The Story of Money

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We all have a money story in our lives. It’s a story that society shapes for us, one that our parents and friends help nurture. It can be about anxiety as well as freedom, about joy as well as sorrow. The concept of money holds a lot of power, personally and politically; it is abused and misused in our society and economy, creating and filling voids that we never knew we had. It is a way to buy power and influence. Yet it’s important to remember that money is a human creation; it doesn’t exist in nature. Read more…


Philanthropy is not inherently good

This article in the Atlantic caught my eye today, which discusses David Callahan’s new book, The Givers: Money, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age. It also taps into another discussion I’ve been enjoying about the harmful impact of disruptive philanthropy, defined as philanthropy that competes with government rather than collaborates with it, in order to provide services. “Disruptive philanthropy seeks to shape civic values in the image of funders’ interests and, in lieu of soliciting public input, seeks to influence or change public opinion and demand,” write Stanford sociologists Aaron Horvath and Walter W. Powell in an essay published in the book Philanthropy in Democratic Societies. This is the elite philanthropy of money as power and influence. It is a philanthropy based on transaction rather than transformation. So what does this have to do with the little guys? The yous Read more…


Values: Your Internal Operating System

all about meDeveloping a solid values framework allows you stand strong in your commitment to see change occur over time – to be an advocate for the long run, not swayed by popular opinion or a newly highlighted charity. Find your thing and stick with it. Especially today, when we are being bombarded at every moment with new things to careaboutdeeply, it helps to focus. Read more…


Make It Personal

Attention-is-the-rarest-and-purest-form-of-generosity.-1I’ll be honest, when I began this journey I didn’t feel much like a generous person. While I recognized generosity as something I valued and I saw how significantly it played into the description of a philanthropist, the word didn’t seem to fit. What was it about this word that was elusive to me? Was it because I attached the definition of generosity with money and the major donors who could give away more than I could? Was it because I equated the word with the selflessness of Mother Theresa, or the commitment of Peace Corp volunteers? Read more…


A Woman’s Place is in the Revolution #daywithoutawoman #beboldforchange

womensplace_revolutionThis work, nurturing relationships and caring for the space between, is the work of the unpaid and underpaid workforce in our world. And these are the people, mainly women and POC, who are emerging as the new leaders who will be able to bring peace and sustainability. It’s when we have the revolutionary realization that the system leaves out important information, that it’s the system that is sick, that we can step away from the argument of us vs. them and get to the work of changing it. This revolution is about love and peace, of nurturing a sick system back to health. Read more…


Creating New Models

The emergence of social investing and civic engagement as philanthropic tools provides individuals with new ways to get directly involved with their giving. This transition shifts the power from the elite donor (a few individuals interested in direct service aid to broad humanitarian goals by donating large sums of money) to the network donor (many individuals of all income levels, focused on using a systems approach and giving with others to personalized projects); and I would argue that we’re quickly moving past the network donor to the hive donor, which I’ll explore at a later date. In addition, traditional charities are no longer the sole experts at solving social problems; social entrepreneurs have emerged with system-changing ideas. Technology and our ability to connect with each other as a global community has created opportunities for on-the-ground, real time, tangible change with Read more…


Join the Philanthropy Revolution: become a better philanthropist

In the Spring of 2014, a 9 year old boy named Hector from Texas heard about a local fire that took the lives of a young mother and her daughter. When he was told that some people didn’t have smoke alarms installed in their homes, and that this simple solution could have saved their lives, he decided to act. He used the $300 he’d saved to purchase a PlayStation 4 and bought 100 smoke detectors for people in his community, which the local fire department installed. He was quoted as saying, “I decided saving a life was more important.” Out of the mouths of babes. We are living through a momentous time in history, and we are being bombarded with immediate and imminent threats on both personal and societal levels. As individuals, we are being called to decide what is Read more…


If you're feeling anxious, you're not doing enough #strongertogether #womxnsmarchseattle

The Women’s March in Seattle this weekend was a throng of smiling people, full of humor and generosity, greeting each other like old friends. It was infectious. The sun broke through and we stripped off our outer layers, parkas or sweaters or puffy coats. At one point, two eagles circled overhead. Sometimes silent, sometimes erupting in a rolling cheer that made its way over three miles, from front to end and back again. Always respectful, always kind. As we came down Jackson Street, a woman in short shorts and knee high socks stood out on her balcony, blasting music and dancing with her boyfriend, fists pumping in the air as the crowd cheered and raised their signs. We finally had more space to move and our shuffle turned into a saunter, and there she was, swaying to Bob Marley: don’t worry, Read more…


The Power of the People is Greater than the People in Power

I’ve been letting information wash over me this last week. So much noise. So much anger and hope and sadness and fear. I’ve been quiet. And small. I’ve been trying to see patterns. Here’s what I’m learning: Half of the population didn’t even vote, the lowest turnout in nearly 2 decades. Apathy, dislike of the major party candidates, voter suppression and intimidation … all of these things contributed to nearly half of our population not voting. I’m astounded by this. I really had no idea that so many people didn’t vote in these elections. We need a national holiday for voting day, we need mail in ballots, we need to inspire people to get civically involved long before election season so they feel invested in the process. Maybe most importantly, we need to ensure the Voting Rights Act is protected. Read more…