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Monday
Feb142011

My Furry Valentines

In my view, love and giving are meaningfully and practically synonymous. It's one reason I cherish the definition of philanthropy: to love and give. Although the etymologic roots refer to love and giving of/to humanity, it's important to remember that a loving relationship with an animal is a cherished and beautiful part of life, for humans and animals alike.

Meet my furry Valentines, Langton and Bryant, named in celebration of our new home on Langton and Bryant streets in the South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood of San Francisco. 

These cool cats are brothers, born in 2005 (5.5-years-old), and are a bonded pair from the same original litter – and they are as lovable as can be!

SF/SPCA

We (mon valentine et moi) adopted them through a local nonprofit organization, the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SF/SPCA).  Since April 18, 1868, the San Francisco SPCA was the nation's fourth humane society and the first west of the Mississippi. Their mission is to save and protect animals, to provide care and treatment, to advocate for their welfare and to enhance the human-animal bond.

Last year, the SF/SPCA found homes for over 4,000 cats and dogs (that’s nearly 11 animals each day!). In addition, the Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center, a full-service veterinary hospital, offers high-quality care through an experienced, compassionate veterinary team that has helped more than 30,000 animals.  There is also a subsidized Spay/Neuter Clinic that has performed procedures on approximately 150,000 cats and dogs, greatly reducing the number of surplus kittens and puppies.

Many people in our community confuse the SF/SPCA with the municipal shelter: San Francisco Department of Animal Care & Control (SF ACC).  The Department is responsible for San Francisco's stray, injured, abandoned, neglected, and mistreated animals, as well as for the enforcement of all state and local Animal Control and Welfare laws. In other words, the SF ACC serves as the city’s regulatory agency and it’s also the place to search for a lost dog or cat.

The SF/SPCA was the organization originally behind the definition and philosophy of “no-kill,” and hasn’t changed a decades-old commitment to trying to find a home for every adoptable animal. Together, the SF/SPCA and SF ACC have made San Francisco the nation's safest city for homeless cats and dogs. In 2009, the SF/SPCA’s Live Release Rate was 97 percent. Combined with the SF ACC, 85 percent of the animals entering San Francisco shelters were saved, and overall, shelter animal euthanasia decreased by 4 percent in 2009.

Community Program and Partners

As a nonprofit organization, the SF/SPCA is much more than a typical animal shelter.  It also includes a Veterinary Hospital that provides many additional services. Together, the shelter and hospital are committed to working with and supporting other local animal rescue organizations in our community.

For example, they provide community partners with heavily discounted medical services and spay/neuter surgeries. They also routinely provide free spay/neuter surgeries for pets of homeless San Franciscans through the organization Vet SOS (Veterinary Street Outreach Services).

The SF/SPCA has a variety of other programs, including:

In addition, their website has a Resource Library and Información en Español.

Pet Philanthropy: Love and Giving

From the moment you enter the SF/SPCA’s beautiful facility, the important role of philanthropists and volunteers is immediately evident (and profoundly touching!).

As a private nonprofit, the SF/SPCA receives no funds from the government, nor is it associated with national groups (including the ASPCA). As a community organization, the SF/SPCA is in the “business” of caring — for the dog that is abused or abandoned, for feral cats fending for themselves on city streets, and for animals in pain and requiring treatment.

However, this community organization is only able to advance its mission because of a generous community of donors and volunteers. For our community’s animals, donors and volunteers literally make the difference between neglect and nurturing, hurting and health, loneliness and a loving home — again, for humans and animals alike!

Friends, I encourage you to donate and/or volunteer TODAY! Alternatively, if you don’t have the cash or the calendar on-hand to give, there are a variety of other ways that you can support the SF/SPCA.

Finally, there are a variety of videos you can watch on the SF/SPCA YouTube Channel, including this one about the “Top 5 Reasons to Adopt a Black Cat” — I love it!

Tuesday
Jan112011

The Board Match 2011

Just in time to do something about my "volunteer more" New Year's resolution!
 
Tonight I attended The Board Match, a job fair-style event that matched 150 Bay Area nonprofit leaders with candidates interested in serving on their organization's board of directors. The event included a variety of organizations from large to small, focusing on everything from the environment to arts to youth.
 
First, well done on a fantastic event, Volunteer Center!  It was delightful to see so many interesting nonprofit organizations represented by their dynamic leaders and it was well attended by a diverse variety of people. It was also inspiring to see such a vibrant nonprofit community - I found myself wanting to donate my time to WAY too many organizations. I seem to be a bit more of a calendar philanthropist, pledging the time I am saving now that I don't commute. It's true, time is NOT money - it's way better!
 
So, well done to all involved and handshakes all around.
 
I must confess, it was interesting to exchange my excitement about organizations that I've known for years and may have never contacted beyond a donation or to follow via my social media in/outlets. The event was an instant connection to people that I may never have collaborated with, if given my own reservations about throwing my "expertise" on organizations that I already admire. Connections are key.
 
It was also interesting to speak with nonprofit leaders to see what I can offer to help them and how my knowledge and energy might be helpful. I also discussed things I will learn that will directly contribute to my professional -and - as we are all mission-driven people - personal development.  Collaboration is a beautiful exchange.
 
Finally, I must admit - nay, declare(!) - how enjoyable it is to attend professional networking events, when people are energized around a shared mission. On both sides of the table, I heard people talking about their backgrounds in a way that explained their forward direction and aspirations. It was a marketplace of stories, skills, and strategies. Civil society is in able hands.
 
I had a number of memorable conversations and vowed to share this resource with all my colleagues and comrades. Take my recommendation and see you at the next Board Match!
Tuesday
Dec212010

Happy Winter Solstice to All!

Hyalite Reservoir near Bozeman, MontanaWinter is here! I wish you all a peaceful and joyous holiday season!  

Fellow stargazers, did you catch the lunar eclipse last night?  AMAZING!  I'll never forget it. 

My camera wasn't able to capture a good photo, so I'm sharing one from an NPR article:

Photo by Luis Acosta /AFP/Getty Images

Saturday
Dec182010

Serving Science and Society - Under One Living Roof!

California Academy of Sciences

Claude, the Academy's lovable albino alligator.

Although this site reflects my research interests – and by no means represents my employer – I am delighted to feature the California Academy of Sciences, where I recently began working in the development division.

Inside and out, this place is amazing.

The Academy has the deepest coral reef exhibit in the world, a 4-story tropical rainforest, a towering T-Rex skeleton, a colony of African penguins, a fully-immersive digital planetarium, and an albino alligator named Claude, along with 40,000 living animals!

The Academy was founded in 1853 (wow!) and today it supports 46 world-class scientists and hundreds of researchers in 11 fields of study. With over a million visitors annually, each year the Academy's accredited teachers, highly-trained docents and scientists share their knowledge and enthusiasm for the natural sciences with tens of thousands of children, teens, and life-long learners. 

The world's greenest museum.It’s new, living and breathing building in Golden Gate Park opened in 2008 and earned the platinum rating (highest rating possible) for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and is the largest public building with this rating in the world. This commitment to sustainability extends to all facets of the facility - with a 2 ½ acre living roof, an expansive solar canopy, an extensive water reclamation system, and walls insulated with recycled blue jeans. The building also houses the Academy science labs and administrative offices (shout out to my colleagues in the development division!), including an extensive library and scientific archive consisting of more than 26 million specimens.

The Academy holds a variety of educational events, such as lectures, in addition to many other public programs. For example, the ’Tis the Season for Science events include indoor snow flurries, an igloo presentation dome, special events and daily presentations. Young visitors can also meet “Santa Claude,” the Academy’s lovable alligator.

Each Thursday, the Academy holds an event called Nightlife, where 21+ adults can enjoy music, science, entertainment and cocktails, while experiencing the Academy’s world-class exhibits and having fun with friends. Each weekly installment features something new and different. For example, last week featured chocolate tastings from around the world!

The Academy also has a useful iPhone application: Golden Gate Park Field Guide. I’ve downloaded it regularly use it to navigate my way through the 1,000+ acres of the park. The app highlights the park’s common wildlife, popular attractions, and hidden gems. As an interactive tool, it invites users to engage with the park and by recording and sharing their experiences.

As a donor and nonprofit professional, I can’t think of a better place to serve or a better mission to support. On my first day of orientation, I was thrilled to see that the very first item on the slideshow was a simple and clear mission: to explore, explain and protect the natural world. 

However, as I learn more about the collections, I also understand that the Academy also provides profound insights into human nature. My experiences in the Academy are a reminder that all forms of life are connected, biodiversity is our greatest strength, and that science and society are fundamentally linked.

Friends, I encourage you to visit the California Academy of Sciences to see it with your own eyes. I also encourage you to become a member, to support this unique cultural and scientific institution, volunteer, and spread the word!

Saturday
Dec112010

Membership Models Support Bozeman's Best

My recent vacation to my hometown of Bozeman, Montana was filled with many highlights, including visits to two nonprofit organizations that have dramatically shaped my evolving interests.

These organizations reflect two different models of membership, with different forms of impact in the direct community and beyond. It's safe to say that I've always considered a nonprofit career in large part due to their influence in my life and their contribution to my hometown community.

Museum of the Rockies

When I was probably 12-years-old, I asked my mother for one birthday present: a gift membership to the Museum of the Rockies. I would often visit alone, as it was only a short ride on my bicycle to visit the collections. From an early age, I have been fascinated with the sociology of science, how knowledge evolves, and the relationship between people, the planet, and the cosmos. 

The museum’s mission is to “inspire visitors to explore the rich natural and cultural history of America’s Northern Rocky Mountains.” The museum's collections feature the physical and cultural history of the Rocky Mountains and the people and animals that have lived there, dating back more than 500 million years. The museum houses the largest collection of dinosaur remains in the United States and possesses the largest Tyrannosaurus skull ever discovered.

Cool!

Its permanent exhibits include: Enduring Peoples, which chronicles the life of American Indians on the Northern Plains and near the Rocky Mountains; History of the Northern Rocky Mountain Region, whose inhabitants included Native Americans, fur traders, gold seekers, and settlers from frontier days through World War II; Living History Farm, which includes the Tinsley House where costumed interpreters demonstrate life in a turn-of-the-century home; and the Taylor Planetarium, a 40 ft (12 m), 104-seat domed theater.

Of course, philanthropy makes institutions like this possible, historically and presently. In 1957 the Museum of the Rockies was born as Dr. Caroline McGill’s remarkable gift to the people of Montana. Today, a wide range of philanthropists support the museum in a collaborative public partnership. The museum is both a college-level division of Montana State University and an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit institution. It's also a Smithsonian Institution affiliate and a federal repository for fossils.

Membership at the museum not only carries visitation benefits, it also directly supports the preservation and prosperity of the collections. Although large-scale gifts by prominent philanthropists are important, individual and family memberships provide the base of support for this important scientific and cultural institution.

As the year ends, please consider giving to the Museum of the Rockies. Mark my words: its exhibits and programs are life-changing and inspire many to keep learning.

Bozeman Community Food Co-Op

The mission of the Bozeman Community Food Co-Op is “To provide food and goods, promote sustainable practices and follow co-op principles.” As a community of cooperative consumers, it promotes an understanding of nutrition and ecological principles. Based on mutual aid rather than profit, the co-op strives to provide viable options for its members, offering consumer control over resources, supplying basic needs, and supplying those needs at the lowest commercially reasonable prices.

The co-op also nurtures relationships with other cooperatives, farmers, small businesses and local producers, thereby strengthening the alternative food network, the community at large, and the benefits of cooperation.

As a youth, my family worked at the co-op as members. Together, we awoke hours before it opened and, for a few days a week, cleaned the entire store. My mom would play Bob Dylan cassettes on the stereo and we used to sing and play games to make the work fun. I am thankful for the time we spent working beside one another, and also for the discount on food and other household items that helped us in many ways.

Please consider donating to the Bozeman Community Food Co-Op - or better yet, if you live in Bozeman, become a member! This organization exemplifies a community working together for peace and prosperity. It is also a great place to give your time and talents, as the new building reflects members’ collective spirit.

Tuesday
Nov232010

Bozone, Frozone, from the Ozone - I'm Home!

Bridger Mountain Range near Bozeman, Montana.

Forecast tomorrow includes light snow, high: -2°F (-19°C); low: -15°F (-26°C). Let's ski, skate, snowshoe, and sled!

Tuesday
Nov232010

Communities in Common

Out and Equal Workplace Advocates

Out & Equal is proud to announce a new guest writer series, "Communities in Common." This series profiles observations, experiences and events of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of culturally diverse communities.

Adam Bad Wound | November 23, 2010

Adam C. Bad Wound is a sociologist of philanthropy and civil society, as well as a donor to Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. As November is National Native American Heritage Month, Adam shares his experiences and thoughts on LGBT youth in American Indian and rural communities.

I come from Montana’s Big Sky Country, where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains. I was raised near three rivers, with crystal clear waters and lush emerald banks, surrounded by ruby willows, under the warm golden sun, sparkling bright in the sapphire sky. My youth was precious, picturesque, and prismatic.

However, many of my hardest memories are of colorless isolation, as I struggled to find my identity in a world that seemed to be black-and-white in so many ways. At times, being a queer American Indian felt like the worst of all possible situations.

According to 2009 Census figures, there were approximately 3.15 million American Indians in the U.S., out of 307 million people – roughly 1% of the population. From 1999 to 2004 (when I was 19-24), American Indian/Alaska Native males in the 15 to 24 year old age group had the highest suicide rate, roughly 28/100,000, compared to 17.5/100,000 for white, 12.8/100,000 for black, and 9/100,000 Asian/Pacific Islander males of the same age. Furthermore, a 2007 study found that LGBT youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

Taken together, it’s hard for me to reconcile these figures, but easy to understand them personally. Geographic and social isolation were harsh realities of my youth, at times to the point of desperation. In light of recent cyber-bulling events, I can certainly understand how some youth – from any background – might feel trapped in a dark place.

To youth in American Indian and rural communities, I encourage you to remember that LGBT people come from everywhere. My journey has taken me from the mountains, to the plains, Great Lakes, Atlantic Coast, and Pacific Coast. I’ve come to know firsthand that LGBT people come from the middle of nowhere to the middle of San Francisco.

Finally, although it’s been said many times recently, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Although our community is small, there are plenty of resources for support, online and offline. I’m thankful to have embraced my spirit for its natural way, in part by attending gatherings, researching information, and connecting online. Doing so might not change your immediate situation, but it might add a splash of color to a dark night.

Just remember: somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue.

More resources to support LGBT and American Indian LGBT youth include:

 

 

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See the original post and other guest writer contributions: http://www.outandequal.org/communitiesincommon/

Friday
Nov192010

Donation Recommendation: The Seasons Fund for Social Transformation

Seasons Fund for Social Transformation

Mission:

The Seasons Fund For Social Transformation catalyzes vibrant and effective social change movements by coupling the power of personal transformation with the public work of creating a just and sustainable world.

Method:

The Seasons Fund makes grants to help agents of social change view themselves, their work, and the world around them in a new light. Specifically, the Fund supports opportunities for reflection and training aimed at fostering personal transformation, building leadership skills, promoting organizational development, forging effective coalitions, and cultivating new ways of envisioning society. The Fund also supports efforts to evaluate the impact of contemplative practices on social change initiatives.

My Motivation:

I support the Seasons Fund for Social Transformation because they support people working for social, economic, and environmental justice to embrace a range of contemplative practices that can deepen their capacity to lead.

The Seasons Fund believes that cultivating a rich inner life is both a worthy end in itself and an overlooked pathway to heightening the impact, effectiveness, and sustainability of social change initiatives. In addition, their website offers case studies that are practical and informative. The case studies illuminate their work in building awareness, getting results, and making connections.

I encourage you to donate to the Seasons Fund for Social Transformation because peaceful giving begins with the personal transformation of our leaders, building effective coalitions, and new ways of envisioning society. 

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“Donation Recommendation” will be a regular feature on this blog with a simple concept:  whenever I decide to donate to or volunteer with an organization, I’m going to write about why I have chosen to give my support. Doing so documents my philanthropic investments, volunteering, and donation motivation, as well as spreads the word about organizations that I support. In particular, I am on a mission to fund (whenever possible) organizations that actively engage both social and environmental projects together.

Sunday
Nov142010

Book Review: Small Change by Michael Edwards

Small Change: Why Business Won't Save the WorldSomtimes I think, "If I wanted to go into business, I would have gone into business..."

It seems often forgotten that many people – myself included – make an active decision to avoid politics and business. We have a variety of motivations and missions, but we seek change that comes beyond convention. Nonprofit… nonpartisan… we are defined by what we are not. And I think that’s great.

I am reminded of the special nature of civil society as I read Small Change: Why Business Won’t Save the World by Michael Edwards. The primary purpose of the book, in my view, is to be practical by raising challenging questions about the role of business in progressive social change. In response to a wave of “Philanthrocapitalism” (a la Matthew Bishop, Michael Green, et tout le monde), Edwards provides an analysis and critique of the movement, as well as an argument for what he calls “Citizen Philanthropy.”

Edwards sums his message early in the preface, when he argues against a "business-is-best" philosophy:

"That's an attractive proposition, but also a dangerous mirage. Can we compete ourselves into a more cooperative future, or consume our way to conserve the planet's scarce resources, or grow grow our way to out of deep-rooted poverty and oppression, or fight our way to peace?" ..."The claim that business thinking can save the world is a convenient myth for those who occupy positions of great wealth and power; and the constant celebration of the rich and famous individuals is a dangerous distraction from the hard, public work of finding solutions, all of us together" (p. xi). 

“Social transformation is not a job to be left to market forces or to the whims of billionaires. Perhaps if we supported the energy and creativity of millions of ordinary people, we could create a foundation for lasting progress that will never come through top-down planning by a new global elite, however well intentioned. When this principle is accepted and philanthropy is reconfigured to be less technocratic and more supportive of people’s own self-development efforts, then change will come – larger than we can control, quicker than we can imagine, and deeper than we could ever hope for by reducing everything to market forces” (pp. xiii-xiv).

To be fair, it seems that his message is meant to provoke debate. He isn’t suggesting that market forces are always inappropriate as a tool to advancing social change. However, he does argue that it can be detrimental to always use market forces in a blind manner.

I was able to hear Edwards speak about the book at an event with Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) – Bay Area Chapter in early Novemeber, 2010. Speaking to a group of young professionals, aspects of his message seemed to encourage our dedication to advancing social change, no matter the method. He suggested that we think critically about when markets (and associated tools) are appropriate and inappropriate.

I found the book to be an extremely interesting, quick read with some powerful and profound points. Coupled with a re-reading of Philanthrocapitalism, it’s worth knowing these perspectives and the arguments these authors make. Keep in mind that the dialogue is friendly, as you can watch Michael Edwards and Matthew Bishop debate on YouTube:

Sunday
Nov072010

General Disclaimer

This site’s media (written, photography, video, etc.) is generally used for informational purposes only and serves no commercial or political purpose. The site is personal in nature and is meant to reflect the scholarly research interests of Adam C. Bad Wound. Interests are subject to change, revision and removal. 

 Adam makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. Affiliations are provided for identification purposes only and do not imply any representation on behalf of past and present employers, associates, and organizations.