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.

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.

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.

Making Philanthropy Part Of Company Culture

Charitable giving is not just the realm of wealthy individuals and global corporations. No matter what size business you can benefit from instilling philanthropic giving as part of your company culture. Not only will you be helping out the community your business serves but you will also be giving your employees a sense of contribution and self-satisfaction.

By following a few simple strategies you can have a culture of giving in your business in no time.

Volunteer Together

Plan quarterly or monthly volunteering events for your team. By getting out in a group you not only foster a sense of community within your company but you also make your brand more visible to the community at large.

Get suggestions from your staff as to which charities or events they would like to participate and plan to attend as many events as possible.

Participate In Community Projects

Many of your employees will have pet projects or charities that they are passionate about in the local community. This will give you company exposure as well as shedding a light on needs and concerns of your community.

These events can be food drives, 5K runs, bike rides or local festivals. Keep an eye out for events that are happening around you and see if there are ways your business can help.

Donate Your Time Or Expertise

You do not have to just donate money to charities. You can donate your time or professional expertise. If you are a consultant, you might consider holding classes for adults getting back into the job market. Or donate some of your company’s products to local charities in need.

Get your employees involved by giving them paid time off to go volunteer at local charities or events.

Get Input From Employees

Solicit philanthropic ideas from your employees. Do not just dictate what charities your employees will participate in. Many of them will have charities that they are actively supporting. They may have fundraisers at their children’s school or after school programs. By giving your employees a say in which charities get your time and money they will be more likely to participate.

Set The Example

Giving will quickly become part of your company culture when your team sees you taking an active part philanthropic activities. They will be more likely to emulate your actions rather than just follow your orders.

Being seen as a company who gives back and cares about the community will help set you apart from the competition. But it will also give your employees a sense of purpose and community.

How to Help Best During a Natural Disaster

There are many different ways you can make a difference when you’re interested in helping out during a natural disaster, many of which don’t require you to give money to help those affected. Not only will you be helping others, but you’ll also be helping yourself. Studies show that those who volunteer are happier than those who don’t volunteer. In this article, we will explain a variety of ways that you can help during a natural disaster.

Volunteer Your Time

When you have a little extra time you might consider donating your time rather than donating money. There are many reputable charitable organizations you can volunteer for. One website that puts you in touch with a variety of organizations is VolunteerMatch.org. Here you’ll find a list of organizations that best suit your abilities and needs.

Donate Money

If you’ve got the money and you would like to donate money to a charity, make sure you do your homework beforehand. There are a lot of scams that seem to pop up whenever there’s a natural disaster. You can visit the Better Business Bureau’s website to determine which organization you would like to donate to. Keep a lookout for well-respected names and read reviews. Sometimes giving even a few dollars can help out an organization tremendously.

Donate Items

You can also donate any items you may have around the house; however, it is always best to check the organization’s website to find out what they need before you send these items. Oftentimes there is a shortage of bottled water during a natural disaster. Another sought after item are baby wipes. You can also get family and friends involved by asking them for such supplies.

Offer Shelter

According to Legacy.com, you can also offer shelter to those in need. If you have an extra or spare room in your house and no one is using it, you can offer up this room to provide safe shelter for those who are left with nothing. To find out how you can utilize this program, you can visit the Disaster Response Program website for more information.

Raise Money for a Good Cause

Are you interested in donating money, but don’t have the financial means to do so? What about having a garage sale and selling a lot of the items you no longer use? You can also invite friends and family over and utilize them to increase your earnings. You can also sell items online and raise money to donate.

Now that you know there are ways you can help during a natural disaster, the next step is to get started doing it. You can choose to do as many of these tips as you seem fit. The important thing to remember is that you are helping those who desperately need the help.

Philanthropy Culture

Philanthropy is a great initiative that gets people and corporations involved in helping others and making a change, but all too often it has the connotation of a stand-alone event, a long-standing pledge to donate money, or a means of forced involvement. We need to start viewing philanthropy as a mindset and not just something that higher-ups force upon you. One great way to open the conversation of giving and really engage people on a personal level is to cultivate a “Culture of Philanthropy.”

What is Philanthropy Culture?

Any organization, whether it’s a workplace, nonprofit, or team, has a certain ‘culture’ that defines it to outsiders and helps it operate smoothly — implementing philanthropy culture is injecting the corresponding beliefs and ideals into the organization at its core and letting them bloom and grow from there. Your team needs to see these initiatives not as mandates or policies but rather as ideas worth embracing that will help give more meaning to the work they do on a daily basis.

Focus on the change.

If you deliver a philanthropic initiative to your team as extra work or responsibilities, they’re likely to balk at the task. However, if you present the end results and achievements and show them the difference that the little bit of work on their end can make, you’re going to engage them in a more meaningful way that will help them to internalize the change they’re helping to make.

Engage with your fundraising.

If your team’s philanthropic endeavors require outside donors, it’s a good idea to have everyone do away with any old notions of fundraising and look at it as a wholly engaging experience. If you view potential donors as nothing more than cash cows to get money from, you’re likely going to turn people away before you even get started. Donors are individuals, and if you want their financial assistance you’re going to need to engage them with what they’re funding and where their money is going. Learn who they are as people and how they like to interact and get them involved with your efforts.

Be thankful and practice gratitude.

When working to instate the ideals of helping others and being involved, don’t forget to include thankfulness, too. Through working to promote philanthropy, you’ve undoubtedly received help from other people along the way, and while you’re primarily working on giving help rather than receiving it, you don’t want to ignore the goodwill of others. Implementing gratitude can go a long way in changing your culture from selfish to selfless.

What Does it Mean to Be Altruistic?

Most people, in some small way, do nice things for those around them on a regular basis. Whether it’s holding open the door for a stranger, exchanging pleasantries in an elevator, or buying someone a cup of coffee, we like to go a little out of our way to benefit the lives of others. However, it is much harder to maintain that level of kindness for a sustained period, even more so when you add in the element of selflessness. As difficult as this may sound, it is a reality for the people who have chosen to devote their existences to altruism and truly causing the most good that they can during their lives.

Altruism, by dictionary definition, is a belief set that promotes engagement in selfless practices that seek to improve the welfare of others; the opposite would be egoism. Altruism can perhaps be best understood by looking at some altruistic behaviors of the animal kingdom — take for example bird species that have a danger warning cry. In the event of danger, the birds closest to the predator will sound the alarm warning others while also giving up their positions, putting themselves in danger. Altruism is pure selflessness, where the altruistic person places the wellbeing of others above all else, even at the expense of personal safety.

In society, altruism and philanthropy are often spoken of interchangeably, but actually vary greatly. Consider philanthropy as a passion, something you do because you feel strongly about the lives of others and want to make a difference. On the other hand, altruism is more of a way of life, where the desire to be selfless and help others dictates your life and guides your path.  

The drive to be selfless influences what career altruists have, their home location, their lifestyles, and their salary, as their focus is outward rather than inward. Altruists are often driven towards high-impact, high salary careers, though unlike others they do not do it for the personal payout. The more they earn means the more they can donate or put toward causes they want to benefit; the more power and clout they accrue, the more leverage they have to make a difference.

Altruism is more than simply caring for others. It is more than helping out when you can and trying to remember to incorporate volunteering into your life once a year. Altruism is dedicating your life to being selfless and being constantly on the lookout for lives you can better and change you can effect.

Why People Choose to Give

Many people in this world seek some form of altruism — whether it’s helping someone cross the street or volunteering to build shelter for the homeless, every good deed that is done makes a little bit of a difference. It may seem strange to some people, the idea of giving something for nothing, but everyone has their own reasons for getting out there and helping out. Here are just a few of the reasons why people choose to get involved.

  • They want to make a difference.
    • A lot of influential activists can pinpoint the exact moment that changed their lives, the one that made them choose to take up their cause and begin to spread awareness about a certain issue. Maybe it was a conversation with a man who was homeless that made them realize they wanted to help those who couldn’t help themselves; maybe it was the first time they realized just how much trash was ending up in the oceans that caused them to work towards clearing our waters. Whatever reason people have for being active and involved, they’re hoping to inspire change and fix a wrong or bring an issue to light.
  • They want to give back.
    • Everybody falls on rough times once in a while — it’s just the circle of life. So when people who are used to being on the bottom and trying to fight their way to the top get a hand that helps them rise up, they’re going to appreciate the kindness, remember the gesture, and likely try to do the same for someone else that was done for them. Like the expression, “pay it forward,” some people are inspired by the help they were given during dark times and seek to help others as well.
  • It makes them feel good.
    • One of the most ‘selfish’ reasons why people volunteer is that they like how it feels when they help people. Studies have shown that giving to others causes the same hormones and chemicals to be released in the brain that are released when we eat junk food or do something pleasure. Further research and studies have shown the numerous health benefits that giving has on the giver, including lower blood pressure, less stress, and an overall increased sense of wellbeing.

Whatever the reason why people choose to give, the important thing is that they’re working to better their community and the lives of those around them. Look for ways you can start helping out in your local area and start giving back, too!

The 4 Most Charitable Businesses in America

American businesses rely on their consumer base for their profits and their livelihood. As a result, many choose to give back to those who’ve supported them and look for ways to better not only their community, but the globe.

 

There are some companies who have gone simply above and beyond in their efforts to effect positive change. The 20 businesses on the Fortune 500 list who gave the most in 2015 gave a total of $3.5 billion dollars to help fund various initiatives and aid certain groups. Here are the top 4 charitable donators ranking on the 500 list.

  1. Gilead Sciences
    1. This biotech firm based in California is an active participant in global philanthropy, working to promote better health and lives around the world. In 2015, the company reported that a bulk of their giving went towards working on HIV/AIDS treatments as well as liver disease. Just a few years ago the company was ranked 250th on the Fortune 500 list, but over the past two years, since it broke into the Hepatitis C market, it has now risen to the 86th spot. In 2015, Gilead donated $446.7 million.
  2. Walmart
    1. You know it as the supercenter that stocks just about everything you could ever need, but Walmart is so much more than just a corporation. In 2015, it pledged to help retail workers increase their economic ability with a $100 million commitment, $10.9 million of which went towards nonprofit organizations that specifically help those working in retail operations. Walmart continues to hold the top position on the 500 list, and gave $301 million in 2015.
  3. Wells Fargo
    1. This financial institution gets its employees involved with community work and volunteering by offering them two days a year to volunteer during paid leave. In 2015 they also donated $25 million to a nonprofit that supports financial education called NeighborWorks. Their aim is to donate between 1.2% and 1.5% of its total profits each year, and in 2015 Wells Fargo donated $281.3 million. They’re currently holding the 27th spot on the Forbes 500 list.
  4. Goldman Sachs Group
    1. Goldman Sachs’ giving has increased over the past decade largely in part to the efforts of Dina Powell, former member of the George W. Bush administration and current Deputy National Security Advisor to President Trump. She joined their team in 2007 to take charge of the corporation’s philanthropic endeavors and social investments. Goldman Sachs is currently 74th on the Forbes list and gave $276.4 million in 2015.

How to Get Your Business Involved in Giving

As a business, you exist in a symbiotic relationship with the community that surrounds you. The community supported you and assisted you as you were in the process of growing, and eventually it’s your turn to return the favor. There are countless ways for your company to get involved; it’s up to you to decide how to best give back in a way that will make your employees feel more connected to the business and the community as a whole. Here are just a few ways to get your team involved.

  • Employee volunteer days.
    • Plan large events and gatherings that will bring your employees together in pursuit of a common goal. Take a day once a quarter to go clean up up an overgrown cemetery in the community, rake leaves in the park, volunteer at a nursing home, or find another way you can best help your community.
  • Clean up the roads.
    • Although the littering rate has dropped 61% over the past 40 years here in the United States, we’re still producing more than a quarter million tons trash each year. While it’s unlikely you and your staff alone have the time and resources to clean the entire ocean or reduce your city’s carbon footprint, you can make a difference at home by helping to clean up the litter and trash in your community. As a business, you could Adopt a Highway and take a day or two each year to walk alongside the road and clean up the trash gets tossed from car windows. You could also potentially save a fellow commuter a lot of financial burden and stress; just take a look at the damage bottles, cans, and plastic bags can cause.
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
    • Food is one of the most basic human needs, but for some people constant access to it is a luxury that they do not have. That’s why community food banks exist; to make sure people who are struggling to make ends meet are able to put food on the table for their families. Have a day each week when employees go volunteer a few at a time on rotation. Organize food drives to collect more resources for the banks. Find ways that you can relieve the burdens the organization feels.
  • Sponsor a charity.
    • Do your employees have incentives for reaching their goals each month? Each quarter? Do you set aside money for company happy hours or bonding exercises? Why not set aside one quarter’s earnings to sponsor a charity? Have the employees decide collectively which charity to give to and set a goal to reach; benefiting a cause they’ve chosen to help will be their incentive to work hard and meet goals over the next three months.