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Philanthropy Wired Newsletter

Philanthropy Wired: June 2021

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Good Trouble, Barriers and Blind Spots

To some extent all in the nonprofit industry whether on the giving or getting side, are activists, attempting to make a difference, or, in the immortal words of John Lewis, attempting to get into “good trouble.”

With voting rights in the news, Pride Month upon us, and now working with our client, the Green Party of Canada, I have been reflecting on the coalitions in my past that have come together to make “good trouble.” In fact, a coalition created around these very same issues came together in the early 90’s when Coretta Scott King, author, activist, civil right leader and the wife of Martin Luther King Jr., Ralf Neas, Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and the Human Rights Campaign Fund (HRCF) joined forces along with numerous other organizations in Washington D. C. and across the U.S. to focus on civil rights writ large. I led the fundraising at HRCF at the time and was awestruck by the skill and ability of King and Neas to bring disparate groups together. The lessons learned from their deft strategy have stayed with me since. My biggest takeaway from that experience? Successful coalitions are based on the universal concept and pragmatic principles behind inclusion, and expanding the circle of support, not restricting, or contracting it.

Our featured article this month by Senior Associate Warren Davis entitled Dependency Quotient speaks to the intrinsic challenges of pipeline management and the barriers and blind spots which impact long term growth and sustainability. The lesson is resonant with the pragmatic principles of inclusion, expanding the circle of support, and indeed coalition building. As tempting as it might be to focus time, talent, and resources on the top of the pyramid, or a select few, this strategy negatively impacts sustained long-term fundraising success.

So, whether it’s voting rights, a social movement, or building a pipeline of constituents to support a nonprofit, focus-on-and-expand, don’t neglect, the circle of engagement. After all, the goal is to empower all to make an impact and enable “good trouble.” I invite you to join us. We stand ready to serve and can be reached directly through our website, or directly at SSutton@SSutton-and-associates.com.

Together we’re better,

Susan

Welcome Orlando Ballet!

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. welcomes Orlando Ballet to our roster of clients! Orlando Ballet entertains, educates, and enriches through the highest quality of dance.

The Performing Arts Company of Florida

Orlando Ballet began in 1974 as The Performing Arts Company of Florida and was started with twelve young, non-paid dancers and only $4,000. In 1978, the Company changed its name to Southern Ballet Theatre and began performing at the Bob Carr Theater.

The company now performs at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Since 2009, the Company has been under the creative expertise of Artistic Director, Robert Hill. Hill is a former principal dancer with American Ballet Theater®, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden and the New York City Ballet. He has taught for American Ballet Theatre®, the ABT® Studio Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and for companies where he creates and stages his work. Today, Orlando Ballet is Central Florida’s only fully residential professional ballet company. More than 100,000 captivated theatregoers, residents and visitors, are spellbound by the originality, vitality and spirit that have earned the organization its critically acclaimed reputation. Orlando Ballet produces year-round Main Stage productions featuring meticulous staging of timeless masterpieces and innovative contemporary world premieres, its annual The Nutcracker, performance lecture demonstrations, and enrichment programs. Orlando Ballet employs a full-time professional Company of 25 national and international dancers. Combined with extraordinary costumes, sets and lighting design, the Company achieves the highest level of professionalism and artistic excellence. Additionally, Orlando Ballet supports pre-professional dancers through Orlando Ballet II.

Orlando Ballet School

Orlando Ballet School is only one of four professional national training academies accredited by American Ballet Theatre®.

It attracts more than 1,200 local and international students and in 2018, was named “Outstanding School” at the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix. The School’s two campuses provide year-round professional ballet training, as well as performance and touring opportunities, summer intensive training, workshops and master classes, and teacher training programs. Graduates of Orlando Ballet School have pursued professional careers with major dance institutions including American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Paul Taylor Dance Company.

Arts Education and Community Enrichment

Orlando Ballet’s philosophy is that every child who wants to dance or experience dance be provided the opportunity. Arts education and enrichment activities are annual priorities. Programs include STEPS for underserved low-income second and third graders, Come Dance With Us!, a program for children with varying abilities, Intro to Ballet for more than 16,000 public school students to attend performances, and scholarship assistance for those in need.

Warren Davis has over 25 years of experience as a development professional during which time he developed a unique combination of project management, cross-functional team leadership, and cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship skills, resulting in a personal track record of over $100 million dollars raised. Warren has held leadership roles at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the University of Chicago Smart Museum of Art, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Arizona Science Center.

Warren holds a Bachelor of Art’s degree in Theatre History from Arizona State University, a Certificate in Art of Leadership from Northwestern University, and a Master of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies from DePaul University.

Fundraising Area of Expertise: Warren’s predominant expertise is in Development Program Review and Expansion Strategies, where he specializes in nonprofits experiencing major growth in their life cycle and/or in need of revitalization. He has a deep understanding of Annual Giving and Direct Marketing, Board Training, Management and Governance, Project Management, and Risk Management and Fundraising Governance.

Sector Experience: Arts and Culture, Education, Healthcare, Community Based Membership and Advocacy.

Warren’s Fundraising Must Have: Focus on mission, collaboration and results!

Dependency Quotient

According to a recent study by the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, renewal of smaller gifts is down. This study was highlighted in a Washington Post article that noted “the number of donors fell 4.5 percent last year.” However total giving year over year was slightly up. What gives? Well, it seems that organizations are concentrating on the top of the pyramid while ignoring the bottom. Exploring this, Senior Associate Warren Davis shares an interesting and pragmatic take on pipeline management and strategic annual giving and direct marketing programs in his article the Dependency Quotient.

Annual Giving and Direct Marketing

A successful annual giving and direct marketing effort is critical to the long-term health of any fundraising operation. S. Sutton & Associates Inc. can partner with you to create a road map for success to build strong programs through our holistic approach enabling increased engagement and growth in annual, mid-level major and planned gifts.

Program review, staffing and revenue and expense analysis along with data analytics and segmentation are key to developing strategies to acquire new annual donors, steward and retain current donors, and upgrade donors to higher levels of giving.

Program review includes comprehensive review of materials, annual giving data, and in-depth analysis of specific program areas such as: leadership and mid-level programs, reunion/class agent programs, volunteer engagement, direct marketing (mail, phone programs and online giving), social media strategy, young alumni and student philanthropy, parent giving, faculty/staff campaigns, grateful patient programs, recognition/stewardship of annual donors; and integration of annual giving and alumni/constituent relations.

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. has the technical expertise to work with your team to maximize your potential. Schedule a 30-minute complimentary consultation today, and in just a 30-minute call receive invaluable, actionable advice and much more.

Welcome new Associates!

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. is a global network of consultants providing customized Innovation Teams of subject experts with specific technical expertise to help nonprofit organizations and philanthropists maximize their philanthropic efforts and achieve significant impact. This month we welcome:

Eric Saarvala, Senior Associate

With more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, and in corporate social responsibility, Eric Saarvala, MBA, CSR-P, G. Dipl. SR&S, specializes in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and has additional significant expertise in Advancement Services, Alumni Relations and Giving, Counsel and Support for Philanthropists and Risk Management and Fundraising Governance.

Previous experience includes: Strategic Account Executive, CSR, Employee Engagement, Foundations & Nonprofit Solutions for Blackbaud, Advisor to Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR), Manager, Charitable Foundation Services, Scotiatrust, Scotia Private Client Group, Scotiabank and Associate Director Donations Management, Division of University Advancement, University of Toronto.

Eric holds a BA in French and an Executive MBA from the Western University Ivey Business School, a Graduate Diploma in Social Responsibility & Sustainability from the University of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto ,and was designated as a Certified Corporate Social Responsibility Practitioner by the Centre for Sustainability & Excellence.

Eric is an in-demand thought leader in CSR/sustainability, philanthropy and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He sits on the Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR) Education Foundation Board of Directors and is a member of the Imagine Canada Board of Directors’ Risk Management, Finance and Audit Committee.

Jessica Lunken, Senior Associate

With close to three decades of experience in non-profit leadership, Jessica Lunken has earned a reputation as an engaged and thoughtful program builder serving mission-driven organizations. She has a successful track record in raising major and principal gifts, building development and grateful-patient programs, and helping lead multi-billion-dollar campaigns.

Jessica’s work at Johns Hopkins University spanned two plus decades where she served as the Associate Dean for External Relations at the Peabody Institute, was a founding Director of Development for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Associate Director of Development for the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Jessica has also served in various fundraising capacities for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony, Johns Hopkins University Press, the American Dance Festival, the Jewish Center for Aging in Greater Washington and Beth Am Synagogue.

Jessica received her Bachelor’s in Arts in Psychology from Indiana University, her Master’s in Business Administration from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, and certificates from the Creative Education Foundation for problem-solving, facilitation, and creativity.

Webinar Series

Georgia Spiliotopoulos, in her capacity as Business Development Strategist, has brought together a terrific team of Associates –– Tiffany Rosso, Debbie Flinn, Randy Gorod, Tracy Woodard, Jeanne Bray, and Eric Saarvala –– to curate and create webinars for our clients and to develop a series for the general public.

Each is available as a stand-alone or as part of a series, and available for individuals, small groups, or organization/companywide attendees. Optional mentoring and coaching sessions, provided by the presenter, are offered to complement each, providing additional support.

Catalogue of Topics

Presented by Dr. Tracy Woodard:

  • Principles of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) through an Institutional and Systemic Lens
  • How Categories of Difference become Systems of Inequities
  • Identifying and Eliminating Inequities
  • Empowering Women in the Workplace

Presented by Randy Gorod:

  • Practical Guide to Navigating Challenging Times in the Development World Bringing Development into the Virtual World
  • Organization Assessment and Realizing Your Staff’s Need for Coaching and Mentoring

Presented by Jeanne Bray:

  • Logic Models for Strategic Planning

Presented by Debbie Flinn:

  • Philanthropy Basics & Setting Up Gift Cycles (different types of gifts including grants, corporate, annual, online, SMS, Major Gifts and Planned Giving and finding prospects, development cycle)
  • Diversification of Gifts (don’t put all your eggs in one basket)
  • Maximizing Major Gifts
  • Board Training
  • Grant Writing
  • Volunteer Management
  • Communications Touchpoints and Story Telling
  • Making the ASK
  • Donor Retention and Engagement strategies
  • Stewardship
  • Strategic Planning
  • Major and Principal Gifts – getting started, maximizing, and course-correcting
  • Philanthropy Risk Toolkit
  • Giving Circles and Mid-Level Clubs
  • Women and Philanthropy
  • Data-Driven Campaign Planning

Presented by Tiffany Rosso:

  • Getting Back to the Office, HR/Liability Considerations
  • Emerging trends in Philanthropy
  • Virtual Fundraising Trends

Presented by Eric Saarval:

  • Digital Technology and Transformation, the Future of Philanthropy

Please contact Georgia Spiliotopoulos for additional information if you are interested in scheduling a webinar for yourself or your team.

Africa

– The Mastercard Foundation announced a $1.3 billion donation to boost Africa’s response to the coronavirus, which public health experts hailed as a significant step to get vaccines to some of the world’s poorest people. “Ensuring equitable access and delivery of vaccines across Africa is urgent,” Reeta Roy, the foundation’s chief executive, said in a statement. “This initiative is about valuing all lives and accelerating the economic recovery of the continent.” The funding, which will be distributed over three years in partnership with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is intended to help acquire vaccines for more than 50 million of the continent’s 1.3 billion people, improve its vaccine manufacturing and delivery system, and strengthen public health institutions.

East and South Asia

– Meituan founder Wang Xing has donated a $2.3 billion stake in the Chinese food delivery giant to his own philanthropic foundation, joining other internet billionaires in giving back as Beijing mounts a crackdown on the tech sector. Meituan’s chairman and chief executive officer transferred 57.3 million shares to the organization, the company said. That’s about a 10th of the billionaire’s stake in the company, worth HK$17.6 billion ($2.27 billion) based on its last close.

Europe

– A Group of Seven plan to donate 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries lacks ambition, is far too slow and shows Western leaders are not yet on top of tackling the worst public health crisis in a century, according to campaigners. While the head of the United Nations welcomed the move, even he said more was needed. Antonio Guterres warned that if people in developing countries were not inoculated quickly, the virus could mutate further and become resistant to the new vaccines. “We need more than that,” he said of the G7 plan. “We need a global vaccination plan. We need to act with a logic, with a sense of urgency, and with the priorities of a war economy, and we are still far from getting that.”

– The European Union and an energy investment program founded by Bill Gates plan to raise up to $1 billion to roll out the low-carbon technologies Europe is betting on to meet its climate change goals. The partnership would see Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy use private capital and philanthropic funds to match funding provided by the EU. The aim is to together provide up to 820 million euros, or $1 billion, from 2022 to 2026. Support will target hydrogen produced from renewable energy, sustainable aviation fuels, technology to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere, and long-duration energy storage.

North America

– Apple Inc. announced that it will give $5 million to four historically Black universities to help expand their engineering programs for designing the chips that power electronic devices. Apple said the $5 million will be spread across Alabama A&M University, Howard University, in Washington, D.C., Morgan State University, in Baltimore, and Prairie View A&M University, in Texas, over three years. The money comes from Apple’s broader racial justice initiative, which it announced last year with $100 million in initial funding. The grants will support each school’s engineering departments and seek to focus expanding course work in fields like computing architecture and designing chips. The money will also support fellowships and internships in hardware technologies, Apple said.

– Western Michigan University has received a $550 million gift from a group of alumni, a record for a public university that more than doubles the school’s endowment. The foundation for the Kalamazoo, Mich., university will get $200 million earmarked for the main university, $300 million for its medical school and $50 million for athletics. The money will fund scholarships, medical research, student support programs and more, the school said. The donors have requested to remain anonymous. “The size and impact of this gift will generate opportunities not just for this year, not just for next year but will catalyze opportunities that will change the condition and transform lives for generations to come,” said President Edward Montgomery.

– A campaign to establish a chair in Tamil studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough – the first of its kind in Canada – has reached its $3-million philanthropic goal. More than 3,800 donors gave to the grassroots campaign, which was spearheaded by the Canadian Tamil Congress and Tamil Chair Inc. in 2018. Since then, individuals, businesses, governments and community organizations have pitched in with support. While most of the donors are local to Scarborough and the eastern Greater Toronto Area, the campaign also generated support from as far away as France, Australia and Malaysia.

– Billionaire MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has donated another $2.7bn (£1.9bn) to a range of charities. Ms Scott said in a blog post that she wanted to give the money to those “that have been historically underfunded and overlooked”. She wrote that she had chosen 286 organizations working on racial inequality, the arts and education.

– A Colorado couple is donating $25 million to a capital campaign for Maine Medical Center, the state’s largest hospital. The largest single donation to the hospital comes from John and Leslie Malone, who spend summers in Boothbay Harbor. Leslie Malone recently received cardiac care at the hospital. “We were very impressed by the level of care that Leslie received at Maine Medical Center,” John Malone said in a statement. “We believe strongly in supporting healthcare innovation, and ensuring that all who call Maine home have access to world-class care.” The donation will go to the hospital’s $150 million capital improvement program. A new tower for cardiac and vascular service, which will be named for the Malones, will consolidate the hospital’s cardiac and vascular care into one building. It will feature modern surgery space and 64 patient beds.

– The Eccles name is already ubiquitous on the University of Utah’s campus, from its David Eccles School of Business to its football team’s Rice-Eccles Stadium. With its biggest single gift yet, the family is now adding the Spencer F. Eccles School of Medicine to its collection. Two of the family’s foundations announced that they’re partnering to give $110 million to the university’s medical school to support the construction of a new 248,000-square foot building and bolster its endowment and research funding. The school will be named for Spencer Fox Eccles, the 86-year-old third-generation patriarch and former chairman and CEO of banking company First Security Corporation, which Wells Fargo acquired for $2.9 billion in 2000.

– Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and his wife, Renee, will donate $4 million to Maryland’s historically Black universities to create scholarships for 80 graduates of Baltimore City Public Schools, a gift described as “life-changing” by university leaders and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott. The scholarship program, paired with a $400,000 donation to the CollegeBound Foundation, will carry the name of longtime Ravens executive Ozzie Newsome, the first Black general manager in NFL history. “We embrace the responsibility of discovering ways to strengthen educational opportunities for the youth of Baltimore City,” Steve Bisciotti said in a statement. “Any positive impact that can be made to help students — especially in the pursuit of a college education and their career goals — only strengthens our community as a whole.”

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Philanthropy Wired Newsletter

Philanthropy Wired: May 2021

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Orbiting Decisions in the New Normal

Response to the global pandemic and uneven economic recovery by jurisdiction, from small to large impacts us all, and for practitioners in the nonprofit and nongovernmental organization arenas, both from the organizational perspective and the philanthropist’s perspective, every decision in the new normal requires practitioners to “orbit” decisions from an infinitely more complicated variety of angles.

One could argue that given the complexity of the angles to consider, the question becomes one of focus and concentration, but an intriguing article by Marcel Schwantes profiles the principals of “how to think,” not “what to think” espoused by Mike Hayes, former commanding officer of Navy SEAL Team Two and author of Never Enough: A Navy Seal Commander on Living a Life of Excellence, Agility, and Meaning.

According to Hayes, by focusing on the process by which we make decisions, instead of trying to predict the details of any particular high-stakes choice, we can articulate principles that lead to good answers no matter what question we face and set up organizations to thrive even through the toughest crises.

The principals:

  • All high-stakes decisions are fundamentally the same. Good thinking is good thinking.
  • Get the broadest range of inputs possible. Embrace differing opinions, don’t run from them.
  • Emphasize the signal over the noise. Make sure all communications are actionable, rather than just a distraction.
  • The first decision is when to make the decision. Look for the inflection point where it’s more valuable to go ahead and make the decision than to wait for more knowledge.
  • Bring your values to bear in every decision you make and stand behind every decision you make.

Kumar Mehta complements this thinking with the 1% marginal gains rule – that people who are mentally tough and successful at what they do, while setting big goals, improve using systemic and surgical precision, understanding the cumulative effects of small changes lead to significant outcomes.

The implication is that 1% improvement in a host of tiny areas results in “micro excellence”. When applied to an organization or ecosystem it creates contagious enthusiasm, becomes part of the culture and philosophy shared by a team and a goal in every aspect of the environment.

So, while every decision in the new normal requires all of us, and particularly practitioners in the nonprofit and nongovernmental arenas to “orbit” decisions from an infinitely more complicated variety of angles, it’s not what you think, but how you think. In fact, applying a renewed commitment to the basics is the topic of Sourdough and Development, penned by Associate Randy Gorod below.

We welcome your thoughts and questions and stand ready to assist with any aspect of your philanthropic journey. I invite you to contact me directly or take advantage of our complimentary consultation.

Together we’re better,
Susan

Welcome Green Party of Canada!

Building on our client relationship with the Green Party of the U.S., S. Sutton & Associates Inc. is thrilled to welcome the Green Party of Canada (GPOC) as a new client! It’s an exciting time to work with leader Annamie Paul and the entire team leading to the fall election. We fully anticipate our work conducting a development program review and the subsequent plan to expand strategies will result in fundraising moving forward further and faster in preparation for the upcoming campaign, positioning GPOC for sustained strength beyond the campaign and into the future.

The Green Party of Canada (French: Parti vert du Canada) is a federal political party in Canada that was founded in 1983 focused on green politics. Green politics, or ecopolitics, is a political ideology that aims to foster an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism, nonviolence, social justice and grassroots democracy. It began taking shape in the western world in the 1970s; since then, 149 Green parties have developed and established themselves in 99 countries around the globe and have achieved significant electoral success.

The political term green was used initially in relation to die Grünen (German for “the Greens”), a green party formed in the late 1970s. The term political ecology is sometimes used in academic circles, but it has come to represent an interdisciplinary field of study as the academic discipline offers wide-ranging studies integrating ecological social sciences with political economy in topics such as degradation and marginalization, environmental conflict, conservation and control and environmental identities and social movements.

Supporters of green politics share many ideas with the conservation, environmental, feminist and peace movements. In addition to democracy and ecological issues, green politics is concerned with civil liberties, social justice, nonviolence, sometimes variants of localism and tends to support social progressivism. Green party platforms are largely considered left in the political spectrum.

Our network of Associates stands ready to assist to and your organization with Development Program Review and Expansion Strategies. Contact us directly or take advantage of our complimentary consultation.

Meet S. Sutton & Associates Inc. Senior Associate Randy Gorod. With more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Randy specializes in working with diverse clients in education, arts and culture, and community-based membership and advocacy organizations. Randy has served as Associate Vice President for Israel and Global Philanthropy at The Jewish Agency for Israel, Director of Major Gifts at Emory University, and President of Pisgah Consulting. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications and a master’s degree in Student Personnel Administration from Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Randy’s fundraising must have: A connection to the Mission and a willingness to build it for the long-term.

Sourdough and Development

The new normal evolves as our personal and professional lives are impacted by the varying stages of the pandemic and economic recovery. Everything is being recalibrated. With that in mind, Senior Associate Randy Gorod penned Sourdough and Development. The message behind the metaphor: Return to the fundamentals.

Major and Principal Gifts

Major and principal gifts represent an essential method of fundraising for institutions which have developed a cohort of donors who have been solicited and stewarded on a regular basis, albeit at lower levels. Though not exclusively, the vast majority of large gifts to an institution come from individuals already in its donor database. To be successful generating major and principal gifts, a constellation of relationships must be built over time between a prospect or donor, the institution, volunteer leaders, subject experts and the gift officer who acts as the facilitator. All interactions are designed to engage, elicit and share information and create understanding of the impact of a potential commitment.

Major and principal gifts take time to cultivate and often evolve from small gifts to the annual fund. We can help your team assess its readiness and develop capacity in major gifts staff and volunteers, analyze your major gift portfolio, and apply best practices that blend well with your overall fundraising enterprise.

Our Associates can also assist you to create structures of engagement to involve prospects in greater depth in your institution’s mission and priorities as well as effective structures to engage volunteers with prospect identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship. Schedule a complimentary consultation today and in just a 30-minute call receive invaluable, actionable advice and much more.

Welcome new Associates!

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. is a global network of consultants providing customized Innovation Teams of subject experts with specific technical expertise to help nonprofit organizations and philanthropists maximize their philanthropic efforts and achieve significant impact. This month we welcome:

Cornelius Hubbard Sr., Associate

A data scientist with project management and programming experience in public, private and nonprofit environments, Cornelius Hubbard Sr. specializes in: Data Analytics. Currently serving as Associate Director of Analytics for Johns Hopkins University, Cornelius has also served as Senior Data Analyst for Johns Hopkins University, and Decision Scientist for Meeting & Events International. Cornelius graduated from the University of Chicago with a MSc, Master of Science in Analytics, holds a Master’s in Information Systems from Robert Morris University Illinois, and a BA in Organizational Development & Leadership from Loyola University Chicago. Cornelius has completed Executive Certificates in Financial Management from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and holds a Certificate of Executive Data Science Specialization from Johns Hopkins through Coursera.

Joan Ogwumike, Junior Associate

Joan Ogwumike has extensive skills in prospect strategy and engagement, major and principal gift research, proactive research, and portfolio analysis, which she is putting to good use as Prospect Research Associate at the Obama Foundation (title and affiliation provided for identification purposes only). Over her career, Joan has held the role of development professional and then prospect researcher at organizations focused on civic engagement, youth empowerment, higher education, and culture and humanities, including University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Mikva Challenge, Forest Preserve District Cook County, the Heartland Institute and Partners for Sacred Places. Joan earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication with a concentration in Journalism from Purdue University, Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield, and a certification in Philanthropic Psychology from the Institute of Sustainable Philanthropy.

Georgia Spiliotopoulous, Junior Associate

Georgia Spiliotopoulos is an accomplished Strategic Consultant and Data Analyst, who helps mission-driven organizations leverage the power of their data to maximize impact and exceed their fundraising goals. She has worked across a variety of business sectors and diverse industries in North America and Europe in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors including the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, where she served as an International Legal Analyst & Researcher, Simon Frazer University as Prospect Research Strategist and the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation as Prospect Researcher and Data Manager. Georgia is known for her ability to collaborate with stakeholders at all levels, while tactfully bridging gaps in knowledge and perspective. She’s a creative thinker and results-focused problem solver, described by many as a key strategic disruptor.  Georgia holds a Master of Law from the University of Amsterdam, Bachelor of Arts from Simon Fraser University, and a Data Science Specialization from Johns Hopkins University.

Tracy Woodard, Senior Associate

With more than twenty-seven years of experience in higher education, Dr. Tracy Woodard is a visionary leader who specializes in data analytics with a focus on emphasizing diversity, equity, and inclusion principles in daily operations and organizational missions. Some of her previous experience has included Dean of the Communications and Humanities Division at Tallahassee Community College, Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program at Valdosta State University, and Professor of Sociology at Valdosta State University. Tracy graduated from Florida State University with a Ph.D. in Human Sciences. She has been recognized for her service on non-profit boards and volunteer efforts in the community.

Client Profile and Testimonial

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. was honored to develop a Strategic Plan and subsequent Fundraising Plan for POV 3rd Street, a Toronto-based organization devoted to helping marginalized youth break into the media industry through training, mentorship, job placement and professional development opportunities. The Strategic Plan resulted in strategies to strengthen operational performance and governance, specific recommendations to improve donor engagement and retention, and enhance marketing and communications campaigns and functions. The Development Plan focused on three key areas: (1) Enhancing back-office operations by putting the systems, tools, and processes in place to fundraise more effectively; (2) Staffing and training recommendations both in-house and for the Board of Directors; and (3) Recommendations to maximize current donors and grow the donor base. After conducting a comprehensive assessment of current programs, marketing campaigns, and development procedures, S. Sutton & Associates Inc. provided 36 targeted recommendations to improve POV 3rd Street’s revenue-generating results ranked according to priority level with recommended timelines for completion.

“We hired S. Sutton & Associates Inc. first, to develop a Strategic Plan. Executive Associate Georgina Steinsky helped us learn how to create the plan for our organization. She didn’t just come in and do the work for us, she helped us understand the steps needed to complete the job. She was there every step of the way to step in, give suggestions and advise us on approaches.

Later that year, we re-hired S. Sutton & Associates Inc. to develop a fundraising strategy. This experience was amazing because it brought a group of nine subject experts in different fields to the table to brainstorm ideas and approaches. This was very innovative and brought many perspectives. It made the experience fruitful and created clear value.”

– Agapi Gessesse, Former Executive Director, POV 3rd Street; Executive Director, CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals

Africa

– Billionaire biotech entrepreneur and owner of the Los Angeles Times, Patrick Soon-Shiong, announced he would be committing around $210 million to transfer the latest vaccine-producing technologies and biological therapies to his home country of South Africa. Soon-Shiong said in his announcement that companies in South Africa could use his donation to produce the next generation of vaccines that may be more effective against the variants present in the country.

EAST AND SOUTH ASIA

– Vitalik Buterin, the 27-year-old founder of Ethereum, donated cryptocurrency worth $1 billion to support Covid-19 relief work in India, possibly the single-largest philanthropic contribution to help covid-stricken Indians from any country or individual. Buterin, the billionaire who founded the second-largest cryptocurrency in the world after Bitcoin, made the donation to the India Covid Crypto Relief Fund, run by Indian crypto entrepreneur Sandeep Nailwal.

– Amitabh Bachchan has donated Rs 2 crore and oxygen cylinders to Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Covid Care Centre at Rakab Ganj Gurdwara in Delhi. The president of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management committee Manjinder Singh Sirsa announced that operation at the facility with 300 beds began May 10. He thanked the veteran actor for his contribution and said that “Big B” and Sikh philanthropy is legendary.

– Salesforce founder Marc Benioff said that the cloud software company is sending a Boeing 787 plane loaded with medical supplies to India. “Salesforce is loading a 787 with medical supplies and will land it in India. All of our hearts and prayers are with our brothers and sisters in India. May they all be protected, healed, & blessed,” Benioff wrote on the microblogging platform Twitter.

– Indian-American billionaire businessman Vinod Khosla pledged US $10 million for the supply of medical oxygen to hospitals in India. This is in continuation with the Sun Microsystems co-founder’s efforts to fund hospitals for oxygen supplies amid a surge in COVID cases in the country. Taking to Twitter, he said there was a need to save lives as further delay may end up in more deaths. “For @GiveIndia this isn’t enough. They’ve received requests for 20,000 oxygen concentrators, 15,000 cylinders, 500 ICU beds, 100 ventilators, 10,000-beds COVID centres with requests coming from non-profits & hospitals all across India every day. We need to do a lot more urgently,” Khosla said.

– A self-made Chinese billionaire whose glass factory in the United States is featured in an Oscar-winning documentary plans to build a university focused on technology to nurture top-notch engineers. Cao Dewang of Hong Kong-listed Fuyao Glass is spending 10 billion yuan (US$1.54 billion) to establish the Fuyao University of Science and Technology near his hometown in Fujian province, echoing repeated calls in the country to reduce reliance on Western technology. The project is said to be only the nation’s second public university funded by private donations. In 1921, contributions from Chinese-born Singaporean businessperson Tan Kah Kee led to the building of an institution that later came to be the University of Xiamen.

– The Wall Street-headquartered alternative investment management giant Blackstone, which has over $20 billion in live-investments in the country, announced $5 million aid to help India to fight the raging coronavirus pandemic. The announcement by Stephen A Schwarzman, the founder and chairman of the fund, comes on the heels of close to 40 major American companies committing millions of dollars to help the country fight the pandemic which has been topping the infection list globally for a week with daily caseload remaining above 3.25 lakh mark for almost a week now.

– Mining firm Vedanta has said it will donate ₹150 crore to help India in its fight against the deadly coronavirus. The company said the amount is over and above ₹201 crore that was spent by Vedanta Group in 2020. “I am deeply concerned and anguished to see the impact of the second wave of COVID-19 and loss of precious lives. Vedanta Group has come forward to pledge ₹150 crore towards our commitment to fight the pandemic and we stand firmly with our people and the government at this difficult time,” Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal said.

MIDDLE EAST

– A Saudi Kingdom-wide campaign for charitable activities has been initiated on the National Platform for Charitable Work (Ehsan). The “Ehsan” platform has been developed by the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) as part of its efforts to support charitable giving in Saudi Arabia. The campaign, which will run throughout the month of Ramadan, aims to introduce the role of charitable giving (“Ehsan”) in promoting the values of charitable work among community members. It also seeks to activate the integrative role of SDAIA with various government agencies and sectors and empower the nonprofit sector and expand its impact on society as well as encourage social responsibility in the private sector.

North America

– Renowned international human rights advocacy organization Amnesty International has dramatically ended a four-year-long relationship with the University of Toronto over an ongoing controversy in which the institution is accused of not hiring a certain candidate due to her views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Scholar Valentina Azarova was up for the job of director of U of T’s International Human Rights Program (IHRP), and was apparently the “strong, unanimous and enthusiastic first choice” of the hiring team, said a Supreme Court justice who was probing the incident. But, some believed she was not granted the position due to the outside influences of a donor to the school, though an independent review concluded that this was not the case.

– Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN.O) issued its first sustainability bond, raising $1 billion to invest in renewable energy, clean transport, greener buildings and affordable housing. The world’s biggest company joins a growing list of debt issuers tapping the market for green and sustainable bonds, which is swelling as asset managers come under pressure from their investors to advance environmental, social and governance (ESG) causes. Global green bond issuance reached a record high of $270 billion at the end of 2020 and could reach $450 billion this year, according to Climate Bonds Initiative.

– Billionaire philanthropist and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has donated $150 million to Johns Hopkins University to address the underrepresentation of certain minorities in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. The donation will endow the Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative, which is named for the renowned Black scientist who developed a cardiac surgery technique at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1940s. The Initiative will fund 100 new slots across the university’s more than 30 STEM programs for diverse Ph.D. students. The funds also will help build a path for students from historically Black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions to pursue doctoral degrees in STEM fields. Partner institutions include Morgan State University and University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

– One big hurdle to treating mental health issues is the reluctance across much of society to talk about them—whether it’s eating disorders or schizophrenia or any other mental illness. John Pritzker, a San Francisco billionaire, and his former wife, Lisa Stone Pritzker, are doing their part to change that: They are donating nearly $60 million to construct a state-of-the-art psychiatry building for U.C. San Francisco adjacent to the university’s campus in the city’s Mission Bay neighborhood. The building will be home to researchers, interdisciplinary academics and mental health services for patients of all ages.

– Billionaire Jared Isaacman, Founder and CEO of credit card processing business Shift4 Payments, has filled the two remaining spots on the first all-civilian crew to fly to space aboard Elon Musk‘s SpaceX Dragon. Isaacman revealed Dr Sian Proctor, a community college educator in Tempe, Arizona, and Chris Sembroski, a former Air Force missile man from Everett, Washington, will join him and Hayley Arceneaux for three days in orbit in the third quarter of this year. Isaacman, who is paying for the flight, wants to raise US $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, half of which the 38-year-old said he would donate himself.

– There has never been a better argument for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) than the devastating global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. WHO estimates that more than 100 million people around the world are pushed into poverty every year because of healthcare costs. Fintech brings new and improved digital financial service models into the healthcare space. Fintech companies are leveraging powerful innovations such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to eliminate the inefficiencies and knowledge gaps that exist in our current systems. This is the topic of a new whitepaper, “Breaking the health-poverty trap: How fintech can improve access to healthcare in Asia” co-authored by ACCESS Health International initiative Fintech for Health and the MetLife Foundation.

– Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk offered inventors $100 million in prize money to develop ways to fight global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or ocean. In January, Musk announced his intention to offer $100 million in prizes and set out the contest rules on Earth Day. What organizers called the “largest incentive prize in history” will last for four years through Earth Day, 2025.

– If the price of Bitcoin were to reach $200,000, Coinbase Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong observed recently, half of the world’s billionaires would be crypto billionaires. Even at the lesser valuations that currently prevail, this crypto wealth has vast potential to reshape philanthropy. One theory is to expect a relative decline in the influence of longstanding nonprofit institutions — to be replaced by more stand-alone projects. Bitcoin itself is stand-alone project. The true identity of its inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto, is still unknown, and the broader Bitcoin ecosystem is not owned or controlled by any company or institution. It has been self-sustaining since the beginning, and so it should hardly come as a surprise that Bitcoin billionaires take Bitcoin itself as a model for future institutions, including in philanthropy.

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Philanthropy Wired Newsletter

Philanthropy Wired – April 2021

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Agency: The Power of One

One of the most compelling pieces of evidence which led to the conviction of former Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd was the video seen around the world, taken by then-17-year-old Darnella Frazier. The recorded cellphone video, uploaded to Facebook in May of 2020, ignited international protests over racism and police abuse. Individual agency led to collective agency, creating an inflection point in society.

Why is this relevant to the theme of this month’s Philanthropy Wired, Powering Fundraising through Data Analytics? We are experiencing a moment in time. The coincidence of societal shifts, emergent technologies and the COVID pandemic have caused us to reconstruct our models and vehicles for engagement. We are open to things once not considered, access to new perspectives, and indeed, the democratization of the philanthropic space. All of this can be powered through data analytics.

When properly applied, data analytics of a prospect/donor file, can help define the North Star for an organization, create an understanding of its current coordinates relative to its North Star, and can democratize the file. Preserving and enhancing individual agency through the opportunity to engage, learn, participate, and maximize giving, a single individual can make a difference, and the result is collective agency and enhanced impact.

Given the importance of this aspect of our craft we are pleased to welcome to the firm two experts in Data Analytics, new Associates Georgia Spiliotopoulos and Cornelius Hubbard Sr. MScA, MIS.

Georgia holds a Master of Law from the University of Amsterdam, Bachelor of Arts from Simon Fraser University, and a Data Science Specialization from Johns Hopkins University.  

Cornelius is a graduate of the University of Chicago with a MSc, Master of Science in Analytics, holds a Master’s in Information Systems from Robert Morris University Illinois, a BA in Organizational Development & Leadership from Loyola University Chicago, and a Certificate of Executive Data Science Specialization from Johns Hopkins University.

We welcome your thoughts and questions regarding Data Analytics and how it can be applied to your program and stand ready to assist with any aspect of your philanthropic journey. I invite you to contact me directly or take advantage of our complimentary consultation.

Together we’re better,

Susan

Prolific Entrepreneur and Philanthropist James Fleck Joins Firm as Strategic Advisor

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. welcomes the addition of Dr. James Douglas Fleck, C.C., DBA, LLD (hon), DSL (hon), a prolific Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist, whose impact is felt globally, as our newest strategic advisor.

James D. Fleck is a highly respected entrepreneur, business leader, public servant, scholar, and philanthropist whose support and stewardship has changed the face of Canada’s arts and culture scene. He is currently recognized as a preeminent philanthropist and supporter of Canadian nonprofit organizations and cultural institutions.

Jim’s professional experience spans diverse sectors and industries, providing him with a strong background in business management, board governance, and executive leadership. Jim holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario and he earned a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from Harvard Business School as a Ford Foundation Fellow. After completing his education, Jim began his career by founding and serving as CEO and Chairman at Fleck Manufacturing Inc., which began as a small organization with fewer than 10 employees and grew, under Jim’s direction, into a large multi-million-dollar corporation. Building on his early success, Jim went on to hold the title of Director or Chairman for a number of companies in telecommunications, computer software, semiconductors, technology, and insurance including ATI Technologies, Alias Research, Noma Industries Ltd., Rogers Multimedia Inc., and Zurich Life Insurance Company of Canada.

As a public servant, Jim served as Chief Executive Officer of the Office of the Premier and Secretary of the Cabinet (Ontario), and he was appointed Deputy Minister of Industry and Tourism. He was also responsible as Executive Director of the Committee on Government Productivity for the reorganization of the Ontario Government. Much of Jim’s efforts in these capacities was geared towards streamlining operations, providing strategic direction, and improving collaboration and cooperation between business and government. At the same time, Jim has applied his policy expertise to strengthen Canada’s independent think tanks and nongovernmental organizations such as the Public Policy Forum and the Institute for Research on Public Policy. Jim’s cross-sector experience demonstrates his ability to build relationships and bridge gulfs that can divide or pit public and private sectors against one another.

Jim’s distinguished experiences as a business leader and public servant combined with his academic achievements meant that he was uniquely suited for a long and fruitful career in academia serving as Lecturer at Harvard Business School, Visiting Professor at the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD) and Keio University, Professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and York University where he was the founding Associate Dean of the Faculty of Administrative Studies (now the Schulich School of Business) and Director of the MBA and MPA programmes.

Owing to his deep respect for the arts as an indicator of a country’s quality of life and innovation, Jim has held many executive roles at leading Canadian nonprofit organizations over the years. In 1998, he chaired the first-ever Canadian Arts Summit, an annual event that continues to bring together Canada’s leading nonprofit executives, board members, and directors. He served as Chairman of Business for the Arts (currently Business / Arts) and was also Chairman of the Minister’s Advisory Council for Arts and Culture (Ontario). Other notable roles include President of the Art Gallery of Ontario Board of Trustees, founding President of the Power Plant at Harbourfront, and Chair to the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Museum of History (a Crown Corporation).

In addition to his executive leadership and management of nonprofit organizations and foundations, Jim has been widely recognized for cultivating Canada’s arts and culture sector as a philanthropist, collector, advocate, and fundraiser. He has generously provided resources and lent his expertise in support of the Arts Gallery of Ontario, the National Ballet of Canada, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront, Tennis Canada, Soulpepper Theatre Company, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and Tafelmusik, among many others. His contributions to Canadian cultural life and arts organizations and institutions has resulted in a number of awards and honours, including being appointed as Officer of the Order of Canada in 1997, and recently promoted in 2015 to Companion of the Order of Canada.

Maxine Given has more than 25 years of experience in higher education management, including 13 years as the Senior Director of Development Operations and Medical Annual Giving at the Fund for Johns Hopkins Medicine. She also serves on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Medical Philanthropy Summer Institute which exposes leaders in the field of medical philanthropy to the overarching model, tools, and practices that have contributed to the success of philanthropy at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Maxine is a Certified Public Accountant, received her Bachelor of Science Degree in accounting (summa cum laude) from the University of Maryland and is a candidate for a Master of Arts in Public Management at Johns Hopkins University.

Maxine’s fundraising must have: Every fundraising organization should be looking at their data in descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive ways, being able to describe what is happening, what is likely to happen and what should be happening. Ask us how we can help with Data Analytics.

Powering Fundraising Through Data Analytics

Technology continues to drive change and nonprofits are harnessing the power of technology through data analytics. Whether planning a capital campaign or boosting your annual giving program results, using your data to its full potential will help you achieve enhanced, more sustainable fundraising.

This article by S. Sutton & Associates Inc. Associate Maxine Given provides a great primer explaining how data analytics on your prospects/donor base can be descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive, and if properly interpreted, a useful tool to inform strategic planning, set goals and measure success.

Data analytics allows a more comprehensive picture of your prospects/donor base, patterns and correlations can predict donor response against various strategies, and when properly interpreted and harnessed, fundraising efforts can be more targeted, efficient, and effective.

No matter the stage of data analytics utilized by your organization S. Sutton & Associates Inc. can assist you in taking your program to the next level. Contact us today so we can be your guides and provide you with the right roadmap and right experts.

Data Analytics

Data is the modern-day equivalent of an Oracle or Holy Grail. Once harnessed, interpreted, and applied it serves as an invaluable tool to drive growth and success. S. Sutton & Associate Inc.’s team of consultants and analysts can help your institution achieve higher, more sustainable fundraising using data analytics.

The experts at S. Sutton & Associates Inc. focus on driving growth, gift optimization and acceleration, improving conversion rates, participation and engagement, unassigned prospect discovery, individual gift officer portfolio evaluation and realignment, gift officer metrics management and gift officer metrics dashboards.

Our consultants are adept in all aspects of marketing and communications related to organizational profile, development, and constituent engagement. Schedule a complimentary consultation and in just a 30-minute call receive invaluable, actionable advice and much more.

Client Profile and Testimonial

Formed in 2012 and influenced by the optimism and exigency that surrounded the Arab Spring movements, the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) guides states through the complications and challenges inherent to the negotiation process that occur during transitions from conflict to peace, from upheaval to stability, and from crisis to order. IFIT’s objective is to help bring about the individual and collective benefits of increased national stability, inclusiveness, and dynamism that arise from the increased cohesion and effectiveness of local and national policymakers and civil society leaders vis-à-vis the intended final beneficiaries (namely, affected populations). From its headquarters in Barcelona and with a regional presence in Bogotá, IFIT nurtures and facilitates the creation of global and local networks of policymakers, experts, practitioners, and influential civil society members who work together to negotiate peace and reconciliation in conflict zones around the world. IFIT has established itself as the leading international NGO focused on the integration of policymaking in contexts of negotiation and transition in fragile and conflict-affected states. It serves as an independent and impartial platform for generating creative, realistic, and principled ideas with the aim of expanding the range of perceived options available to advance peace, transitional justice, and reconciliation. The Institute’s global team of experts currently includes 25 fulltime and part-time staff, 25 Board and International Advisory Council members, and an additional 150 expert-practitioners belonging to its purpose-built thematic practice groups and in-country brain trusts.

“S. Sutton & Associates Inc. is top notch in every way. They take the time to understand the exact needs of the client and then deliver outstanding value for service, both in terms of big-picture strategy and attention to small detail. We had three successive engagements with them and were impressed time and again by their expertise and professionalism. I couldn’t recommend S. Sutton & Associates Inc. more highly.”

– Mark Freeman, Managing Director, Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT)

Europe

– The World Health Organization announced that a fund it launched a year ago to draw donations from individuals and companies towards battling the pandemic had raised nearly $250 million. Countries have pitched in billions of dollars to help the global fight against COVID-19, which has killed more than 2.6 million people since the first cases were detected in China in late 2019. But noting an eagerness among the general public to help, the UN health agency decided to create the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for individual donations, which it launched on March 15, 2020. More than 661,000 individuals, companies and other organizations had pitched in a total of $242 million, in what WHO described as an “unprecedented show of support”.

North America

– Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who was an early investor in the company that has been called the Amazon of South Korea, has announced plans to donate his entire stake in the company to charity. The holding is valued at over $1 billion. Ackman, in a tweet, said he was a day one investor in Coupang and is gifting his 26.5 million shares to three nonprofits, including his own Pershing Square Foundation, a philanthropic unit founded in December 2006.

Morgan Stanley and Spelman College announced its first cohort of students selected to participate in the inaugural HBCU Scholars Program, an integrated program to support students at three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Five outstanding first-year students have been selected to receive the four-year scholarships to Spelman, which will cover tuition, room and board in order to fully remove financial barriers to higher education.

– Phoenix Suns vice chairman and minority team owner, Jahm Najafi, has partnered with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick who will serve as co-chair with Najafi of Mission Advancement Corp., a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that looks to raise up to $287.5 million in an initial public offering, according to documents filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mission Advancement says it will “emphasize the racial and diversity issues Mr. Kaepernick has championed on and off the field through its investment in the growing environmental, social and governance investment field.”

– Phoenix Suns vice chairman and minority team owner Jahm Najafi has pledged a $10 million commitment to the NBA Foundation. “This past year I have been inspired by the NBA family’s efforts to advance social justice, especially through the Board of Governor’s long-term commitment in creating the NBA Foundation,” Najafi said in a news release. “I’ve seen firsthand how economic opportunity can change lives, and I look forward to supporting the Foundation over the next 10 years as they impact the lives of Black youth.” Najafi’s contribution of $1 million per year over the next 10 years is part of the Foundation’s goal to “drive economic empowerment for Black communities through employment and career advancement.”

The Ford Foundation announced the extension of the 2015 Building Institutions and Networks (BUILD) initiative, which had provided $1 billion dollars in flexible funding to social justice organizations around the world to help them more effectively achieve their core goals and build their resilience for the long term. The second edition of BUILD will disburse another $1 billion in grant dollars spanning all of Ford’s programmatic areas and regions. The next round of five-year BUILD grants will be awarded starting in January 2022. BUILD provides multi-level support through a combination of long-term commitments, flexible funding, and institutional strengthening to help grantees become more resilient and effective.

– Billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert and his wife, Jennifer, have given $30 million to a private graduate art school, The Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, in suburban Detroit to help it accelerate its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. The funding also will help with long-term fiscal sustainability. Twenty full-tuition fellowships for students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups will be funded through the newly established Gilbert Fellows program. A permanent endowment to fund the fellowships also will be established. Tuition relief and general support for the academy’s existing scholarships and visiting faculty artists over the next five years, with a focus on artists of colour, will receive funding. Cranbrook Art Museum also will receive funding to continue public engagement projects by diverse artists in both the Detroit area and on Cranbrook’s campus.

Evanston, Illinois, through an historic plan, will make reparations to its Black residents — including housing grants for a fraction of the city’s families — as redress for slavery and racial discrimination. The $10 million project is funded by donations and revenue from the city’s sales tax on recreational marijuana. The first phase involves giving 16 residents $25,000 each, for home repairs or property costs. This plan, however, is far from the direct payments that have come to characterize reparations in the United States, but experts say Evanston’s plan is a noble start to a complicated process.

– Billionaire philanthropists John and Laura Arnold have committed to donate 5% of their wealth annually as part of an effort to encourage increased, timelier donations to charities. The Arnolds are the first billionaires to sign on to the advocacy organization Global Citizen’s “Give While You Live” campaign, which calls on the world’s billionaires to give at least 5% of their wealth every year to a cause. The Arnolds’ pledge came as part of an alliance between Global Citizen and the Arnold-led Initiative to Accelerate Charitable Giving—a coalition of donors and experts who want Congress to raise giving requirements. By agreeing to give 5%, the Arnolds are voluntarily subjecting their assets to the same minimum payment standard private foundations must donate annually to maintain their tax-exempt status.

– The Atlanta shootings that left eight people dead, six women of Asian descent, has prompted a reckoning over the rising rates of Anti-Asian violence seen since the start of the pandemic. Brands, media companies and agencies have been reaching out to Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities with statements of support and monetary donations. The largest effort so far comes from Verizon. The telecommunications giant is committing to giving $10 million to organizations advancing social justice for the AAPI community, including donating $5 million in ad inventory through Verizon Media for media that advocates for Asian rights and mental health or promotes Asian-owned and run small businesses.

– Grammy award-winning artist The Weeknd is stepping up to help Ethiopians amid violence in the country. The singer-songwriter, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, said that he will donate $1 million to Ethiopian relief efforts through the UN World Food Programme. Thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed, raped and abused during the course of Ethiopia’s five-month-old conflict.

Scotiabank announced that it is the first large financial institution in Canada to align with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to transform housing affordability across the country. Scotiabank plans to mobilize $10 billion over the next ten years in support of CMHC’s aspiration – that by 2030, everyone in Canada has a home they can afford and that meets their needs. “We are facing a clear shortage of affordable housing in Canada and Scotiabank is proud to work with CMHC to raise that supply,” said Jake Lawrence, CEO and Group Head of Global Banking and Markets at Scotiabank. “Scotiabank is committed to developing innovative lending, investing and underwriting solutions for retail, commercial and corporate clients who support the achievement of this important housing objective in Canada.”

Uber Technologies Inc UBER.N, PayPal Holdings Inc PYPL.O and Walgreens Inc WBA.O launched an $11 million fund to provide free ride-hail trips to U.S. COVID-19 vaccination sites for people who lack access to transportation. The Vaccine Access Fund will be managed by U.S. non-profit Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which will identify communities that need free rides as well as local partners to help with the program. Consumers can support the effort by donating to the fund through PayPal or in the Uber app, they said, adding they were also looking forward to welcoming other corporate donors.

The John S. Dunn Foundation has made a transformative $25 million commitment to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) to bolster the university’s behavioral health initiatives and address significant gaps in mental health care services in our communities. In honor of the foundation’s generosity, UTHealth will establish the John S. Dunn Behavioral Sciences Center to support innovative behavioral health research, education, and patient care.

– An outdoor performance of Igor Stravinsky’s “Oedipus Rex” is coming this summer in what is poised to be Los Angeles Opera’s first live, in-person show since March of last year — an event that has been made possible in part by the largest gift the company has received in the COVID-19 era. Philanthropists Terri and Jerry Kohl are giving $5 million to the company to jump-start its pandemic recovery after more than 13 months of crippling closure.

The MacArthur Foundation announced it was awarding Community Solutions with a $100 million grant at a virtual event in early April, selecting the nonprofit out of six finalists in its global 100&Change competition. Community Solutions, based in New York City, will use the funds to expand its mission of ending homelessness to 75 U.S. communities in the next five years through its “Built for Zero” initiative.

Bard College, a liberal arts college with 2,400 students, 90 miles north of New York City, announced today that billionaire George Soros is donating $500 million to its endowment. Soros, 90, is making the gift as a challenge grant. That means Bard only receives the money if it can raise an amount that matches or exceeds Soros’ pledge. While Bard is fundraising, the money will be managed by Soros’ Quantum Fund and Bard will be able to withdraw an agreed-upon percentage each year, says Bard spokesperson Mark Primoff. Bard has already raised $250 million.

– The latest must-have for America’s ultra-rich isn’t another mega-yacht or space program – it’s a plan to save the world from the climate crisis. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and one of the richest people in the world, has pledged $100m in prize money for technology that would best capture planet-heating carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder who tops the global rich list, has vowed to give $10bn to worthy climate initiatives. And Bill Gates, another multibillionaire and Microsoft co-founder, has recently released a book on how to drive emissions to zero. Together, the three men have an estimated wealth of $466bn and some of the biggest personal carbon footprints on the planet. They are also emblematic of a Davos-centric worldview that sees free markets and technological advancements as the answer to an existential emergency already upending the lives of millions of people.

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy, have given $150 million to a research institute to establish a “new era of biology” aimed at battling diseases with a mix of data and life science studies. The Massachusetts-based Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard will use the funds to build a new center that will bring together academia and industry to merge the two disciplines in an effort to make people healthier. “Until now, these fields have largely developed in parallel,” the Broad Institute said in a statement. “Their convergence will create a new era of biology, one that is expected to yield a deep understanding of biological processes, with the ultimate aim of improving human health through more powerful disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.” Experts say the initiative sets a precedent for building more research centers that mix the two disciplines.

The University of Texas at San Antonio’s College of Business has received a $20 million philanthropic gift from the founder of a San Antonio-based beer importer. The donation by Carlos Alvarez, founder of the Gambrinus Company, and his wife Malú will fund research programs and endowed faculty positions for the campus. In light of the gift, UTSA’s business school will be renamed the Carlos Alvarez College of Business, marking it the first named college at the university.

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte has decided how it will spend the largest single donation in the nearly 150-year-old nonprofit’s history – a “jaw-dropping” $18 million. Billionaire philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott, in a public announcement on her blog in December, named the Charlotte Y as one of 384 organizations receiving a piece of more than $4.1 billion. Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, called the coronavirus pandemic “a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling.”

EAST AND SOUTH ASIA

– IT veteran Ashok Soota has set up SKAN, a not-for-profit entity that will conduct medical research, and has committed Rs 200 crore towards the effort. The research for the projects will be done through reputed partners. The strategic partner for neurological research is the Centre for Brain Research (CBR) at Indian Institute Science-Bangalore (IISc). CBR is putting together a consortium to handle the first project on Parkinson’s disease. The strategic partner for ageing is the upcoming St. John’s Geriatric Centre (SJGC), to be located on the St John’s Hospital campus.

– Berjaya Corporation Bhd founder and executive chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan has announced that he will give half of his wealth to charity upon his death, whilst appealing to other wealthy Malaysians who have passed 70 years old to do the same. The billionaire said doing so would help the underprivileged to own affordable homes as housing is a basic need of human beings and essential for a person’s sense of dignity, safety and inclusion. “I think it is not wise to leave all your wealth to your family only when after all, our accumulated material wealth is made possible with the support from Malaysians and government’s concessions and licenses and other help by many people we encountered in our lifetime of wealth accumulation,” he told The Star.

– As a commerce undergraduate in 1973 at Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) predecessor of Nanyang University, a 21-year-old Indonesian received a scholarship from the school. Fast forward 48 years and the businessman and philanthropist Tahir, who goes by one name, has decided to pay it back by donating $1 million to support needy NTU students ahead of his 69th birthday. Tahir said, “My parents made a living by constructing pedicabs (a three-wheeled rickshaw). I was studying to be a medical doctor, but I had to drop out to focus on helping with my father’s business when he fell sick. “I hope this gift will help NTU students in need, and give them the support they need, just like NTU had helped me before.”

Kim Beom-su, chairman of Kakao, has signed the Giving Pledge, officially pledging to donate more than half of his personal assets to society. Kim became the 220th pledger of the Giving Pledge, the company announced in mid-March. The Giving Pledge is a global philanthropic movement that was launched in 2010 by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates along with Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett. The Giving Pledge is a moral commitment by the world’s wealthiest to give the majority of their wealth to charitable causes. Currently, there are 220 pledgers from 25 countries, including Tesla founder Elon Musk, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.

– The wives of some of India’s biggest tycoons are widening the scope of their philanthropic activities that have traditionally focused on education, poverty and public hygiene to focus on current issues such as management of the Covid-19 pandemic and women’s empowerment. Nita Ambani, married to Asia’s wealthiest person Mukesh Ambani and chairwoman of the non-profit organization Reliance Foundation earlier this month launched Her Circle, a free digital platform, with articles and videos offering advice on topics ranging from wellness to finance and job openings. It also connects users to development opportunities and activities organized by women-led NGOs and other groups. Users can tap on the Reliance Foundation’s panel of experts on issues from health to entrepreneurship, philanthropy and leadership. “All my life, I’ve been surrounded by strong women from whom I have learned compassion, resilience, and positivity,” the 57-year-old said at the launch event on International Women’s Day.

Prince Holding Group (“Prince Group”), one of Cambodia’s largest and fastest-growing conglomerates, and Chairman Neak Oknha Chen Zhi have answered the call for assistance from the Cambodian Government to combat the February 20, 2021, Covid-19 outbreak by announcing plans to donate US$3 million to anti-pandemic efforts in the Kingdom. This is on the back of an initial US$3 million donated by Chen Zhi last December to help Cambodia purchase COVID-19 vaccines. Furthermore, following in the footsteps of Prince Group and Chen Zhi, Prince Real Estate, a member of Prince Group, has distributed vital food supplies to 804 families in need and 234 members of the police force in Chamkarmon District, Phnom Penh, Cambodia affected by the February 20, 2021, Covid-19 outbreak.

– Hong Kong’s CK Asset, the property arm of retired billionaire Li Ka-shing, said on Thursday it will acquire interests in four European utilities from Li Ka Shing Foundation for HK$17 billion ($2.19 billion). The deal will give CK Asset a 20% stake in UK Power Networks, and increase its interests in the UK’s Northumbrian Water, Wales & West Utilities and Dutch firm Enviro Energy. The company said it will provide stable recurrent cash flow and allow the company to acquire a sizeable and high-quality portfolio of assets. “The deal is positive to the share price and create value for shareholders,” Chairman Victor Li told an earnings conference.

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Philanthropy Wired Newsletter

Philanthropy Wired – March 2021

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“PEOPLE WILL FORGET WHAT YOU SAID, PEOPLE WILL FORGET WHAT YOU DID, BUT PEOPLE WILL NEVER FORGET HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.” –– MAYA ANGELOU

Communication is a broad complicated topic with a myriad of dimensions, but ultimately, this eternal quote from Maya Angelou says it all. No matter the medium, people have a visceral reaction to all the messaging that comes their way.

To put it another way, I remember with great fondness, Clay Edwards, to whom I reported early in my career with Penn State. One my very first day he shared a basic tenet of his philosophy, “Most issues are a function of communication and respect.” This made infinite sense to me as I understood them to be inextricably linked. This lesson from Clay has guided my thinking ever since.

Many development professionals consider communication as the bridge to relationship building, leading to a more successful outcome with prospects and donors. This of course could be construed as transactional and is supported by the title of an article from Inc. 12 Simple Phrases That Are Guaranteed to Make People Like You More. This title connotes pragmatism in its most base form, but the article contains some interesting phrases and their suggested outcome:

– “Here’s the situation.”
– “Tell me more.”
– “What do you think?”
– “What can I do to help?”
– “Please/thank you.”
– “You’re welcome.”
– “Let me find out for you.”
– “I’ve got your back.”
– “I’d like you to meet…”
– “I believe you can.”
– “I think you can do a lot better.”
– “Let me be up front with you.”

The distinction I draw between transactional communications and those designed to enhance relationships is intent.

Whether an advancement professional, a leader of a nonprofit, or a philanthropist, we are all serving the principals behind the history and etymology for philanthropy, from the Greek philanthrōpos – loving people.

This month’s Philanthropy Wired focuses on communication and features the insightful writing of Senior Associate Peter Jones, who addresses the topic of Storytelling, and the premise that it is a human-centered enterprise. I could not agree more, and hope that as practitioners we adhere to human-centered communication, as anything short will ring hollow, defeating the principles and practice of philanthropy.

We welcome your thoughts and feedback and of course stand ready to assist.

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Peter Jonesis a mission-committed life-long fundraising professional with a 30 plus year track record working with local, regional, national, and international organizations in the pursuit of best practices. Familiar with all aspects of the fundraising cycle and corresponding implementation, including annual, planned, and institutional fundraising, major and principal gifts are among his greatest strengths. Peter has extensive experience in the conservation community, having worked for national conservation organizations such as the National Audubon Society, The Trust for Public Land, The Wilderness Society and the Alliance for Tompotika Conservation in Sulawesi Indonesia.

Peter holds a degree in Economic and Political Science from the University of New Hampshire, is a passionate reader and marathon runner.

Peter’s fundraising must have: Every organization should have a strategic plan and an engaged and committed board.

STORYTELLING: THE ART OF SUCCESSFUL FUNDRAISING

Storytelling: The Art of Successful Fundraising

Telling the story of your nonprofit is the art of successful fundraising. Like storytelling, at its best, fundraising is a very human-centered enterprise. When asking for a gift or acknowledging a donor, it is important to translate facts into feelings –– all which fuels giving and promotes donor retention. Incorporating storytelling into your fundraising will help build greater interest in your organization and will help increase support.

It is often remarked that the last gift a donor makes is the beginning of the stewardship towards the next one. But getting to that next solicitation is the role of good stewardship and storytelling. S. Sutton & Associates Inc. Senior Associate Peter Jones shares insights on the power of a good story, what makes a good story, and where to find good stories in this recent insightful article.

Donor and Constituent Engagement

What you say, how you say it, when you say it, and the means to convey the message require careful orchestration and integration within an organization. Whether the project is program-specific or institution-wide, the process of S. Sutton & Associates Inc. is the same.

Careful Research
Data drives our process. We work with institutional leadership to gather all information, research audience orientation, conduct audits of current communications including staffing, resources, channels and activities.

Cogent and Comprehensive Strategy
Institutional objectives/goals are used to develop fundraising rationale that define and drive effective messaging. We then determine suitable channels and strategies along with processes, tactics, budgets, and timelines concluding in an actionable plan to implement and assess results.

Creative Writing and Design
Our experts have the experience, expertise and knowledge to bring you the most current and impactful campaign messaging and names, visual identity, branding guidelines, cases for support and collateral materials.

Our consultants are adept in all aspects of marketing and communications related to organizational profile, development, and constituent engagement.

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We look forward to a continued relationship with S. Sutton and Associates Inc.”

– Phyllis Ellis, Chair of the Board, Weengushk Film Institute

Europe

– Russian billionaire investor and philanthropist Potanin donated 500 million rubles ($6.7 million) to the groundbreaking Human Brain Links Research project, aimed for creation of smart materials with pre-programmed properties, allowing development of conceptually new technologies. The project envisages the establishment of a brand-new Laboratory of Programmable Functional Materials in Moscow, Russia, and will be carried out under the leadership of the Nobel laureate Konstantin Novoselov. Originally conceived in 2020, the new Laboratory will become the first one at the Brain and Consciousness Research Center.

– Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov, arrested in London on tax fraud charges, said he plans to dedicate himself to charity work including fighting leukemia, with which he was diagnosed in 2019. “To be honest, I no longer have the motivation to do business. I’m done; I’m retired,” Tinkov, who founded the online bank Tinkoff, was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying on the Clubhouse audio-chat app.

NORTH AMERICA

– Dr. Anthony Fauci has won a top international prize for his leadership in the coronavirus pandemic. Fauci, who has served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases under the last seven presidents, was awarded the $1 million Dan David Prize for his defense of science and advocacy of COVID-19 vaccinations now being used worldwide. The private Israeli foundation also touted Fauci’s lifetime of leadership on HIV research and AIDS relief in the Monday announcement. In a statement, the Dan David Prize credited Fauci with “courageously defending science in the face of uninformed opposition during the challenging COVID crisis.”

– The Slaight Family Foundation, one of Toronto’s most wide-reaching and generous philanthropic family foundations, is divvying up $30 million to 19 Canadian organizations offering mental health services to people experiencing all kinds of distress and challenges. Among those benefitting from the extraordinary donation are specified mental health programs for vulnerable 2SLGBTQI people, isolated seniors, French-speaking Black youth, kids with disabilities and their families, Indigenous youth, and people with substance use disorders.

– Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of Twitter, announced that bidding on the first tweet ever sent will end on March 21, and that he will accept the winning bid, donating the proceeds to charity. On March 5, Dorsey flagged the listing for the genesis tweet on Valuables, a program for selling tweets authenticated by their authors, created by the startup Cent. Bidding on the tweet has sat at $2.5 million since March 6. The bid is from Sina Estavi, the CEO of Tron’s oracle network, Bridge. The prior high bid was $2 million from Tron founder Justin Sun.

– Plunging revenue, shrinking enrollment, and a rapidly changing higher education market are adding up to a new cycle of proposed university and college mergers coming to the fore. In the past week alone, discussions of three institutional mergers and higher education system consolidations have become headline news. Although the dynamics and scope of the possible mergers differ significantly, each of the most recent proposals has been driven by current financial woes coupled with Covid-19 pandemic fallout as more institutions struggle to chart more secure, survivable futures. As part of his two-year budget plan unveiled last week, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has proposed a historic merger of New Hampshire’s two-year and four-year public college systems.

– The Home Depot ® will contribute $1 million in grants to support campus improvements at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) through its annual Retool Your School program, for which voting is now open. Established in 2009, the program has emphasized HBCUs’ vital role in the American higher education system. This year, the home improvement retailer is doubling its Retool Your School commitment to fund 30 projects, providing $20,000 to $75,000 grants per school.

– Serial technology entrepreneurs and longtime Bronco supporters John ’79 and Susan Ocampo have donated $25 million to advance STEM education at Santa Clara University. The gift is earmarked for completion of interdisciplinary space in the north wing of the Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation, which is scheduled to open this fall. The area—which will be dedicated and named after the couple—is the locus of innovative programs and initiatives including a 3,000-square foot, 30-feet high, glass-enclosed Innovation Zone and adjacent Innovation Lounge. The wing will also house eight research labs; two student project spaces; five shops; and a laser suite.

– Like many Donald Trump supporters, conservative donor Fred Eshelman awoke the day after the presidential election with the suspicion that something wasn’t right. The next day, the North Carolina financier and his advisers reached out to a small conservative nonprofit group in Texas that was seeking to expose voter fraud. After a 20-minute talk with the group’s president, their first-ever conversation, Eshelman committed to $2 million. Over the next 12 days, Eshelman came to regret his donation and to doubt conspiracy theories of rampant illegal voting, according to court records and interviews. Now he wants his money back.

– Veronica Chou, the 36-year-old heiress to the Chou family fortune that helped build the Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger brands, says there’s more to life than pursuing the latest styles in the fashion world. So, Chou, who grew up working in her billionaire family’s factories and later ran a business that helped introduce global fashion brands including Ed Hardy and Madonna’s Material Girl to China, has started her own line of sustainable clothing, Everybody & Everyone. Chou says she became interested in sustainable business after seeing firsthand China’s challenge with pollution and after the birth of her children. She now steers her family’s investments into technologies that combat climate change.

– The former owner of the Carolina Panthers has given $150 million to his alma mater, Wofford College. Jerome Richardson’s gift is the largest in the college’s history, school officials said. The money is designated for the college’s endowment with a focus on need-based scholarships and experiences for students, Wofford said in a statement. Richardson has now contributed more than $260 million to Wofford over the years.

– American Family Insurance will funnel $105 million over five years to organizations and businesses seeking solutions to equity gaps under its Free to Dream initiative. Through the initiative, nonprofits and some municipal projects around the country would receive funding through the American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation — a total of $53 million. The rest of the money would be used to invest in startups with focuses on positive social or environmental change through the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact. “This is an effort to really coordinate a lot of things that we’ve done and have been doing and the things that we want to do, and then kind of put it on steroids,” CEO Jack Salzwedel said.

– Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is giving $150 million to Harvard University for a program designed to help mayors around the world more successfully lead their cities by training them to better manage, innovate and share best practices. The gift is the latest in a long line Mr. Bloomberg has made to universities over many years and comes as cities are stressed by the coronavirus pandemic and related revenue shortfalls. The gift is an extension of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, which Mr. Bloomberg launched in 2017 with a $32 million gift. The additional money will go toward hiring 10 professors, building out programs to train mayor at Harvard and facilitating two-year fellowships for Harvard graduate students in mayoral offices around the world.

– San Diego State University has received a $14 million donation to support its Department of Astronomy, a small program that has made big contributions in recent years, especially in finding and analyzing planets that exist far beyond the solar system. The gift is the largest ever made to SDSU’s astronomy department, the only stand-alone program of its kind in the 23 campus California State University system. SDSU said in a statement that the gift is in the form of a stock investment bequest from the late Theodore William Booth and his wife, the late Nhung Lu Booth, an alumna of the College of Sciences.

– Billionaire basketball star Michael Jordan is donating $10 million to open two rural health clinics near his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina, as the coronavirus pandemic has underlined the dangers of unequal access to healthcare. Jordan’s donation will allow Novant Health System to open two health clinics on the southeastern coast of the state in Hanover County. The clinics, which will open in early 2022, will serve “rural and rural-adjacent communities” as well as those with little or no health insurance, the health system said in a statement, and offer primary care as well as “behavioral health and social support services.”

– An Atherton couple has donated $80 million to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford University’s School of Medicine to improve the services available to Bay Area mothers and babies. The gift comes from Elizabeth and Bruce Dunlevie and is the largest ever from individuals to the hospital, the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health announced. The gift will fund a new labor and delivery unit and further develop Stanford’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine program. More than 4,400 babies are delivered each year at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, hospital officials said.

– The University of Chicago will expand its research on global health and social development through a $25 million donation from the Kiphart Family Foundation. The gift will be used to create the Susan and Richard Kiphart Center for Global Health and Social Development, located within UChicago’s Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. It will be a space to work on educational initiatives to address issues of inequity in West Africa and in low socioeconomic communities around the world. In partnering with UChicago’s Biological Sciences Division and various communities, the Kiphart Center will work to alleviate disease, improve infrastructure and promote community health and well-being through developing educational and economic opportunities.

– Philanthropist Calvin Tyler Jr., and his wife, Tina, pledged $20 million to his alma mater Morgan State University, which the university said is the largest gift to any HBCU ever made by one of its former students. The gift will fund scholarships that were established under the Tylers’ name at the historically Black university in 2002. It’s the second largest private donation the school in Baltimore has received following philanthropist MacKenzie Scott’s $40 million gift in December. The donation is personal to Tyler, who grew up in a low-income family and was forced to drop out of Morgan State in 1963 as tuition was cost prohibitive.

– The possible completion of a basketball practice facility at the University of Rhode Island continues to come into sharper focus. The Rams announced a gift of $3 million, and they’ve now raised more than $7 million toward what has been one of their long-term program goals. New York real estate scion Stefan Soloviev, an undergraduate student at URI in the 1990s, made the donation on behalf of his family and to secure the eventual naming rights. The Soloviev Family Basketball Practice Facility will be the final renovated product of what is now West Gymnasium at the Tootell Athletic Complex.

– Mortgage billionaire Mat Ishbia is donating $32 million to Michigan State University, where he was a basketball walk-on under famed coach Tom Izzo. The school called the gift from Ishbia, who runs United Wholesale Mortgage, the largest-ever one-time commitment from a single person. Ishbia is worth $13 billion after he took his family company public in a merger with a special purpose acquisition company that closed last month, according to figures compiled by Bloomberg. UWM Holdings Corp., better known as United Wholesale Mortgage, has a market value north of $16 billion. Ishbia graduated from Michigan State in 2003, after having played for the school’s national championship team in 2000.

– Tesla Inc boss and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is offering a $100 million prize in a four-year global competition to find a way of reducing carbon dioxide from the Earth’s atmosphere. Musk, who also heads rocket company SpaceX, had first tweeted about the prize in January and had said he would disclose details of the competition at a later date. “This is not a theoretical competition; we want teams that will build real systems that can make a measurable impact and scale to a gigaton level,” Musk said in a statement. Full guidelines will be announced on April 22 and the competition will last for four years through Earth Day, 2025.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

– Brian Kim, founder of South Korea’s top mobile-messenger operator Kakao Corp., said he has pledged to donate more than half of his wealth to solve social issues, Yonhap News reported. Kim, who once lived in a room shared with seven family members, has seen his wealth rise to $7.9 billion and now ranks 332nd on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a list of the world’s most wealthy people. “I have pledged to donate more than half of my assets to solve social issues throughout my life,” Kim told Kakao employees in a message, according to Yonhap. “I aim to solve social issues and help people that Kakao has difficulty in approaching.”

– Kim Bong-jin, the founder and chairman of a local delivery app operator Woowa Brothers, joined the bandwagon of wealthy, self-made South Koreans donating substantial amounts of their assets to society. Kim said he and his wife have joined The Giving Pledge, a global campaign of the world’s wealthiest people contributing a majority of their assets to philanthropic projects, and that they would donate a half of their wealth in their lifetimes, according to the company. The 45-year-old millionaire owns a 9.9% stake in Delivery Hero, a German delivery app that acquired Kim’s company in 2019 for 4.8 trillion won ($4.3 billion). Kim’s wealth is estimated to reach 1 trillion won.

– Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong will be dismissed as chairman of the Samsung Life Public Welfare Foundation as he was sentenced to two and a half years in jail in a trial over the Choi Soon-sil scandal during the Park Geun-hye administration. Lee succeeded his father Lee Kun-hee, the late chairman of Samsung Group, as chairman of the foundation. The Samsung Life Public Welfare Foundation was taking steps to dismiss vice chairman Lee as chairman of the board of the foundation, said the Seoul Metropolitan Government and Yongsan-gu Office, which guide and supervise the foundation.

– Singapore’s Temasek Holdings is committing $500 million to a partnership with private equity firm LeapFrog Investments, in what both companies said was the largest ever commitment to an impact investor. The tie-up will take the form of a multi-fund investment by Temasek to anchor Asia and Africa-focused LeapFrog’s future funds, and the Singapore state investor will also acquire a minority stake in LeapFrog, they said in a joint statement. Impact or socially responsible investing has gone mainstream in the last few years, moving beyond being a niche for development banks. It has attracted the likes of some of the world’s largest buyout funds including TPG, KKR and Blackstone.

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Philanthropy Wired Newsletter

Philanthropy Wired – February 2021

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ULTRA WEALTHY ACCOUNT FOR 36% OF INDIVIDUAL GIVING, GLOBALLY –– HOW TO EMPOWER THE OTHER 64%?

Recently Wealth-X released its Spotlight on Major Giving in 2020 which highlights the significance major donors have played in the 2020 giving ecosystem, especially when it comes to Covid-19 philanthropy and efforts to support social justice movements.

Key insights from Spotlight on Major Giving in 2020 include:

The global ultra wealthy population accounted for 36% of individual giving in 2019 – UHNW individuals accounted for 20% of total global giving (includes institutions and public foundations).

The ultra wealthy have given or pledged over $7.4 billion to Covid-19 and social justice causes – the amount the ultra wealthy and their private foundations gave or pledged to such causes during the period January to October 2020 according to the Wealth-X Database.

UHNW Covid-19 and social justice philanthropists tend to be younger and more generous in their donations than average major UHNW philanthropists – under 18% of these two groups are over 70, compared with 46% of the latter.

Major donors are changing the way they engage with philanthropy – trends include an increased awareness of the importance of philanthropy, a greater openness to unrestricted funding and a greater collaboration among donors.

The challenges of 2020 underscore the need for organizations to realize the potential of their major giving programs – amid the financial necessity of funding diversification, there remains huge potential for further growth in major giving.

Juxtapose this against a recent conversation with a potential client who described their populist fundraising practices as “slow and old, with no modern techniques, segmentation, micro-targeting or focus on micro donors, solicitation through social media, use of text, mobile banking, or other contemporary methods to collect donations”.

What does this say about the spectrum of donors and approaches that need to be deployed to give everyone and opportunity to contribute when, how, and at the level they desire?

Now more than ever before the variables and complexity of fundraising are coming into play for all organizations seeking to “maximize their file”. I have often described the pipeline of support as a continuum between the $5 donor and the $50 million donor with everyone in between. In fact, the largest gift on record reported for 2020 was $10 Billion.

Contributions at all levels don’t occur in a vacuum, and it goes beyond understanding donor capacity, inclination and readiness, and corresponding cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies. Behind every gift there is culture of philanthropy, and constellation of relationships with leadership, development staff and others around a donor/prospect, and a symphony of activity leading to a crescendo of support. And most importantly, successful development requires a permission structure from the leadership at the top. By this I mean it takes bold, courageous, institutional leaders and Board members to encourage the organization to try new things, take risks, invest in Blue Ocean Strategies and big ideas, to “maximize their file”.

With this in mind I am pleased to present a thought-provoking article A Board “Give and Get” Policy is Key to a Nonprofit’s Success penned by Senior Associate, Gina Reiss, who we introduce with pride below.

Our network of subject experts with specific technical expertise is well positioned to support organizations to engage in divergent and creative thinking to “maximize their file”, and though each of the firm’s sixteen service offerings are relevant, one in particular, Board Training Management and Governance, profiled below, plays a particularly important role in taking advantage of the incredible opportunities this era presents.

We welcome your thoughts and feedback and of course stand ready to assist. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at ssutton@ssutton-and-associates.com or to schedule a complimentary consultation go to ssutton-and-associates.com/consultation.

Gina is a results-oriented leader and executive manager with three-decades of organizational and fundraising experience in the nonprofit sector at the state, national and international levels. She is an expert at building effective strategic partnerships with diverse stakeholders, advocating and raising funds for human rights and social justice causes, and guiding organizations through leadership transitions or public relations crises. Over the course of her impressive career, Gina has worked with high-net-worth donors, major foundations, UN agencies, community-based organizations, and Fortune 500 corporations, and has managed diverse teams in the U.S., South East Asia, and East Africa. While a Director for the United Nations Foundation, Fast Company selected Gina among their “League of Extraordinary Women”. Gina received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London, and completed Management and Fundraising courses at the Center for Nonprofit Advancement.

Gina’s fundraising must have: Fundraising is a team effort. Every organization must have a culture of philanthropy where all Board members and staff are engaged in fundraising.

A Board “Give and Get” Policy is Key to a Nonprofit’s Success

Fundraising is central to any nonprofit Board member’s role. As a way to demonstrate commitment to the organization you serve, setting an annual fundraising goal is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the fiduciary health of the organization. It takes a culture of philanthropy that starts from the top for any nonprofit to succeed.

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. Senior Associate Gina Reiss describes the “Give and Get” policy that Boards of Directors should prioritize as part of the requirements to govern the organization they serve and explains the importance of designing engagement plans specifically to evaluate the Board’s involvement in fundraising.

Board Training, Management and Governance

Proper Board management and governance is essential for any nonprofit to assure the demands of steering, supporting and safeguarding organizations are met. Specific technical expertise is required to assure the structure and composition of the Board are suitable, meetings and communications are managed appropriately, and members understand and are equipped to fulfill their responsibilities.

S. Sutton & Associates Inc. has the technical expertise to assist with each of these areas and can help facilitate one or more to assure Boards function as intended and in the best interest of the organizations they represent.

Board Training
Boards are in place to govern, though subject to the evolution and needs of the organization, they may take on various levels of involvement which encroach upon management and operations. S. Sutton & Associates Inc. provides training for Boards in governance and leadership, core duties and roles, the Chief Executive’s mandate, techniques to build strong relationships with the Chief Executive, management and evaluation of the Chief Executive’s performance and succession planning.

Board Management
The mechanics to properly manage meetings and committees, prepare reports and communications, update bylaws and facilitate the fiduciary responsibilities of the Board, require technical expertise and diplomacy to assure all run smoothly. S. Sutton & Associates Inc. takes a hand on approach to train staff assuring structure, process and products support the success of the Board.

Board Governance
If you are interested in establishing, reinvigorating a Board, or helping the members build a culture of philanthropy, and a permission structure to take risks, wisdom to invest in Blue Ocean Strategies, big ideas and hone their leadership, we can help. S. Sutton & Associates Inc. has the technical expertise to assure Boards function as intended and in the best interest of the organizations they represent.

Client Testimonial

“Our S. Sutton & Associates Inc. Innovation team was self-driven, and willing to dig into the weeds to really understand our needs. We are an all-volunteer board, so our time is at a premium and we couldn’t afford much handholding with a consulting group, so S. Sutton & Associates Inc. was great in that respect.

We were also very impressed by the team’s familiarity with the LGBTQ+ space, their well-crafted proposal, willingness to work within our limited budget, and anecdotal success via references.”

– Jamie Leidelmeyer, Board Member at Large, Board of Directors, Northwest Arkansas Equality, Inc.

Europe

– A new investment coalition is aiming to mobilize $10 billion (€8 billion) towards “natural capital” themes across asset classes by 2022. HSBC Pollination Climate Asset Management, Lombard Odier and Mirova, an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers, are the three founding partners of the Natural Capital Investment Alliance, which has been established by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales under his Sustainable Markets Initiative. Speaking at a biodiversity summit, the Prince of Wales said, “The interdependence between human health and planetary health has never been more clear. For so many of the problems we face, nature, with the benefit of billions of years of evolution, has already provided us with the solutions.”

– Rome’s Mausoleum of Augustus is set to reopen to the public following a €6.5 million restoration funded by Italian telecommunications company TIM, according to Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica. The monumental tomb of Rome’s first emperor is destined to become a major draw for tourists, after decades of abandonment, and is expected to be open for free, according to La Repubblica. In addition to sponsorship from TIM, the restoration of the 13,000-sqm mausoleum – under the direction of architect Francesco Cellini – has been funded with €4 million from the city and Italy’s culture ministry.

North America

– Apple announced its latest set of major donations as part of its $100 million initiative to help dismantle systemic barriers and promote racial equality for people of color. The company split the first round into three projects, including a $25 million donation to the Propel Center, a learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It will also launch the Apple Developer Academy to support coding students in Detroit, and venture capital funding for Black and Brown founders. CEO Tim Cook announced the Racial Equity and Justice Initiative in June, following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Lisa Jackson, the company’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, leads the program.

– Tesla CEO Elon Musk has donated $5 million to the online learning organization Khan Academy. In a YouTube video posted in January, Khan Academy founder Salman Khan thanked Musk for the donation, which the Tesla CEO made through his Musk Foundation. “Elon, I hope you really feel good about this,” Khan said in the video. “This is going to allow us to accelerate all sorts of content. Our aspirations are all subjects –– from kids to early stages of college. This will accelerate our science content, allow us to do more early learning, allow us to make the software and the practice that much more engaging.”

– Creighton University has received a $25 million donation from an unnamed foundation to create a program at its medical school for students interested in addressing poverty and improving health care in other countries. Creighton President Rev. Daniel Hendrickson said the program will begin in fall 2022. He said 12 medical students will be selected every year for 10 years to participate and they will remain in the program throughout medical school.

– Sartorius Stedim Biotech, a leading international partner of the biopharmaceutical industry, has committed $1.5 million to Penn State University to create the Sartorius Cell Culture Facility. It is slated to open in the first quarter of 2021 on the University Park campus.

– Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, is donating $100 million toward a prize for the “best carbon capture technology.” Carbon capture is a broad mix of technologies with the same aim: collecting carbon dioxide so it doesn’t escape into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. The greenhouse gas can be captured from power plants and factories, or even directly from the air.

– The University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration will receive a $75 million donation, which the school says is the largest gift ever given to a school of social work. The donation is so impressive that the university said it’s renaming the school as the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. The gift, from James and Paula Crown, will bolster financial aid, faculty research and hiring, the school announced Wednesday.

Categories
Philanthropy Wired Newsletter

Philanthropy Wired – January 2021

As we enter 2021, I wish all a very Happy New Year. There are many reasons to be optimistic about the New Year, yet at the same time, I remain contemplative regarding what 2020 meant for all impacted by the pandemic and the role our global network of subject experts can play to help guide and support both nonprofit organizations and philanthropists through what will undoubtedly be another challenging period.

With this in mind I am pleased to present a thought-provoking article, Leaning Into the New Normal, A practical guide on lessons learned from 2020 to make 2021 your best year ever, penned by one of our star Associates, Debbie Flinn, who we introduce with pride below.

Our network of subject experts with specific technical expertise is well positioned to support organizations challenged by the pandemic and though each of the firm’s sixteen service offerings are relevant, one in particular, Risk Management and Fundraising Governance, profiled below, plays a particularly important role during this period.

We welcome your thoughts and feedback and of course stand ready to assist. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at ssutton@ssutton-and-associates.com or to schedule a complimentary consultation go to ssutton-and-associates.com/consultation.

With over 20+ years’ experience Debbie Flinn, MBS, CFRE, is a fundraising/capital campaign and strategic planning expert. Deeply familiar with all aspects of institutional advancement, her expertise includes major gifts, planned giving, donor engagement and relationships, project and risk management, capacity building, obtaining and managing federal grants, and establishing corporate relationships with Fortune 500 companies.

Debbie brings expertise in creating new and sustainable funding sources for organizations in the healthcare, education, and community-based membership and advocacy sectors. And, having held significant roles the US, New Zealand and Canada, Debbie she has raised over $100 million.

Fluent in French and English, Debbie holds a BA from Carleton University, an MBA from Averett University, and a Graduate Certificate of Nonprofit Management from Duke University.

Debbie’s fundraising must have: You do good work! We can help you do better by establishing meaningful donor relationships to advance your organizational capacity.

Leaning Into the New Normal: A practical guide on lessons learned from 2020 to make 2021 your best year ever

This past year has been one of unprecedented challenges for all of us. We have had to “pivot” as the world changed from one day to the next. For non-profits, it was especially stressful: Would our donors stay with us? Should we even ask when so many lost their jobs? If they gave in the spring for COVID, would they give again at year-end?

It was a year of questions and not a lot of answers.

So, as we turn the page to 2021, first of all: THANK YOU for the difference each of you are making in the world! If you are left with worry over what this year may hold, I would like to offer a simple 5-step, practical guide to get you started on the right foot. Things you can do today that will make a difference for your organization going forward. Let’s get started.

Risk Management and Fundraising Governance

Of the sixteen services provided by S. Sutton & Associates Inc. Risk Management and Fundraising Governance is of particular import during a period when nonprofit organizations are being challenged to the hilt by the pandemic.

Risk management is essential for any organization, yet we understand that with competing demands boards need simple methods to assess risk, carefully considered solutions and if necessary, strategic remediation. In keeping with our methodology, our experts provide a complete audit and assessment of internal and external factors, articulating potential threats and actionable strategies to avoid current and future state vulnerabilities. Guidance and training for staff and leadership is available to establish a successful framework going forward.

If the board is placed in a position to consider remediation, our experts provide actionable steps for the organization to deploy and guidance for short term crisis communications and long-term confidence building measures.

Reputational risk is also tied to Fundraising Governance. Fundraising operations, and their results, present vulnerability as donors increasingly demand tangible assurance their financial support is well spent, and regulators question the costs of fundraising. We work with our clients to understand risks associated with fundraising approaches and processes, bringing knowledge of best practices and standards to assess them. We train staff and provide tools for boards to assure stakeholders the organization is in good hands, its reputation is strong, and to reinforce trust in the brand.

Client Testimonial

“S. Sutton & Associates made it incredibly easy to understand our marketing needs based on our target objectives. Starting from the Request for Proposal (RFP) response all the way to supporting our team in execution was something that truly made S. Sutton & Associates Inc. stand out.

An example of our success is the increase in traffic to our LinkedIn page that provides important updates to our Members. From the beginning of executing our marketing campaign that our S. Sutton Innovation Team developed in January 2020, our average LinkedIn visitors virtually tripled month over month throughout the year thanks to the hard work of the team at S. Sutton & Associates Inc.

Great work and would definitely work with the team again!”

– Martin Gierczak, Director at Large, Board of Directors, Disaster Recovery Institute Canada (DRIC)

Europe

– The Ukrainian-born billionaire Leonard Blavatnik has donated £10m towards the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, which will help fund the refurbishment of its prestigious gallery located at Somerset House. The Courtauld Gallery is due to open late this year following a three-year refurbishment, housing a suite of six galleries—to be named the Blavatnik Fine Rooms—that will display highlights from the Courtauld collection.

North America

– Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, made the single-largest charitable contribution in 2020, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual list of top donations, a $10 billion gift that is intended to help fight climate change. Bezos, whose “real-time” worth Forbes magazine estimates at roughly $188 billion, used the contribution to launch his Bezos Earth Fund. The fund, which supports non-profits involved in the climate crisis, has paid out $790 million to 16 groups so far, according to the Chronicle.

– The Rockefeller Foundation, established more than a century ago by oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, plans to divest from fossil fuels as it commits more capital to green investments. Under the plan, already underway, Rockefeller is expected to more than halve the portfolio’s total exposure to fossil fuels to less than 1% in the near future. No timetable was given for the full divestiture.

– Chad Richison first heard of the Giving Pledge a decade ago at a poker game organized by Warren Buffett. Richison, the CEO and founder of Oklahoma City-based payroll processing firm Paycom, was building his company then — but the idea stuck with him. Richison, now worth $3.4 billion, told Forbes that he has just signed on to the Giving Pledge, and discussed his philanthropy in his home state of Oklahoma and the focus on mental health by his foundation, Green Shoe.

– MacKenzie Scott is giving away her fortune at an unprecedented pace, donating more than $4 billion in four months after announcing $1.7 billion in gifts in July. The world’s 18th-most wealthy person outlined the latest contributions in a blog post, saying she asked her team to figure out how to give away her fortune faster. Scott’s wealth climbed $23.6 billion to $60.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, as Amazon.com Inc., the primary source of her fortune, has surged.

– The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted some advocates to call for providing Americans with guaranteed monthly income to help them get back on their feet. Now, one initiative is getting a $15 million donation from Twitter CEO and billionaire Jack Dorsey to help put such experiments to work. The recipient, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, a group of about 30 mayors across the country, have signed on to test guaranteed income pilot programs in their cities.

– “The Last Dance” was filled with hot dishes about Michael Jordan’s time with the six-time champion Chicago Bulls. Now, a portion of the proceeds from the Emmy-winning documentary will go toward hot dishes for the nation’s hungry. Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief outfit, thanked “His Airness” for a $2 million gift to the organization, which comes as the pandemic is pushing an inordinate number of Americans into food insecurity.

– Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s parent company pledged to donate $120 million to causes aimed at improving racial equity and the global fight against hunger over the next five years. The car rental company’s philanthropic arm, Enterprise Holdings Foundation, says the donation is part of its new ROAD Forward (Respect, Opportunity, Achievement and Diversity) initiative addressing social and racial gaps in early childhood development, youth health and wellness, and career and college preparation.

– Florida Atlantic University has received a beneficiary of $6.3 million from their estate. Their bequest will support fellowships for graduate students in the Sellinger School of Business and Management and provide fellowship assistance for graduate students in the speech-language-hearing sciences department in Loyola College of Arts and Sciences. The gift will be the largest in University history.

– The University of Houston’s Here, We Go campaign closed Aug. 31, drawing in over $1.2 billion from 187,464 donors, the university announced in October. The campaign launched quietly in 2012 and publicly January 2017. It met its $1 billion goal in 2019 but continued to accept donations.

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