Our Most Important Resolution

As I began crafting this first column of 2018, someone casually suggested that I write about the progress of my previous New Year’s resolutions and the those I’ll be making for the coming year. That sounded like a promising column idea except for the fact that in my nearly five decades on this Earth, IContinue reading “Our Most Important Resolution”

Lessons for Non-Profits from 50,000 Wills

People’s reluctance to talk openly about their charitable giving has always frustrated me. Most folks will excitedly share stories about their beautiful new sailboat or the vacation they took to some exotic, far-away land. Yet when it comes to the charities we support, we tend to be far more hesitant to share. I’ve always foundContinue reading “Lessons for Non-Profits from 50,000 Wills”

Bunching Your Charitable Donations

Charitable giving is going to decline by about five percent as a direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that Congress enacted last fall. This is the consensus judgment of both liberal and conservative economists. Incentives matter and the loss of the tax deduction for charitable donations made by 21 million families isContinue reading “Bunching Your Charitable Donations”

Giving to Charity Makes Us Happy

“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”

Selfless Teachers in Spooky Mansions

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”

Life Without Me at the Community Foundation

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”

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?”