Fanatical Commitment to Moderation

On Aug. 24, 2016, I achieved my goal of losing exactly 100 pounds. For the first time in my adult life, my body mass index was classified as “normal.” As I write today’s column exactly one year after reaching this objective, I’m pleased to report that I’m still down 100 pounds (well, 102 to beContinue reading “Fanatical Commitment to Moderation”

A New Study on Giving in Retirement

Working with retirees is just part of everyday life for those of us whose business is charity in Door County. Yet there is surprisingly little research on philanthropy in the retirement years. Thankfully, a new study was just released in July that for the first time looked at how charitable giving patterns change as peopleContinue reading “A New Study on Giving in Retirement”

Give Local, But Buy on Amazon?

I’ll admit it. I like shopping on Amazon. I buy a lot of obscure books on philanthropy and community building that are not available in our local stores. My furnace uses an unusual air filter that cannot be found on local shelves. And as much as I searched, nobody around town carried quite the rightContinue reading “Give Local, But Buy on Amazon?”

Principles of Collaboration

Collaboration has become one of the trendiest ideas in the nonprofit world. Donors and grantmakers are increasingly demanding it, and the charities are responding accordingly. Generally speaking, this is a good thing. A strong and robust collaborative partnership leads to greater organizational efficiencies and increased effectiveness, and it can accelerate the speed of social and/orContinue reading “Principles of Collaboration”

The Cruel Irony of Bootstraps

“People should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.” It’s a concept of self-reliance and independence that has become the quintessentially American idea of our time. Pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps is no longer just an idiom, it has evolved into a core value that is central to much of our civic andContinue reading “The Cruel Irony of Bootstraps”

Charity, With a Glass of Wine

At the Door County Community Foundation, we recently learned some really interesting things about each other. One of our board members wrote a musical. A member of our professional staff used to dress up as Clifford the Big Red Dog at public events for PBS. The husband of a board member wrote the definitive historyContinue reading “Charity, With a Glass of Wine”

Politics and the Shortest Poem in the English Language

The second shortest poem in the English language according to Bartlett’s Quotations is called, “On the Antiquity of Microbes.” The poem reads, “Adam, had ’em.” I discovered this ridiculously obscure fact when I came across a commencement address given by the legendary boxer and political activist, Muhammad Ali. It was a thoughtful speech about howContinue reading “Politics and the Shortest Poem in the English Language”

Women’s Equality and Societal Progress

Women are more likely than men to give to women’s and girls’ causes, though “the differences are not as great as might have otherwise been expected.” That’s just one of the fascinating conclusions found in Giving to Women and Girls: Who Gives and Why, the latest study released in May 2016 as a part ofContinue reading “Women’s Equality and Societal Progress”

Remembering Those Generous to Us

Although Memorial Day didn’t become an official United States holiday until 1971, this day of remembrance is rooted in traditions that go back more than a thousand years. The first well documented public tribute to those who died in battle was given in 431 B.C. Pericles, the fabled “first citizen” of democratic Athens, offered aContinue reading “Remembering Those Generous to Us”

The Village is the Personal

“It takes a village to raise a child.” That African proverb has been repeated so often that it’s taken as a matter of faith by leaders of all stripes and political persuasions. Yet the truth is that increasingly, too many of our children are not raised by a village. With the best of intentions, we’veContinue reading “The Village is the Personal”