We’re More Than Consumers

The wonderful thing about this time of year is whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivus, there is a spirit that ties all of these holidays together. Fundamentally, this time of year is about giving. Unfortunately, Madison Avenue advertising firms have convinced us that during the holidays “shopping” is a synonym for “giving.” IfContinue reading “We’re More Than Consumers”

Thanksgiving and American Exceptionalism

Nearly 400 years ago, over 100 passengers boarded the ship Mayflower and set sail for the “New World.” Their destination was the mouth of the Hudson River, but two months of sailing over perilous seas blew them farther north than anticipated. The Mayflower ultimately dropped anchor in December near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Unprepared for theContinue reading “Thanksgiving and American Exceptionalism”

Black Friday on Thanksgiving Isn’t the Real Problem

For nearly 20 years, my lovely wife Cari and I had a special Black Friday tradition. In the wee hours after Thanksgiving, she would get up at 2 am to stand in line outside a series of retail stores so she could grab the greatest bargains of the season. In the early days of thisContinue reading “Black Friday on Thanksgiving Isn’t the Real Problem”

Philanthropy Supporting Business

There’s a fascinating shift going on in modern philanthropy. Many of our nation’s most ingenious philanthropic institutions are broadening their focus. Rather than limiting themselves to awarding grants to nonprofit organizations, foundations are increasingly recognizing that the entrepreneurial spirit is an invaluable tool to achieve their goals for the community. As a result, these charitableContinue reading “Philanthropy Supporting Business”

A Non-Profit Horror Story for Halloween

Imagine making a contribution of $25,000 to your favorite charity only to have the Internal Revenue Service disallow your tax deduction. This nonprofit horror story may sound absurd, but if you’re not careful, it could happen to you. It starts with a nonprofit that you’ve been giving to for many years and know very well.Continue reading “A Non-Profit Horror Story for Halloween”

Thank Goodness for Bargain Sales

Recently the Volunteer Center of Door County hosted its annual Golden Heart Awards to recognize outstanding volunteers in our community. Holly Feldman, one of the handful of folks who have attended all 12 of these annual galas, calls it the “feel good event of Door County.” Indeed, it’s easy to see why people are soContinue reading “Thank Goodness for Bargain Sales”

Facebook: Telephone or Television?

Fifteen years ago I was at a conference of community foundations and had the opportunity to participate in a discussion session with Dr. Robert Putnam, a political scientist at Harvard University. Putnam was there to talk with us about the loss of social capital in the United States. Think of social capital as the relationships,Continue reading “Facebook: Telephone or Television?”

How Gender Impacts Charitable Giving

Charities have long known that women are more likely to contribute than men, but new research has uncovered some remarkable differences when it comes to each gender’s approach to philanthropy. Where Do Men and Women Give? Gender Differences in the Motivations and Purposes for Charitable Giving is a new study that was released in SeptemberContinue reading “How Gender Impacts Charitable Giving”