April 2021

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Friends in Philanthropy: April 2021 Issue

“I said, ‘How did you select us?’ She said, ‘I can’t tell you that.’”

– Turtle Mountain Community College president Donna Bowman on the mysterious process behind an $8 million gift from MacKenzie Scott

It’s one thing to read about the way major donors are trying to make philanthropy more agile during the pandemic; it’s another to experience it firsthand. Community college president Donna Bowman got a taste of the latter when she learned famed philanthropist MacKenzie Scott wanted to gift her college $8 million—no strings attached. Oh, and look for the money in a couple of weeks.

That kind of freedom, on that scale, with that speed just doesn’t happen in philanthropy. Except now, sometimes, it does. It’s proof that donors and nonprofits should never let conventional thinking stand in the way of finding a better way to tackle a problem. This month’s issue is chock-full of ideas for shaking up your approach to giving, in ways both big and small.

What It’s Like to Get $8 Million From MacKenzie Scott Out of the Blue (Slate) – Community college president Donna Bowman wasn’t sure if the initial email was real. But 3 weeks later the money was in the bank. Here’s how it happened.

Family standing together

8 Steps to Make Your Family Giving More Effective—For You, Too (Denver Post) – Philanthropic strategist Bruce DeBoskey explains how donors benefit from acting like partners with nonprofits, not like rescuers who show up to save the day.

Boxing gloves

Darren Walker’s Not Afraid to Pick a Philanthropy Fight (60 Minutes) – The Ford Foundation president with the unlikely biography says philanthropy needs to focus less on generosity and more on justice. But not everyone agrees—just ask Philanthropy Roundtable.

Watch This Tribe Celebrate Its 37-Year Quest to Translate the Bible (National Christian Foundation) – Thousands of Rendille Kenyans gathered to mark their new ability to read the word of God in their native language. Here’s a short clip from the exuberant 6-hour worship ceremony.

Young adults pointing to a laptop screen

Kids Not Ready for Their Inheritance? Consider a Private Foundation. (Kiplinger) – How is a private foundation like “an estate plan in action”? It teaches the next generation how to manage wealth.

Photos from Unsplash.

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