I spent yesterday with three different philanthropies, all clients of the firm, and couldn’t help being struck by their common generosity of spirit, despite their differences in approach. I spent the morning with what you would call a “traditional” philanthropy, a family charitable trust where the donor’s adult grandchildren made grants to environmental, social service and educational organizations. More than once they referred to having learned the spirit of giving from their grandmother, and how proud she would have been of those gifts. A major topic of conversation was how could they translate that spirit and practice to their children.
In the afternoon, I sat in on a meeting between two philanthropies whose missions intersect around charitable athletic events. The Travis Roy Foundation (which provides grants for spinal cord injury research and for adaptive equipment for individuals living with spinal cord injury) has a wiffle ball tournament as its major fundraiser. Generous bodies play hard to make life easier for those who cannot swing a bat. They are a partner with Positive Tracks, which works through charitable athletic events to increase participation, fundraising and community engagement by young people ages 23 and under. Positive Tracks matching grants double the dollars raised at the wiffle ball tournament and 164 other charitable athletic events in 30 states and 4 countries. Talk about generosity of bodies and minds!
At a time of year when generosity and giving thanks are foremost in everyone’s minds, it’s gratifying to see that it’s not a one-size-fits all model. A strength of mission and clarity of purpose will propel all three of these philanthropies to successfully meeting their goals, and helping thousands along the way.