Entries from January 2006

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

Book: Creating Philanthropic Capital Markets

These are the kinds of things with which I occupy my limited brain capacity.

Just picked up Creating Philanthropic Capital Markets: The Deliberate Evolution by Lucy Bernholz. I only recommend it to those interested in envisioning and building our philanthropic future. It’s a structural look at the way Americans give money and how our years old models will change during the course of the next millennium.

I won’t bore the 99% of you out there who do not care about the intricacies of this stuff. I’ll just report that some very interesting ideas are put forth by Bernholz as to how we will begin to better analyze and evaluate our charities and make our giving decisions accordingly. She cites many existing organizations on the cutting edge of this modernization. It’s an interesting read, one that will motivate you to want to take a plunge into this world. I know it’s given me many ideas to pursue in the context of NICE and beyond.

I know this write up is vague. The idea is to get you to pick the book up. It’s currently on Amazon.com for $48. I got it at my local library. If you want more of a preview before making this investment, just drop me an email and we’ll talk.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

Good iPod: State of the Union

I’m glad to report that I holed up in the bedroom with my headphones on, reading a book, while the State of the Union speech droned on in the living room. New York City apartment living makes it hard for a household of two to support on two separated lives. But, with the new iPod video I received for Christmas (my first ever pod, thank you very much) I has the best State of the Union evening in a long while.

I vaguely remembered Carter’s gentlemanly Georgian drawl; kind of liked Reagan’s grandfatherly calm as a kid; couldn’t stand BI; was inspired enough by Clinton’s in 1995 to apply for the Peace Corps; and, have not been able to stomach BII. This was the first time in well over a decade that I didn’t have to listen to one single echo or clap from the House chambers. It was heaven. Just me, my book and a little iPod shuffling in the background.

God bless America.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

Southwest Airlines

I was looking for a flight to visit long lost and dear friends in Chicago today when I decided to take a closer look at one of my favorite airlines.

Southwest has for years been that shining star in the vast field of ever dimming carriers. I remember in the early 1990s in one of the San Diego airport terminals, while waiting for an America West flight, bored to death, I watched as the Southwest folks at the neighboring gate were having all kinds of fun as the airline employees cracked jokes and played games with kids. Something was definitely up at that small little airlines.

The Southwest mystique has grown since then and has become the beacon of the commercial air carrier world. Indeed, the future of flight rests in Southwest’s anti-hub, many legged model of transport. Using smaller, more economical planes, Southwest fills more seats and keeps costs down, which means more green in their pockets. But their secret weapon is their workforce. Watching the genuine excitement that those Southwest employees had for their work and customers that day in San Diego was, dare I say, inspiring. Why, I’ve never been so enthused about work as those folks were. With a happy and energized workforce like that, it’s no wonder that Southwest is such a successful company.

So why is it on the electronic pages of NICE Magazine? Is it because of all of those crazy planes painted like Shamu? Could it be because they once used a red heart as a key corporate marker? It must be because their stock symbol is LUV. Well, tt has some to do with these things. But the main reason is found in the company mission statement found on their website:

The Mission of Southwest Airlines
The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.

To Our Employees
We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer.

Can’t beat a company that has that much love for their employees. Southwest proves that you can be a profit making machine and still have a bit of a human touch too.

The company is currently celebrating their 35th Anniversary this year. Go out and support them. Cheap fares, excellent service and a company with a conscience. That’s a win, win, win if I ever saw one.

Monday, January 30th, 2006

Nice in Minnesota

Read in the Mankato Free Press about just how nice folks are up in Minnesota.

The article talks about the 10th anniversary of a local group called VINE Faith In Action. As its name implies, this is a faith based organization. It specializes in assisting the elderly and those with disabilities with daily chores through an army of community volunteers. The program is one of hundreds across the country funded by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative. Minnesota’s 300 plus members have done a ton of good for a ton of people.

Monday, January 30th, 2006

South Carolina community celebrates helpful mother

Read this article in the Charleston Post Courier about Eleanor G. Diebold and her helpful hand.

She has been volunteering for eight years at her son’s school. She helps in the office and tutors four to five days a week.

Diebold made the hard decision when she became a mother to leave her career in retail management and focus fulltime to her family.

A national nonprofit support group, Mothers and More, helped her make the big step from career woman to family maven. The modern motherhood dilemma is well documented. Television shows like Desperate Housewives and news magazines like 60 Minutes have explored the hard decision between job success and being there for your family. Mothers and More is a membership group that supports the highly educated, successful set on how to handle this transition.

Monday, January 30th, 2006

Mothers and More

From its website:

Our Mission
Mothers & More is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of mothers through support, education and advocacy. We address mothers’ needs as individuals and members of society, and promote the value of all the work mothers do.

Our mission is based on the following core beliefs
* A mother is more than any single role she plays at any given point in her lifetime. She is entitled to fully explore and develop her identity as she chooses: as a woman, a citizen, a parent or an employee.
* All the work mothers do — whether paid or unpaid – has social and economic value.
* All women deserve recognition and support for their right to choose if and how to combine parenting and paid employment.
* All mothers, all children and all families are unique. We respect the wisdom of each mother to decide how to care for her children, her family and herself.
* Mothers have the right to fulfill their caregiving responsibilities without incurring social and economic penalties.
* The transitions women make into and through motherhood are challenging and can be difficult.
* Together, mothers are powerful.

In 2003, Elmhurst, IL membership group raised over $750,000 for its programs.

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

Nice idea: Super Bowl ads for charity

The Indianapolis Star contributor, Ted Mandell, whets our imaginations with his dream of a year when all Super Bowl advertisers decide to pass up their pricey 30 second spots and invest their money into communities and charities.

His vision has a bit of the evil about it (he seems to find pleasure in the idea that the ABC network will be left “holding the bag” with $150 million in lost revenues.), but it’s interesting nonetheless.

I think a better scenario would be to have the advertisers still pay for the ads, but donate the time to grassroots organizations that do tremendous work and just need the opportunity to get their message out.

Just something to ponder for the day…

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

Mia Hamm Foundation

From its website:

“The Mia Hamm Foundation is a reflection of my life experiences. I created this foundation to benefit important issues that have directly affected me throughout my life. The foundation is focused on providing support for two important causes: raising funds and awareness for bone marrow transplant patients and continuing the growth in opportunities for young women in sports.”

This foundation raised more than $250,000 in 2004.

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

Mia Hamm talks about philanthropy

Read this article in the Austin American-Statesman about how Mia Hamm spoke recently to a crowd about how she incorporates philanthropy into her life.

She founded the Mia Hamm Foundation in 1999 after her brother, Garrett, died from aplastic anemia. Her foundation has given out more than $500,000 to bone marrow transplant patients as well as opportunities that support women in sports.

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

Pint sized philanthropy for pets

Read this article from the Greensboro News Record of this North Carolina elementary school class that earned more than $200 to buy eight pet-sized oxygen masks for the local fire department.

The kids in Susan Phillips’ second grade class felt that it was important to save pets from fires, and these masks help with this cause.