Lessons in Philanthropy: Types of Foundations

By: Nathaniel
Nathaniel is a participant in Allowance for Good's Spring 2016 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy class in the Evanston location.

The ELP Evanston class sharing why they are Catalysts for Good.

My name is Nathaniel in the AfG Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy, and I will talk to you to say about community foundations. Foundations are non profits. A non profit is a establishment not for profit. There are many foundations such community foundation which I will be covering today, corporate foundation, family foundation, independent foundation, operating foundation, and a private foundation.

"I am a Catalyst for Good because...
I will save endangered puppies and animals."
- Nathaniel
A community foundation is a organization that helps a certain community or a religion. Money is taken from endowments and uses to make grants that will sever the community. I was surprised that the Bill and the Melinda Gates wasn't a family foundation but instead a private foundation because the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a non governmental, non profit dedicated to help people and making scholarships and grants to people and companies that will help/change  the world. The activity  taught me the grant making process how people applied for grants and how companies divides and then decides to pay the full grant or pay for a part of the grant or veto the grant entirely. Evanston has a community foundation called The Evanston Community Foundation or ECF for short. Evanston can thrive by making grants to certain people or companies that are dedicated to Evanston and its people.These people and companies can sponsor activities that help the community by cleaning up the streets or doing a bake sale that the money is donated to Evanston. That money can be used to fixed the parks in Evanston, make sure that public spaces are a safe environment, clean up the neighborhoods around ETHS. There is a lot to do to help Evanston thrive, but it will happen and Evanston will remain to be a great suburb.

The Benefits of Corporate Philanthropy

By: Caroline
Caroline is a participant in our Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers class.

Corporate philanthropy is a very effective and generous form of giving. Companies not only receive great public appeal but those whom they serve benefit best. Companies often have more financing, influence and industry than private donors or foundations that are better equipped to support large events like fundraisers, supply more volunteers or donate larger sums of money etc. Because each side gets something out of the interaction, this is a very just format. No one side is better than the other and each are partners instead of one being charitable and the other being weak. There are many different forms of philanthropy but corporate philanthropy is an increasingly popular form. I was aware of the different forms of philanthropy prior to ELP, but I had no idea all of the work that goes into each one. I have a much greater respect for philanthropy now I know it takes more than just writing a check. When I mentioned to my friend I was taking this class, she asked what could there be to learn about writing a check? It feels so great to have this knowledge of true philanthropy and share it with others. I thought I knew a handful of philanthropists but now I realize I know so many more. Philanthropists are not just the people who write the check but also the people who volunteer their time and talent. Corporate philanthropy is another incredible way to do good and the education of this is crucial to continuing its great work.

Lessons from Foundation Leaders

By: Will
Will is a participant in Allowance for Good's Winter 2015 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers class.

This week at ELP, we were lucky enough to talk to a few leaders in the philanthropy world today. Two members of the McCormick Foundation and one from the Jack Miller Family Foundation joined us to discuss their work. We learned the origins of each group, and what they strive to fix through their philanthropy. Programs run by the groups varied immensely, and the speakers were passionate while discussing the diverse initiatives focused on Judaism  medical research, civics, education, democracy, aid for veterans, and more.

As students, it was interesting to hear from two separate foundations each trying to give meaningful grants. The McCormick Foundation is substantially larger than the Jack Miller Family Foundation, but both groups utilized similar grant-making policies. Personally, it was unexpected to hear just how driven each group was by their founders. For the McCormick foundation, they are still driven by the values from about 150 years ago. Jack Miller, who is still alive today, also plays a large role in crafting his foundation’s initiatives. 

Later in the class, we were invited to ask a few questions of our panel. I asked the first question, which was definitely a tough one to answer. I inquired as to how their foundations measure the success of their grants after giving them. The answers varied, but provided nice insight into how decisions are made in foundations. Suzanne Knoll from the Jack Miller Family Foundation noted that their group attempts to give grantees the tools to measure success on their own. They also try and use any quantitative data available to find the impact of the programs. The representatives from the McCormick Foundation also commented on the difficulty of analyzing success in philanthropy, and what their efforts have been. 

There were a few more questions posed before the end of class. For example, one student asked which of the programs each panel member was most proud of. The unique answers displayed their passion for helping others, and some background for what drives them. Unfortunately we ran out of time a tad early, but the chance to hear from these friendly and intelligent guest speakers was amazing. A friend and I also got to ride down in the elevator with one of the speakers, so it was nice to speak a little bit longer with him. I loved getting to know the philosophy behind each foundation’s work, and I’m looking forward to next week’s class.

Will writes, "I am a Catalyst for Good because everyone deserves the right to be their own catalyst."

Using Philanthropy for Gender Equality

By: Hannah
Hannah is a participant in Allowance for Good's Autumn 2014 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers class. 

Recently, I have become quite a feminist. Not the stereotypical, angry, hairy-legged feminist, but the person who genuinely believes that the world needs to see men and women as equals. Nothing makes me more disappointed than hearing about the injustices women suffer of a daily basis just by being female. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been in support of gender equality, but only in the past few months have I become so attuned to extent of the problem both local and worldwide.

If I were to be fortunate enough to have a family foundation, I would dedicate it to making the woman’s voice heard through education. I choose education because the only way to make lasting change is by inspiring the next generation. School teaches young girls more than just academics—it teaches them they have a future. It teaches them they have power to do anything they set their mind to and will create the spark needed to for us to obtain true gender equality.

Most of my family foundation’s money would go to help international organizations dedicated to ending the gender gap in places like the Middle East where sexism is most prominent. This is because the money would make the most dramatic difference there, and I would want each penny to be used as efficiently as possible. I would also give to organizations that support women’s health because it is equally important for women to be educated in body and mind. After all, happiness and success are only possible in good health.

The rest of the money would go to organizations that focus on women’s rights in the US because American women experience sexism on a daily basis. We have come a long way, but the end of gender-based discrimination is still far off. One staggering statistic is the fact that females make up fifty percent of college graduates, but only five percent of CEOs. That resonates with me because it points out exactly what we have accomplished and what still needs to be done. It shows we have given girls dreams, but we have not turned them into reality just yet. I think that if women’s rights organizations get the support they need, we have a real chance of creating a tomorrow where no woman is disadvantaged just because of her sex.

Hannah works with her ELP classmates to create their theoretical family foundation.

Inspiration and Fresh Perspective at Google Chicago

By: Riley
Riley participated in Allowance for Good's summer 2014 Global Philanthropy Summit program. 

I was lucky enough to take part in the Global Philanthropy Summit last week.  It was a riveting and insightful experience, and I now feel like a more engaged citizen!

Thursday was definitely the most exciting day of our week, with several important activities in downtown Chicago.  After taking the train in from Evanston, we trekked downtown and settled in our destination.  Soon after we arrived, so did our presenters: representatives from A Better Chicago, a venture philanthropy group, and one of its funded programs.  They told us all about the great projects they were involved in currently, and where they hope their programs will be in the future.  The impact that these programs had made on the community of Chicago and its young people was obvious.  It was inspiring for us to be presented with some of the greatest philanthropic work going on in Chicago!

After the presentation, we walked to Google's Chicago headquarters, probably the highlight of our week at the GPS.  This was definitely my personal favorite place we visited in our two days downtown.  Besides taking a tour of Google's progressively-designed workplace and its fascinating employees, we participated in a Google+ Hangout with an AFG affiliate at Liger Learning Centre.  We also learned about all of Google's philanthropic work, which was simply amazing.  Google already has a reputation as a very socially responsible business, and its philanthropy was no exception to this principle.  The company has helped get thousands of people out of slavery, donated technology, and otherwise helped people in ways big and small.

I cannot describe how personally inspiring the visit to Google was for me.  The trip taught me that philanthropy can truly be on any scale and that even helping a few people is great philanthropic work.  Google's work with spreading technology and knowledge about it showed great promise for the future of the world and technological progress in it.  Google has encouraged me to be more aware of the world around me and to use my skills to help the people that I can.

I'd like to thank everyone who worked to make the GPS happen and my classmates for making the entire week a great experience for us all!