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April 2008

Speaking to Southeastern Council of Foundations

For the past two or three days I have been in Tupelo, MS, with members of the Southeastern Council of Foundations. Spoke twice, first on two case studies on family dynamics; then on leadership, using a passage from Amy Kass's, Giving Well, Doing Good. The leadership conversation to me was particularly interesting. People opened up to talk about diversity, social justice, civic dialogue, differences between Southern and Northern attitudes to wealth, and how we can maintain our respective cultural heritages within a plural society, in which we would disagree, ideally, both passionately and with respect for our shared humanity. A participant brought up King Lear, most of those present admitted to having read it, and off we went talking about the Fool and how truth is best spoken to power. I made new friends, enjoyed great hospitality, and hope they will forgive me my excesses here at Gifthub. (Fools live on, even now, in expectation of the Restoration.)

Social Citizens

Alison Fine's Social Citizens Discussion Paper is up on the Case Foundation site.  Will Millennials become true social citizens, or will they settle for cocoons and cliques? I do enjoy the company of many of that generation on line and off.  My sense is that they are still finding their own shared consciousness as they assimilate what comes with maturity - job, voting, marriage, finance. They see through things wonderfully, but whether they see a way forward, probably not, none of us do.

Shaping your Legacy Plan with Advisors

May 15, Center for Family Philanthropy Teleconference with Tracy Gary:

Families who think thoughtfully about what they want to achieve with their wealth—either through their foundation, their personal giving or both—and who communicate that clearly to their advisors, will have more success in seeing their legacy fulfilled. Unless you develop a plan and share your vision,  your financial advisors may advise you to follow a conservative giving plan that doesn’t take into account your capacity to give or desire to go beyond just preserving wealth. Based on her book “Inspired Philanthropy, Creating a Giving Plan and Leaving a Legacy,” Tracy Gary will discuss how to develop your giving plan and partner with your advisors to unleash greater generosity.

This is what Tracy and I are trying to foster; she with her "gigs," I at Gifthub, and both of us in open source partnership with others who serve donors bent on serving the larger human community. Advisors serve families, clients, the money itself, themselves and their firm. For advisors to create a  plan in service to community needs, the client must step forward with the ideals clearly stated. Training donors to do that is what Tracy and I are all about these days. We think it is good for families, and good for the community. Having presented these ideas at Advisors in Philanthropy with Tracy a few days ago, it is clear that qualified advisors embrace this process.

Meditations on Mission Investing, by Catherine Austin Fitts

117orpheusandeurydice Catherine has posted a deep Meditation on Mission Investing. If you find it cryptic as to her personal story, this link might help.  All that has befallen her did not happen in America. It could not have. We are a free people, in a free country and a free market; one nation indivisible under God. We are a meritocracy in which the best rise. What Catherine describes is Necropolis, the land of the living dead. Unspeakable. Shadows moving in an underworld. Love, art, the seasons, neighborliness, and truth-telling, will those prevail over death-in-life? As many as the leaves of autumn are the souls on the river of death. Yet love will renew us if we dare open eyes and hearts to the shadow of horror that moves amidst our blindness, fear, and silence.  Orpheus: Do not taste the seed of death, nor look back to find Eurydice.

On Mission Investing

Who else writes about money and morals that this level?

The history on our planet is one of some groups subsidizing themselves by stealing from/draining other groups or the environment- whether through organized crime, slavery, warfare or pollution. This type of subsidy extraction has been one of the keys to the success of the English- speaking people. I call this model the negative return on investment model, or the Tapeworm economy

Catherine Austin Fitts wants free markets and a free people. Her piece on Capitalism 3.0 (from which this quotation is taken) punches holes in progressive rhetoric (of which I am often guilty). She believes that progressives unwittingly create the screens (including philanthropic screens) behind which the corruption-of-capitalism that she calls "the Tapeworm," thrives in DC and Wall Street. On her view,  Folly praises Knavery for Philanthropy and Social Investing, and the world goes darkling. 



Large numbers of people playing together online represents more than just a good time; it represents the seeds of change. We believe in the power of play to bridge differences and allow a wide range of diverse people to engage in shared social goals like never before.

They recently announced a 1.9 million (Canadian) funding loan. More on the vision here.

Learning to Give

Learning to Give:

Teaching the Importance of Voluntary Action
      for the Common Good in a Democratic Society
Learning to Give offers lesson plans, activities, and resources to educate youth about the power of philanthropy (sharing time, talent and treasure).
Empower young people to make a difference in their school, their community and their world!