You thought making the money was the hard part...

When those who have "done well" decide to "do good," philanthropy tends to happen. Usually this is a good thing. And the good news, for such folks, is that philanthopy is something that just about anyone can do poorly, and more than a few can do reasonably well without really trying too hard.

You, I presume, found your way here because you aspire to something more than hopeless mediocrity. You have decided to practice philanthropy thoughtfully with an eye for excellence, and you recognize this means setting out across strange waters.

For in philanthropy, we are usually chasing some fuzzy thing called "making a difference " or "social impact", to say nothing of the emotional, spiritual and moral returns we expect but rarely discuss. Such things are hard to articulate, difficult to achieve and challenging to measure.

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Grant Makers

Small foundations need to be smarter, more nimble and more creative than their larger counterparts if they expect to have outsized impact. Good leadership is essential; however, good leaders are expensive, and it often does not make good financial sense for small foundations to hire full-time executive staff. Remington Weld serves small family foundations by

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Grant Seekers

One of the "big ideas" to which we are committed is that barriers between grant makers and grant seekers are largely impediments to thoughtful, impactful and fulfilling philanthropy. A good program officer and a good development professional are at their best when they are fundamentally advocates for organizations, projects and programs for which they deeply

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Newest Posts

Character comes first

Walt Whitman gets it. So can you. Whitman sets before us the ideal: “Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity, When I give I give myself.” This is to say that charitable giving, done right, is intrinsically and intensely personal. When we give away our money- the same might be said for

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What is strategy?

One of the earliest "strategy" sessions... Strategy is a military word. The Greek strategos was a field general, and classically strategists studied how such generals deployed and exercised military force to win battles and, over time, wars. Because the most interesting battles often have to do with unexpected victories over supposedly superior forces, and because

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Rube Goldberg Philanthopy

Too often this is what grantmaking looks like, especially to your grantees. There is no surer way to undermine all the hard work you put into strategic planning sessions than to fail to take seriously your grantmaking policies and procedures. Why? Because all policies and procedures accommodate, express and embody values. Every day, those values

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Pack Line Philanthropy

Positively giddy over the Virginia Cavaliers once-every-thirty-five-year-run to the Final Four, I cannot resist saying a little something about college hoops. You will likely think that I am forcing a pass into the low post here, but it really is my contention that you can learn more than a little about systems thinking by watching

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Four challenges to charitable decision making

Revealed in the December 2018 Chronicle of Philanthropy are the results of a study produced by Bank of America's U.S. Trust Philanthropic Solutions group in partnership with the Indiana University Lily School of Philanthopy. The study looked at the giving habits of high-net-worth philanthropists and identified four broad challenges the wealthy cite to their charitable

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How not to die of dysentery on the Oregon Trail

Recently, I was cheered to discover my nephew playing a hand-held version of the generation-defining  game The Oregon Trail, a game I first played on the Commodore 64 (or maybe the Apple II? Have I sufficiently dated myself?). The objective of the game is straightforward enough: get yourself and your traveling companions from Independence, Missouri

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