The Storms and Charity
A week after Hurricane Sandy, howling wind and wet snow can have a way of making us feel as though we are moving backwards. The threatening elements can also make real community engagement more vital than therapy. We are all survivors.
These past few days of extreme weather, combined with the intense run-up to and finally the election, could be moving us to even wonder whether it may not be necessary to redefine the very concept of community.
Where might charity – that happy helium-filled thing – fit into this redefinition?
Like a balloon that floats into the atmospheric realm known as humanity, will those grasping hold of the balloon’s ribbon float into a new promise of what charity can make possible? Up, up we go carried higher while our feet are still on the ground where there is real need – and opportunity.
As philanthropy becomes ever more professionalized and new nonprofit initiatives flourish (it always seems in a museum-ish sort of way), are we not hopeful that something more spontaneous, something new, might break out?
That is the purpose of Charity Spring and why it is on The Patch. Here local conversations can happen. New ideas can be explored. Fun can be poked at charity-speak (Charity Winter). And best practices and tips can be offered to those charities that do indeed keep hope alive for so many, albeit in a parade of logos and donors.
Whether organized charity leads or follows, one thing is true and as old as time: In the end neighbors and strangers need to engage each other and the collective imagination of what constitutes a community in order to confront unpleasant realities and build new realities.
Fairfield County Charity & Donor News
Sandy wrecks havoc on the gala season in Manhattan — and is making people think about their collective identity. In this Wall Street Journal article many interesting points are made about the philanthropic community.
“Sandy has done what Occupy Wall Street tried and failed to do,” said Euan Rellie, an investment banker and fixture at benefit galas. “It’s made me think about the people who don’t have what I have.”
Rarely has an event before Sandy so shaken the close co-existence of New York’s extremely wealthy and its most impoverished. Parties may raise tens of millions of dollars for charitable causes that help the poor, but any showy gathering after Sandy can serve as a reminder: Wealthy New Yorkers were generally safe during the storm, while poorer residents tended to be vulnerable.
ADVENT OF FAMILY OFFICES TO MANAGE GIVING: To achieve greater economies of scale, increased efficiency, expanded capacity for mission-related investments, and a closer alignment of family members’ shared values, this report looks at how wealthy American families increasingly are considering family offices — private entities that manage investments, trusts, and other financial planning — to manage their philanthropic giving. There are estimated to be more than five thousand single family offices in the United States.
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