Philanthropy’s Most Powerful Women 2017

In 2017, we saw the power of women grow in society like never before, and their influence in philanthropy continued to increase simultaneously. The following four women were standouts in the philanthropy community.

Melinda Gates, Co-Founder,  Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Forbes writes that Gates continues her run as the most powerful woman in philanthropy as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Her laser focus on health is having a real impact as she showed in the foundation’s first “Goalkeepers” report which presented hard metrics behind the giving. Maternal deaths in Ethiopia are down 57% since 1990 thanks, in part, to foundation efforts to get more mothers to give birth in health care facilities.

Alexandra Cohen, Co-Founder, Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation

Alex is the wife of the controversial hedge funder Steve Cohen, who commands one of the largest fortunes in finance. The Cohens focus mainly on healthcare and education, with the arts as another major interest. All signs point to continued increases. Forbes explains that while the couple is quite private, Alex is a key figure in their giving, with a backstory that helps explain why: She grew up in a low-income New York neighborhood.

Jennifer Buffett, Co-Founder, The NoVo Foundation

According to Inside Philanthropy, The NoVo Foundation that Jennifer Buffett leads may not rank among the largest foundations in the U.S., but it is one of the biggest family foundations led by a woman and it gives at a very substantial level: $56.7 million in grants in 2012 alone. And it’s only up from there, given that Warren Buffett has pledged shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock to NoVo that will ultimately total several billion dollars.

Eliza Manningham-Buller, Chair, The Wellcome Trust

Established in 1936 at the behest of pharmaceutical entrepreneur Henry Wellcome, the Wellcome Trust is now one of the biggest medical trusts in the world. The trust continues to tackle the globe’s biggest health problems, including working on a vaccine for Ebola and a potential cure for three tropical diseases. The trust announced that it’ll donate over $1 billion in 2017-18.

Female heads of nonprofits usually make less than their male counterparts. GuideStar’s 2017 Nonprofit Compensation Report found that male CEOs make 21% more than female CEOs of organizations with budgets of $50 million or more. With that in mind, it is even more important to acknowledge Melinda Gates, Alexandra Cohen, Jennifer Buffett and Eliza Manningham-Buller as 2017’s most powerful women philanthropists.

Seven Strategic Philanthropy Lessons

Although mission-based philanthropy is highly individualized, there are some broadly applicable lessons. The following seven strategic philanthropy lessons, followed correctly, will be a recipe for success in your philanthropic adventure.

1. Align Investments with Mission

Nearly $1 trillion currently sits in foundations and donor-advised funds. This money is committed to charitable missions, has received a tax deduction and can’t be returned. Each year, just 5 to 20 percent of that amount is distributed to nonprofits. The rest is usually invested for the single bottom line of financial growth.

2. Go Deep, Not Large

Donors and beneficiaries alike reward donors when they focus deeply on a scaled-down selection of meticulously chosen key concerns or will cause. Wealth Management.com explains that impact investing that uses mission-related investing, program-related investments and socially responsible investing tools can help you achieve much more bang for your philanthropic buck.

3. In Decision-making, Use Two Lenses

The Denver Post suggests that when setting philanthropic goals, donors should look through two lenses. The external lens helps us answer the question, “What are we hoping to accomplish for our community, country or world?” The internal lens helps us answer, “What am I hoping to achieve for my family, business or self by donating hard-earned money and precious time to charity?” Both questions are important. Your answers inform an effective strategy to achieve both internal and external goals through philanthropy.

4. Create a “Safe Zone” for Family Philanthropy

In most cases, philanthropy represents a small fraction of a family’s assets. Bruce Debosky recommends that you create a separate table for consideration of these assets, and invite all members of the family to sit there as equals. This is a key step toward creating a “safe zone” for improved communication about philanthropy, which can lead to more engagement, enhanced family dynamics and greater impact.

5. Give Boldly and Take Risks

People rarely donate so much to charity that they can no longer provide for themselves or their loved ones. Yet many of us can give far more than we do. Your financial advisor can help determine what you can really afford to give, and then give boldly. Taking calculated risks with grant making may be the only way to find new solutions to old problems.

6. Engage Other Stakeholders

Business stakeholders can include employees, directors, shareholders, customers, vendors, regulators, lenders and community leaders. Each stakeholder offers a different and valuable perspective on the role of the company in the community. This tactic enhances internal and external effectiveness.

7. Give While You Live

When you give while you live, you can learn about and experience the internal and external impacts of your philanthropy in real time!

Philanthropy, done well, is a powerful tool that adds joy and purpose to life and enhances business success. Follow these seven strategic philanthropy lessons and you will make the most of your philanthropic experience!

How Corporate Funders Are Stepping Up for Puerto Rico

According to Triple Pundit, after three hurricanes that have disrupted thousands of lives and generated billions of dollars in damage over the past month, many Puerto Ricans feel ignored. The military, various federal agencies, and disaster relief organizations are working to evacuate residents, distribute aid and repair damaged power grids in Puerto Rico. But private U.S. companies, including  Google, Facebook and other Silicon Valley powerhouses, are also stepping up to offer support and crucial services.

Google

CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company and its employees are planning to raise one million dollars in donations to various relief organizations including the Red Cross, World Food Program and UNICEF, to help residents of Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands get back on its feet.

Starbucks

The coffee retailer, which employs hundreds of Puerto Ricans, has pledged $250,000 for disaster recovery efforts for the island. The company has also allowed customers to make donations through its smartphone app to benefit the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

Facebook

Fortune.com writes that Facebook is donating $1.5 million to recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, with the money to be split between the World Food Program and Net Hope. Facebook also sent a “connectivity team” to Puerto Rico with emergency telecommunications support.

Apple

Apple announced that the tech giant’s “community” (which includes the company’s employees as well as customers who donate directly through the Apple App Store and iTunes) has provided more than $13 million to hurricane relief efforts in the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean, including over one million dollars for Puerto Rico.

Airbnb

The room-sharing startup has been working to provide housing for thousands of people who have been displaced by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and now Maria over the past month. Airbnb’s website offers options for users in need of shelter in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, while also providing ways for people with available housing to offer space to those who have been displaced.

Some businesses are lending a hand by providing services and donations, like food and supplies.  AT&T and T-Mobile are waiving cell phone charges to those in impacted areas. Western Union will offer free money transfers to Puerto Rico from the mainland U.S. as soon as the network on the island is stable. While PR residents may feel disappointed in the mainland’s support during this horrible time, corporate funders are stepping up with donations of not only the monetary kind but physical donations as well.

Following Your Donor Dollars: How the Money You Donate is Spent

Something catastrophic happens in the world and your first reaction is to want to help by whatever means you can. Most often, this means donating money to a relief fund or nonprofit organization so that front line work can happen at the location of the tragedy. Once the dollars leave your plastic card in your wallet, do you know exactly where they go? The truth is, there’s a lot more to the path than a direct flight from your pocket to the scene of the disaster.

Separating Emotion from Thought

Sometimes it can be difficult to separate thinking from emotion during traumatic times. People most often relate to others in hard times through sympathy and empathy, which are not tied to cerebral brain function. Conversely, investing money has lots to do with practical thought. Before you donate, do your best to take a second for critical analysis of whichever charity or vessel your money will travel through to get to the people who need it. “Is this organization healthy and functional? Does their mission resonate with me on a deep level?” If both of these questions are answered with the affirmative, proceed to donate your heart out.

Undesignated Funds for the Win

Pro tip: If given the option, let your donation stay undesignated rather than choosing a specific job for it. For example, if there are multiple projects as options for donating and another pool that says the foundation can do as they see fit with the money, choose the latter. By entrusting your donation to the organization, they can direct it toward whichever program is in the highest demand at that moment. Allowing this freedom means that your dollar will go as far as it possibly can.

Advantages to Donating Money vs. Supplies

Once the organization receives your money, it is turned into a grant and utilized for project purposes. Often, especially if you allowed your donation to stay unrestricted, your dollar goes a lot further than it would if you had spent it and donated physical supplies. Nonprofits and charities often get special discounts at stores that allow them to purchase much needed supplies cheaply in bulk so that they can be re-packaged and distributed to people that need them.

Thanks to people like you, victims of tragedies can get the support they need following an unfortunate event. By understanding the process of donation, you maximize your contribution.

The Most Influential Nonprofit Organizations

In the wake of the natural disasters that have occurred over the last few months, nonprofit organizations are important. These organizations strive to make an impact by helping people. If you are looking to donate your time or finances, here is a look at the top nonprofit organizations in the World.

National 4H Council

4H is one of the most historic land grant universities in the World. 4H has a large mentoring and development organization. National 4H Council emphasizes public service and strives to help out communities. The National 4H Council has positively impacted millions of young people through its large network of volunteers.

PBS

The Public Broadcasting Services have reached multiple generations of people through their intriguing, high quality programs. PBS hopes to positively influence people regardless of their gender, socioeconomic status, or race. The famous home of Reading Rainbow, Barney, and Sesame Street, PBS Kids is available to everyone free of charge.

TED

The Technology, Education, and Design nonprofit organization was founded by Richard Wurmah. TED was originally a conference for people who wanted to establish new relationships. Today, TED strives to increase awareness about commerce, innovation, and society.

The Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation is made up of many volunteer organized projects that strive to help communities. The Rotary Club is actively backed by more than a million people. The Rotary Foundation uses their funds to create grants that start neighborhood cleanups, among other initiatives.

United Nations Children’s Fund

UNICEF is committed to the health of every child in the World. UNICEF strives to make sure that every child receives the proper education and nutrition. The organization sets aside billions of dollars to go towards medical supplies and services to make sure that every child receives the necessary vaccines.

Human Rights Watch

The Human Rights Watch is made up of hundreds of lawyers, journalists, and other experts around the World who investigate information about the global outlook. The Human Rights Watch issues multiple reports and briefings throughout the year. The Human Rights Watch works with different financial institutions, government officials, and corporations.

Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is one of the most famous environmental organizations in The World. The Sierra Club promotes clean energy, and has helped pass the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.

The Destructive 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season

The 2017 hurricane season is one for the record books. The National Hurricane Center has described it as an “extremely active season,” for it has produced more major hurricanes than any season since 2005. There have so far been 15 named storms – and the season doesn’t end until November 30.

A storm is a weather event in which the wind speed exceeds 39 miles per hour (mph). A storm becomes a hurricane when its wind speed exceeds 74 mph. Hurricanes, as many people now know, are further categorized by the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale that ranks hurricanes by their sustained wind speed from Category 1 to Category 5. A major hurricane is Category 3 or above.

So far, there have been ten hurricanes, with the first, Franklin, forming on August 7. Six of those ten, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Lee, Maria and Ophelia were major hurricanes.

Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm, was the first major hurricane of the season, and it made landfall on August 25 near Corpus Christie, Texas. It then went back into the Gulf Coast, where it picked up a lot more moisture. Harvey then made a second landfall near Louisiana’s border and dumped over four feet of rain on Houston and the surrounding area. Harvey is thus the worst rainfall disaster in US history. Most of the 82 people who perished had died trying to escape the flooding.

Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Katia all developed in the Atlantic basin at more or less the same time. The last season to have three simultaneous hurricanes was 2010. The current season, however, stepped up its game by being the first recorded to have two Category 4+ hurricanes developing together. It set another record by having three major hurricanes (Harvey, Irma and Jose) in a row.

Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, was one of the most powerful storms in history with a sustained windspeed of 185. After thrashing several Caribbean islands, it made landfall on Florida on September 10 as a Category 4 storm. It plowed through the entire state and did not dissipate until reaching Georgia. Roughly 95 of the buildings on the islands Barbuda and St. Martin were destroyed.

Hurricane Jose, a Category 4 storm, never made landfall. Instead, it tore up along the US East Coast bringing powerful winds, heavy rain and dangerous surf.

Hurricane Katia was the weakest of the trio of hurricanes and made landfall on Mexico as a Category 1 storm on September 8. Three people were still killed.

Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm, demolished many of the same Caribbean islands that had been struck by Irma a few weeks earlier. It destroyed Puerto Rico’s electric grid leaving the entire island without power.

The most recent major hurricane, Ophelia, was a Category 3 storm that brushed by Spain, stirring up wildfires, before making landfall on Ireland on October 16. The last time an equally powerful hurricane hit Ireland was in 1961.

What is the Center for Disaster Preparedness

If you are like millions of people around the world, you watched in horror as Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath tore up Texas and Louisiana. Many individuals were moved like the members of the Cajun Navy to move into the area to provide immediate help while thousands were moved to donate their hard-earned money to help victims. Most of the giving came within a week of the disaster and almost 80 percent of donations will come in the first month. Yet, recovery is a long-term process. As of September 12, 2017, 692,030 people had applied for federal emergency disaster help through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Who is the Center for Disaster Preparedness?

Nearly everyone who opened their Facebook and Google accounts to be confronted with a request for donations. Facebook even announced that they would match donors pledges up to $1 million. Those donations went to a Washington D.C.-based think-tank called the Center for Disaster Preparedness led by Bob Ottenhoff that has been in operation since 2012. In 2016, this organization operated on a seven-person staff with a $4.4 million budget. This is the first time that the organization will handle anywhere near the amount of donations they are likely to receive. In addition to providing funding for organizations working on hurricane relief, the group assists with disaster funding for lesser-covered events like the severe flooding in Asia.

What Does the Center for Disaster Preparedness Do?

Storm victims are unlikely to recognize this nonprofit in the immediate wake of the hurricane. In fact, they may never recognize the name because this organization is not aiming to do hands-on relief. Instead, it is a clearinghouse that will distribute funds to organizations that are providing relief now and far into the future. It is the goal of Center for Disaster Preparedness to identify unmet needs and encourage organizations to meet those needs. The center takes only 5 percent of donated funds to cover their administrative costs, and it allows donors to determine what disaster their donations will help fund. The first funds will not be distributed for two to six months after Hurricane Harvey wrecked havoc as it came on land at Rockport, Texas.

Who Directs the Center for Disaster Preparedness?

Robert Ottenhoff is the Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Disaster Preparedness who is the former director of GuideStar. Regina A. Webster is the vice president of the center. In addition to working with FEMA, she has managed the emergency portfolio for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month & How You Can Help

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer sometime in their life. Such a prevalent condition deserves as much publicity and attention as possible. Take the initiative this October to donate, become a corporate partner, contribute to the Art of Hope Gala, or utilize social media to educate and share your story.

Donate

By donating to the cause, you help a multitude of different people. Educational resources are created and utilized as prevention tools to provide information about breast cancer to people who otherwise may not have access to it. Your donation helps provide free mammograms to members of the public who are in need, so that breast cancer diagnosis can begin early and coincide with effective treatments. Otherwise, the same individuals risk being diagnosed later on in the cancer progression and met with less probability of remission, or worse. Patient navigation programs to help people through treatment are another objective of donated funds. This sort of support is invaluable to patients and family members alike. Fortunately, eighty percent of funds go directly to programs rather than to administrative support or overhead. You’ll rest assured that your donation is making as big an impact as possible.

Corporate Partnership

By establishing a partnership to support breast cancer awareness, you are establishing trust in your organization. Most of the general public is likely to buy from a company with strong moral values. By investing in breast cancer awareness, you are proving exactly that. Employees will be inspired by your organization’s social commitment to the cause.

Art of Hope Gala

By sponsoring or attending the gala in March in Dallas, Texas, you are demonstrating support and commitment to an enormously important cause. Thanks to your participation, more people will have access to the medical and social supports they need to stay healthy and happy.

Social Media

Engage with your community on social media to educate others about the importance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Utilize images, text, and infographics to spread the word. Pink ribbons and inspiring messages are both symbols of the ongoing fight against breast cancer that are simple to work into existing conversations. Sharing a story about yourself or a loved one who is battling breast cancer or has survived it lets people know that the condition is real, serious, and beatable. Your words matter; use them to empower the people around you.

Truly, there are lots of ways to participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Take your pick, engage your audience, and teach people why October matters.

New App Looks to Put Philanthropy in the Hands of Mobile Generation

At a certain point in life most people feel the need to give back. Philanthropy plays a big part in the lives of many of the wealthy people, but there are also some young people that would like to give to others as well. Fortunately, this new generation of smart device users are going to be able to become philanthropists through their apps. They don’t have to write big checks for any colleges and make donations in this way. They can actually get connected to an app that allows them to do what they need to do without ever leaving their home.

A new app like Give 2 Charity makes it possible for people that have smartphones to convert their location into points for a donation. This is something that has become innovative over the years because it gives people the ability to donate to different causes as soon as they find out about something that is going on. The great thing about apps like this is that it provides people with the opportunity to give to lots of to organizations like American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, American Cancer Society and the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

This is where technology is going, and people can look forward to moving apps like this where technology plays an important part in communication and regular donations towards certain causes.

App users have a lot to think about when it comes to the development of apps. It has always been stated that there is an app for everything, and this joke has taken life and become reality. It is possible that there are apps for just about everything that people would like to engage in, and philanthropy appears to be the newest thing that is getting buzz in the app community.

The thing that has managed to make this app spread is the attention that it gets from social media. There are a lot of people that are tweeting about it and posting likes about it through Facebook. That allows even more people to become connected with this type of app and the possibilities that exist for giving through a philanthropy app like this. No longer do people have to complain that they do not have the possibility to give. This app is putting the concept of giving into the hands of those that have smartphones. This shows how app software is evolving.

Why You Should Involve Your Kids In Philanthropy

One of the greatest transfers of wealth will be taking place over the next decade as Baby Boomers will be passing on their estates to their children. If history is any indication, most of that fortune will be lost inside of three generations.

This is why it is important to get your children involved in financial matters at an early age. One of the best ways to teach them about money and your values is to get them involved in philanthropic activities. By following a few simple strategies you can lay the groundwork for their financial education and ensure that your charitable legacy will remain intact.

Document Your Philanthropic History

By illustrating your family’s charitable giving history your children will have a better understanding of the motivations behind them. They will also be more inclined to carry on the family tradition if they know the origins of it.

Create A Family Mission Statement

Just like any business, your family should have a mission statement that clearly spells out the values and purpose. By involving your children in this process they will not only understand why they should give bt also will have a hand in deciding where the money will ultimately end up.

Get Them Involved

Regardless of your level of financial giving, you should get your kids involved in charitable activities as soon as possible. And it does not have to be through an organized charity. You can take your child and buy school supplies for those school children in need.

Spend one day with your kids and pack the supplies in bags or backpacks and involve them in the decision on which school to donate them to. You can even take it a step further and have them contact friends, family, and neighbors and get them to contribute and volunteer.

Allow Your Children To Decide Where To Contribute

One of the most effective ways to get your children involved in philanthropic ventures is to allow them to decide where the money goes. This will allow them to find a charity or cause that they feel strongly about.

Encourage them to do research on different charitable organizations and make a recommendation to you. Have them develop a plan to distribute the funds over a set period of time.

Setting up a plan for your family’s philanthropic activities will take some time but the effort will be worth it. Getting your children involved early will ensure that your charitable giving will continue through the following generations.