On Philanthropy


December. Easily the busiest time of the year and one that often makes us question our priorities and evaluate the year with a newly gained perspective, of time. We might think about our impact, accomplishments, our future plans, or our past endeavors. How meaningful have our lives been this year and how could we still be in the moment? And, does it matter?

The answer - YES. Meaning stems from human connection. It is how we derive our purpose, how we see our work impacting others, & on who and how we spend our time. So then, how do we make the most of our collective being? How do we really think about our impact? 

During our DIALOGUE On Philanthropy, we gathered social entrepreneurs, philanthropic advisors, and leaders of non-profits to challenge the idea of impact & philanthropy; to think about the difference in giving charitably vs. being philanthropic.  

Guest & collaborator, Danielle Foreman, Philanthropic Advisor and Senior Program Officer at the Koret Foundation, reflects on topics that motivated people to take action in 2015, shows how impact can be achieved by players big and small, but in the end, reminds us that giving is a deeply personal affair driven by above all else, our values.


#FindMeaning // Danielle Foreman

#BlackLivesMatter #LoveWins #JeSuisCharlie #EqualPay #TheNewJimCrow #TakeItDown #Refugees

Our attention was grabbed in 2015 by issues that shared a common theme: growing inequality. Race. Gender. Sexual Orientation. Religion. Economic.  Yet, through cooperation and community, we showed we can combat hate and inspire change. Despite advancements, the issues highlighted in the hashtags above still require support: money, time and awareness.

Tuesday, December 1st is #GivingTuesday, a national social movement dedicated to motivating individuals to bring change to their communities through philanthropy. It also marks the beginning of the holiday season during which individuals typically make their annual charitable gifts, and mailings of solicitation letters arrive en masse. The plethora of worthy causes can make anyone, including trained philanthropists, feel paralyzed. You may have felt this way and asked yourself: How much should I give this year? Will my dollars have an impact? Where does the money go? How do I find good organizations to support? Do I need to give to my accountant’s animal charity?

These questions were posed during the On Philanthropy DIALOGUE, and there were no clear answers, except for one: no matter how much you give, give meaningfully. 

Institutional philanthropists may have the resources to focus on large-scale change, but collectively individuals have the power of scale as well to influence movements. For #GivingTuesday, or as you think about your giving for 2015, remember the hashtags about which you felt compelled to post; the news events that touched you; a challenge a family member or friend faced; or something that you participated in and enjoyed.

How can your philanthropy be a meaningful expression of the things you care most about?