations that happen in the halls and during meals are tremendously helpful in building connections with colleagues, new and seasoned, so you can tap into their experience and wisdom after returning to the office. We have planned new affinity group convenings on Tuesday morning to expand your networking time.

Finally, I think it’s about recharging. Philanthropy work requires patience and tenacity as you address the changing and complex 21st century issues. The Learning Institute is a great opportunity to get out of the office and recharge individually and as a community.


I hope to see you – with or without your new school supplies – in two weeks at The Blackwell Inn and Conference Center, on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus. If you haven’t registered yet, give us a call.

suzanne signed in blue ink

Suzanne T. Allen, Ph.D.

September 6, 2016 at 10:59 am Leave a comment

Charging up at the end of summer

2016-Suzanne-blog-photoI read a great article in Fortune magazine entitled How to Recharge if You’re Losing Motivation by Sally Blount, dean of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, in which she contends that there are five components to staying motivated at work. At this time of year, I find myself needing a little more motivation.

Summer is my favorite season and with the calendar pages flying, it appears that summer may be over too soon, and the impending cooler, then colder weather is just on the horizon. Wet leaves, followed by frozen sidewalks and grumpy dogs who refuse to go outside in anything less than balmy weather, render me less than motivated both personally and professionally.

summer-1405218 beach sandalsThe personal motivation is something I know I need to work on, but the professional component of motivation was rather intriguing.

According to Blount, the academic and applied research suggests that there are five things you need to stay motivated at work. Four of these she contends are about context, the situational aspects of your work and how you leverage them to show and measure your own achievement.

The four contextual aspects of professional motivation are: The Right Mission, the Right Job, the Right Boss and the Right Team. Blount said, “These are the fundamentals—it’s that simple.” But the fifth aspect is all about you – having the Right Attitude.

Sure, she says, you need to work for an organization you believe in and where you can grow and where the mission is something you believe in. You also need to be in the right job – the right seat on the proverbial bus – so you can thrive and contribute and you need to work with and for folks who engage you and whom you trust, teammates who challenge and celebrate what you bring to the table.


As you work through these four situational issues, the other aspect of motivation is looking at yourself in the mirror. Once the four factors are in place, the job swings back to you to focus and stay motivated over time.

And that’s where the article got really interesting. Blount asserts that people who are following a leadership path and are pretty good at the first four need to pay particular attention to the fifth motivational aspect – the Right Attitude. It turns out, surprisingly, that people don’t particularly like to work with and for leaders who “look/act stressed out, self-indulgent or self-satisfied.” So Blount thinks that, “It’s up to you to make sure that you reset, renew and/or refresh your focus and energy level when you sit in the top job” or are headed that way, and she believes that there are two important types of recharging to keep you in the “Right Attitude.”

Here, I need to just quote the article from Fortune:

“The first I’ll call the micro-charge—making sure that every three months, you get three to four days where you are really away. When I do a micro-charge, I do very little email and no phone calls, if possible. Instead, I take long walks (in addition to other forms of exercise) and try to read a full book from cover to cover (no jumping around to absorb only the key facts). I relish my meals with family and friends and actually sit down to eat each one.

The second, the mission-charge, is about going the distance—the soul-searching work you need to do every two to three years to make sure that things aren’t getting rote, to make sure that you really understand your marketplace and are challenging your team to perform and deliver. This recharge requires at least a week, but two is better. I like to go to one place where I stay put—with great views, good food, and a lot of walking trails for thinking. The desert is perfect for me. The mission-charge is all about deep reflection—analyzing your performance and your organization’s, asking yourself the hard questions, and plumbing the depths of your own mind. You have to make sure that you really know what you’re thinking and feeling.”

cedar-springs-trail-1341470 hike

I’m still dreading fall and the snows of winter, but I’m finding ways to look forward to “charging-up.” I’d love to hear from you and how you micro- and mission-charge your attitude.

Suzanne T. Allen

August 22, 2016 at 4:50 pm Leave a comment

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