Entries in Donations (3)


Giving with Game

My friends over at the One Percent Foundation are constantly coming up with good ideas. This time, they’ve found a way to mix good + games + grants.

Grant Madness 2012

Join us for FREE beer, basketball, and music on Sunday, March 11 from 1-4 PM at WIX Lounge in San Francisco.

Donors that sign up for Grant Madness (in advance or at the event) are entered into a raffle to win fun prizes courtesy of WIX Lounge, ScoutMob, Lagunitas Brewing Company, and Fundly!


Reading Recommendation: The Raising of Money

It’s simple, yet all too true: “Organizations Have No Needs” is the first small chapter in the book The Raising of Money: 35 Essentials Trustees Are Using to Make a Difference by Jim Lord.

I’ve never thought about it before, but he’s obviously right.  The organization doesn’t have needs; people do. I’ve never heard an organization beg.  I’ve never heard an institution say “I’m hungry!” 

It’s what we so commonly assume about organizational behavior is that somewhat ironically, organizations are not literally alive, nor does one behave.

But when you want something to grow, much like a person, an organization requires essential nutrients and significant investment. We invest in people, for causes, that are approached in a strategic and organized manner.

As a reminder, civil society is really people asking for support and essential resources, for causes that are important to them for any number of reasons. Somewhat like requesting nourishment, the heart of philanthropy is based on personal relationships.

The book is divided into seven sections:

  1. Working from the Perspective of the Donor
  2. Getting People Involved
  3. Setting the Pace for Giving
  4. Applying the Campaign Principle
  5. Asking for Money
  6. Practicing Stewardship
  7. Kindling the Spirit of Philanthropy

Each section has a number of small chapters, each filled with tips and strategies, targeted to trustees and development professionals; or in the case of smaller nonprofits, the board of directors and fundraisers.

The book was recommended to me by my mentor as a fellow with the Association of Fundraising ProfessionalsGolden Gate Chapter. I was excited to read the book for professional and personal reasons.

For example, I was recently elected to the Board of Directors at Stanford Pride, a nonprofit networking organization affiliated with the Stanford Alumni Association. Without being preachy, the book had many pages that directly apply to my leadership and volunteerism. The book addresses both sides of the philanthropic coin – the donor and volunteer, or in many cases the donating philanthropist and development professional.

I’m definitely grateful that this book is fresh in my mind as I begin this service commitment!

The book is also filled with inspirational quotes – some from creative works, others from passionate philanthropists, such this inspiring quote on page 76 from John D. Rockefeller, Jr.:

“When a solicitor comes to you and lays on your heart the responsibility that rests so heavily on his; when his earnestness gives convincing evidence of how seriously interested he is; when he makes it clear that he knows you are no less anxious to do your duty in the matter than he is, that you are just as conscientious that he feels sure all you need is to realize the importance of the enterprise and the urgency of the need in order to lead you to do your full share in meeting it – he has made you his friend and has brought you to think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege.”

In all honesty, this rather long quote resonates with my passion for my work and personal alignment with the mission of the California Academy of Sciences, where I spend my day job as a part of the development team. Each day, I aspire to work with donors in such a way that they will see my personal and professional missions as one in the same, and something they can be a part of as investors.

In conclusion, the book is also an important reminder that all forms of philanthropy (time, talent, treasure) is based on people helping people (also the title of chapter 26!). The book is dedicated “The the Volunteer… the heart and soul of philanthropy.”  Its insight-filled pages had many practical implications that apply to my work, my board service, and all other areas of my involvement in civil society.

Colleagues and comrades, this book is a must-read if you want to take your work in philanthropy seriously. 


Donation Recommendation: The Seasons Fund for Social Transformation

Seasons Fund for Social Transformation


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.


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. 


“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.