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.
Giving, at its highest levels, is gratifying for the donor. I have seen it for myself countless times during my two decades working in philanthropy. The words “joy” and “pleasure” come to mind, but they don’t quite capture the experience. The most generous people I know give back because it’s incredibly fulfilling, as if philanthropyContinue reading “Curing Donor Fatigue: The Search for Fulfillment”
Since the early part of 20th century, Thanksgiving has been the unofficial the start of the holiday gift buying season. However, in 1939, Thanksgiving was to fall on November 30, allowing for a mere 24 days of shopping before Christmas. This sent retailers into a panic. The presidents of Gimbels, Lord & Taylor and otherContinue reading “Giving is Not a Synonym for Shopping”
A colleague recently asked which was more valuable to a charity – when someone makes an in-kind gift or when they write check? The most common “in-kind” gift is a contribution of a tangible item such as when you donate canned goods to a food pantry. A check, of course, is just another form ofContinue reading “Which is More Valuable: In-Kind or Cash Gifts?”
Kaaren Northrop and her family are the epitome of business generosity. As the proprietors of Main Street Market, their company has long been known as one of the most generous in Northern Door County. “My mom always says that we give back because this community has been so good to us,” she says. “I wouldContinue reading “Business Giving is Good for Business”
Research psychologists have long documented a causal relationship between individual wealth and personal contentment. In other words, the consensus among scientists is that money does indeed buy happiness. Intuitively, this makes sense. Having a certain degree of wealth makes it easier to overcome the stress of many of life’s challenges – stresses which presumably leadContinue reading “If You Think Money Can’t Buy You Happiness Then You Don’t Know Where to Shop”
“In the morning there was a big wind blowing and the waves were running high up on the beach and he was awake a long time before he remembered that his heart was broken.” These words of Ernest Hemingway come to mind as I sit outside on this beautiful Hawaiian morning. A few days agoContinue reading “The Man Who Taught Me About Generosity”
Working professionally in the world of philanthropy for the last two decades, I am often asked to volunteer with the business, legal or fund development aspects of managing a non-profit corporation. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been involved with the “retail” end of the charitable world in which you make modest appealsContinue reading “Small Yet Beautiful Acts of Generosity”
A few months ago I was invited to join a breakfast group that has been meeting every Friday morning for the last 30 years. It’s one of those gatherings of old men who get together once a week to pontificate over a cup of coffee about how to solve all the world’s problems. Apparently, myContinue reading “Solving the World’s Problems Over Breakfast”
Those of us who work for non-profits like to think we’re immune from the rash of corruption that seems to have overtaken the for-profit world. We see convicted felon Bernie Ebbers who perpetrated an $11 billion accounting fraud at WorldCom. There’s Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay of Enron who were sentenced to decades in jailContinue reading “Fraud in the Non-Profit World”
Many of us often say that Door County is a special place. Indeed it is, particularly when it comes to charitable giving. Our level of charitable giving is far greater than you would normally find in a community with less than 30,000 permanent residents. There are few counties across the Midwest in which such anContinue reading “The Art of a Capital Campaign”
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