October 2022

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Friends in Philanthropy: October 2022 Issue

“I never know what I’m going to do or why I’m gonna do it. I just see a need and if I can fill it, then I will.”

– Dolly Parton on her intuitive approach to philanthropy

We talk a lot about giving strategy in this newsletter, and with good reason. A thoughtful approach to your philanthropy can be the difference between solving a problem and spinning your wheels.

(Just see this month’s first story on “going beyond the grant” for proof.)

But when you’re lost in thorny problems around setting priorities and measuring impact, sometimes it’s nice to be reminded how simple being charitable can be.

That’s Dolly Parton’s philosophy, anyway. In a recent interview conducted just before she accepted the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, the country music legend confessed she doesn’t worry too much about the strategic side of giving. She just listens to her instincts.

And her instincts are good. Between her literacy program, which puts 2 million books in kids’ hands each month, and other pursuits like disaster relief and scholarship programs, no one can seriously doubt Dolly’s making a difference. 

Read on for more stories about donors and doers who are figuring out their own way to pull off the same feat.

A team putting their hands in the middle

How an Ambitious Foundation Handles ‘Going Beyond the Grant’ (National Center for Family Philanthropy) – Laurene Powell Jobs’s Emerson Collective knows a thing or two about supporting nonprofits beyond funding. (They even have a “capacity building menu”!)

Graffiti painting of Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton’s Donation Strategy: ‘I Just Give From My Heart’ (AP News) – The recent Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy winner doesn’t dig deeply into giving strategy. But from children’s books to disaster relief, when she sees a need, she fills it.

A house keychain and a key

Could No-Interest Micro Loans Be the Key to Preventing Homelessness? (L.A. Times) – Software entrepreneur Adam Miller’s new $1M lending fund is meant to tide over L.A. residents on the verge of eviction. But is it sustainable?

Two women looking down sorrowfully

How a ‘Tsunami of Suffering’ Pushed One Woman Toward Purposeful Giving (National Christian Foundation) – Susan Ibarguen faced a series of tragedies before a fateful Bible study session changed her life. Now her two-word purpose statement guides everything she does, including her philanthropy.

Welcome mat that says, "All are welcome here."

How Well Do We Love the Strangers Among Us? (The Better Samaritan) – Inspired by a dinner hosted by her Syrian refugee neighbors, author Catherine McNeil considers Biblical wisdom on how to treat strangers—especially strangers from another culture.

Photos courtesy of Unsplash.

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