The blog posts below are Bret Bicoy’s ramblings, rantings, and musings on philanthropy as excerpted from his published works. He writes regular columns in the Peninsula Pulse and Door County Living, as well as for other publications from time to time.
“If you want to feel good, you have to go out and do some good.” Oprah Winfrey articulated a fundamental value that many of us share, but sentiment isn’t sufficient for scientists. Thus researchers set out to answer a complex question: Can people enrich their own lives through charitable giving? The answer brings us toContinue reading “Giving to Charity Makes Us Happy”
About every other week or so, I have the bad habit of switching between MSNBC and Fox News to see how each side is covering the issues of the day. I call this a “bad” habit because ironically, it’s the one thing that people of both political persuasions have told me is foolish, albeit forContinue reading “The Competition of Ideas”
Okay, I’ll admit it. I dislike horror movies, despise Halloween, and want absolutely nothing to do with haunted houses. I like to think this is not so much out of cowardice as it is the natural result of a lifetime in philanthropy working to help people overcome society’s most serious issues. I’ve seen enough alarmingContinue reading “Selfless Teachers in Spooky Mansions”
About 10 years ago, Dick Egan – my friend and, at the time, board chair of the Door County Community Foundation – shared a perspective that completely turned my thinking on its head. He fundamentally reshaped how I view the responsibility of a charity’s board of directors relative to its CEO. I am the presidentContinue reading “Life Without Me at the Community Foundation”
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”
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”
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?”
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”
“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”
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”
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