Inspiration….through the eyes of a young traveler

•May 29, 2013 • 1 Comment

On our trip to Ghana the summer of 2011, one of our travelers was an amazing young photographer and budding philanthropist, Adam Ottke. The journey was personally transformational for all of us: visiting cocoa cooperatives, organizations fighting child trafficking, projects in mobile health, and enterprise development.

Just one of many highlights was our day in Gushie to visit a then start-up organization, Just Shea. Adam was so moved by the experience that he has decided to put a handful of his beautiful photographs up for sale and give 40% of the net proceeds to Just Shea. [PHOTO SALE]

Here is just one photograph and his colorful narrative which provides many insights into daily village life and the economic situation of families in Northern Ghana.

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Magazea Hands with Rings

THE MAGAZIA’S HANDS

The magazia is the most respected female elder in the rural, northern Ghanaian township of Gushie [goo-shay]. The only person in a higher position is the chief — traditionally a male position — but this hierarchy does not diminish the power that the magazia’s words have within Gushie, where hundreds of women gather shea nuts, recently fallen from their parent trees.

The tall grasses in this region are home to scorpions and both black and green mambas — some of the most venomous snakes in the world. Unfortunately, these women are often bitten and stung. Because of Gushie’s rural location with no access to a clinic nearby, women would often succumb to the deadly effects of the venom before getting medical treatment. (The only more common cause of death for women was difficult childbirth.)

When Danielle Warren witnessed this, she decided something had to change. And from that moment forward, getting the women of Gushie protective boots, gloves and coats to wear became a top priority.

Along her journey, Danielle came across other obstacles. She had to find a way to make the gear affordable — getting donations would take time and might not cover a growing need within Gushie. But part of the reason the people of Gushie could not afford this gear on their own was because they were not receiving fair prices for their shea nuts.

During the picking seasons, harvesters save what they can to provide for their families in the several months during which shea nuts will not fall. When the off-season comes, they use these savings for basic living expenses.

But by the time the picking season returns, they are desperate to refill their dwindling savings. At this point, middlemen come into the town and bid farmers against each other for the lowest price possible on the newly fallen nuts, preying on whomever has the most need for money quickly. By the time they come back, the next farmers in line are ready to pay a lower price, keeping the price for shea nuts extremely low, despite their high value for export for use in countless beauty products such as lotions, facial creams, lip balms, and  shampoos that all use shea butter.

Building a silo to store the shea nuts was as obvious of a solution as it was simple. Such a building could allow harvesters to wait to sell until the end of the season, when the lack of supply drives up demand and, subsequently, drives up prices in Europe for shea nuts. If the entire town of Gushie could agree to use such a silo, they would also have an incredible amount of selling power simply because of the quantity of what would be stored and, presumably, sold together. However, building a silo meant not only raising funds for the project, but also meant waiting an entire season without making money.

Getting the magazia to understand the project and its potential for Gushie was essential to getting the entire village on board. The harvesters wouldn’t have the selling power they needed with only half of them agreeing to use the silo. Eventually, she and the chief agreed that this was the way to go, as Danielle had proven herself with an initial delivery of safety gear and convinced them this would make them more self-sufficient than ever before.

Once Danielle raised funds for the project, she was able to set up a loan program whereby villagers could borrow the money they needed to get them through the year until they could sell their cache of shea nuts in the off-season. The additional income garnered by selling shea nuts at a premium would eventually be enough, in the coming years, to support the harvesters’ families throughout the year and pay off any loans.

The Magazia in front of the silo.

The Magazia in front of the silo.

Danielle still needed to get back to raising funds for protective gear for the women of Gushie. Eventually, she decided the best way to do this was to build a for-profit sister arm of this program that would do one thing: sell its own line of skin creams using the shea nuts from Gushie around the world under the name, Just Shea. Just Shea is now sold directly through its company website and also indirectly through various online retailers and stores in New York City.

The magazia – still in Gushie – and other female elders of the town advise their township on a daily basis. Her hands – stained red from the daily application of an herbal ointment that is believed by the elders to have health benefits – are riddled with wrinkles that hint at her age. But no one — not even the magazia herself — knows her exact age. All she knows is that the giant tree that now serves as the town center was about her height when she was younger.

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Here are some additional photos of Adam, Danielle and the villagers of Gushie.   (Photos taken by Maryann Fernandez)

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Would you like to own a copy of The Magazia’s Hands? Adam Ottke is offering a handful of his beautiful photographs for sale, including a personal narrative for each. Professionally printed in various sizes and finishes. 40% of the net proceeds will benefit Just Shea – helping to scale their program by purchasing more protective gear for women. For photos and pricelist, visit ADAM OTTKE PHOTOGRAPHY

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About Just Shea: Just Shea is a social business created to increase the leverage, income and safety of the 600,000 women in Ghana who participate in the global shea trade. Just Shea is a project of One Village Planet-Women’s Development Initiative, a non-profit that helps women support their families through sustainable agriculture.

Read our interview with Just Shea Founder, Danielle Grace Warren!

Atlanta Field Trip: Re-Imagining Our Food Systems

•March 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Church, raised beds

Recently, Philanthropy Indaba announced that it is in the process of researching trips in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to continuing to develop escorted group trips around the world.  As a test-run, in conjunction with a consortium of family offices in the Southeast, Philanthropy Indaba co-hosted an afternoon field trip in Atlanta last month to expose a small group of participants to the current “food” issues facing many in the U.S., in particular, under-served communities and public schools.

What resulted was an eye-opening tour through Truly Living Well’s Center for Urban Agriculture in Atlanta’s 4th Ward and further discussion with key team members of Wholesome Wave Georgia and FoodCorps.

In the days following the field trip, we heard from a few of the participants expressing how they felt after our little event: “It was inspirational to me!” “I had such a great experience and went home last night, and came back to work today, with renewed energy.”

Here are some video clips and photos from our little adventure as well as a mini-interview with a Wholesome Wave Georgia’s President of the Board, Judith Winfrey, about how local chefs are giving back.

Videos: Rashid Nuri, Founder of Truly Living Well, talking about their program and the value it brings to the local community; Debra Eschmeyer, Co- Founder of FoodCorps, gives us an intro and tells us a story that surprised many in our group.

Wholesome Wave Georgia believes that all Georgians should have access to good, wholesome and locally-grown food. Their goal is to increase access to good food for all Georgians while contributing to the local food economy. By doubling each federal or state nutrition benefit (food stamps) dollar spent at local farmers markets, they are able to leverage existing government food nutrition programs to encourage shopping at local farmers markets.

Many restaurants and chefs in the area support Wholesome Wave Georgia and other organizations. I wanted to find out more about the solidarity in this tight-knit community so I spoke with Judith Winfrey (“JW”), Executive Director of Leadership & Hospitality at Restaurant Eugene, Holeman & Finch Public House, H&F Bread Co., H&F Bottle Shop, self-proclaimed food “busy-body,” and President of the Board, Wholesome Wave Georgia.

MF: Chefs with their new-found celebrity status are now great advocates for some of the issues they see locally. How are chefs in Atlanta (and other places) getting involved in some of the challenges around food currently being brought to light in our country? What has moved them to get involved?

JW: Most chefs have a natural proclivity toward generosity.  Those who cook, usually always want to feed and share.  Many chefs also have a fundamental understanding of the value of good food, the work it takes to produce it, and the improved quality and nutrition it can provide.  For these reasons, we see many chefs, most famously Chef Hugh Acheson on Top Chef and Chef Michel Nishan, founder of Wholesome Wave, supporting organizations which support local, sustainable and organic agriculture and increase access to good food for all.

MF: We just had a fabulous little reception at  Empire State South – a restaurant owned by Wholesome Wave supporter, Chef Hugh Acheson – after our field trip. How have local chefs rallied around the mission of Wholesome Wave?

JW: Wholesome Wave Georgia hosts an annual fundraiser, The Southern Chef’s Potluck.  The event is hosted by the incomparable Steve and Marie Nygren at Serenbe.  Chef Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch Public House invites a handful of the south’s most celebrated chefs to join the dinner.  Years past has included Anne Quatrano of Bacchanalia, Floataway Cafe and Abbatoir, Chef Ford Fry from JCT Kitchen, Chef Kevin Gillespie of Gunshow, Chef Steven Satterfield of Miller Union, Chef Hilary White of the Hil, and Chef Joe Truex of Watershed.   Each chef brings a side dish to share, a pickle and a dessert to share.  Jim n’ Nick’s provides amazing BBQ with proteins provided by Will Harris and his 6th generation family farm: White Oak Pastures.  All chefs bring their families and sit down to share the meal with the guests.  This year’s potluck is Sunday, September 8, 2013. (slideshow below)

MF: Wow, that event may be worth a plane trip to Atlanta. What other organizations are chefs and the restaurant community supporting locally?

JW: Other organizations that Chefs in our area are excited about supporting are The Global Growers Project, Community Farmers Markets (CFM), the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG), Slow Food and the Southern Foodways Alliance.

MF: How do you see restaurants using the way they conduct their business to express the food “values” that are important to them and the community? In other words, walking the talk.

JW: A number of restaurateurs and chefs in Atlanta put their spending power behind their good food values are.  They buy directly small farmers and lend support to organizations like SSAWG, CFM, Slow Food and Wholesome Wave which support the work of the farmers, who of course are not only providing healthy food to the community, but also, carefully stewarding a piece of land for minimal environmental impact, and providing jobs (often times in rural areas) and stimulating the local food economy.  We know that for every dollar spent on local food, nearly 75 cents stays in the local economy.  So the chefs who are buying from farmers really have a tremendous impact that reaches beyond just their contributions to food culture.  Their helping protect the environment and contributing to a robust food economy.

MF: You’ve got a pretty substantial day job as well as being a self-proclaimed food busy-body. How do you see your role in the food community?

JW: As Executive Director of Leadership & Hospitality at Restaurant Eugene, Holeman & Finch Public House, H&F Bread Co., H&F Bottle Shop, part of my role is to help shepherd the next generation of conscious food purchasers and eaters.  I am a cheerleader for farmers.  I am an advocate and an activist for good, clean and fair food for all.  I also own a small organic farm (Love is Love Farm at Gaia Gardens) with my husband.  I am deeply committed to this movement.

MF: I’m really inspired….and full after all this delicious food. Thanks Judith!

JW: Thanks Maryann. I do hope you’ll come back to our area.  I think we could put together a fantastic food and philanthropy journey through the southeast.

MF: I may need to take you up on that.

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On a related issue: HUNGER IN AMERICA. Check out the powerful documentary “A Place at the Table,” a deeply personal look at people struggling with food insecurity every day. It will shock you. More info: http://www.takepart.com/place-at-the-table

The Board Chair of the Nathan Cummings Foundation spent a week eating on approximately $5.27 a day (equivalent of daily food stamp budget for someone living in New York).  He ended the week with a renewed commitment to fixing this broken system. Here’s his post on the Philanthropy New York Blog

STAY TUNED FOR PHILANTHROPY INDABA’S U.S./CANADA JOURNEYS OR CALL US TODAY ABOUT A CUSTOM JOURNEY FOR YOUR GROUP.

Chocolate: A Different Kind of Primer….and why it matters!

•December 19, 2012 • 1 Comment

Who doesn’t love chocolate – especially premium chocolate? Like many women, I have long been a devotee of chocolate in all its forms, but over the past year I have come to learn much more about this decadent treat. So, I offer you a new primer to give you a nuanced appreciation of cocoa, where it comes from, and why it matters.Image

TERROIR

Like fine wine, the idea of “terroir” can be applied to cocoa. Terroir is defined in Wikipedia as “the special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with the plant’s genetics, expressed in agricultural products such as wine, coffee, chocolate, tomatoes, heritage wheat and tea.”

On recent visit to Ecuador, I had the pleasure of having a private chocolate tasting with Santiago Peralta, Founder of Pacari Chocolate. He had me taste 65-70% cocoa chocolate bars from three different regions in Ecuador. As we tasted, he talked about microclimates, wind patterns and volcanic ash – each region had a unique mix, resulting in different regional characteristics – caramel, floral, fruity, depending on the soil and what was planted nearby.

FAIR TRADE

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Fair trade is a term that is used quite liberally these days with products that are coming from abroad, but it requires strict practices. Fair Trade USA defines “fair trade” as workers/farmers are being paid a fair wage or price, there are safe working conditions, and the community begins to access resources to be more self sustaining. This may also include ensuring that there is no child labor.

In the West African countries of Cameroon, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire where about 70% of the world’s cocoa supply comes from, hundreds of thousands of children are victims of child slavery, working long days under poor conditions. (UNICEF estimates that a half million children work in cocoa farms in Cote D’Ivoire, producing 40% of the world’s cocoa. CNN talked to 10-year old Abdul who has been working since he was 7: http://thecnnfreedomproject.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/19/child-slavery-and-chocolate-all-too-easy-to-find/)

To make sure that cocoa producers adhere to these guidelines, they must be certified. Fair Trade USA has clear standards, certifies and monitors to ensure that these standards have been met and continue to be in place, so when you see the logo above, you know that this product has been certified. If you see other groups using “fair trade” language, it’s best to check what standards they are using, how they certify and how often they monitor.

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I had the opportunity to meet with the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative in Ghana that actually co-owns international chocolate company, Divine Chocolate. Their cooperative is made up of over 60,000 small family farms in 2000 villages, they empower women, they have a radio station, and they use part of the profits for community projects, like schools or whatever the community decides is their priority.

Don’t be fooled by the rural simplicity, they are smart. In a community meeting I attended, I asked the interpreter what the group was discussing, expecting simple things like getting beans to market. They were discussing the importance to succession planning for their family farms.

Now whenever I am looking for a chocolate bar and I see Divine, I can hear the Kuapa Kokoo song ringing in my ears – yes they sing their song at the close of every meeting.  It’s the song of dignity and empowerment.

TREE TO BAR IN COUNTRY

Most cocoa beans are actually exported out to other countries, like France and the U.S., in order to produce the chocolate products. By growing and producing chocolate products in country – “tree to bar in country” – this means that businesses are being created in country, wealth is being created in country, and the farmers get a much larger share of the profit from chocolate products.

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This also means that the chocolate companies have a closer relationship with the farmers that supply them cocoa. Santiago Peralta, Founder of Pacari Chocolate in Ecuador, tells me stories of making small loans to farmers for equipment to increase their production and even helping a handicapped farmer to buy a donkey (a loan of under $1,000) so he could get cocoa beans to market. Without that loan, the farmer and his farm would have gone under, but now he is thriving and others in the community have purchased their own donkeys to get more beans to market. (Photo: Santiago with cocoa farmers, provided by Pacari Chocolate)Image

Great news is that 10-year old Ecuador-based Pacari has been winning top honors at the International Chocolate Awards including Gold awards for its 70% RAW organic and biodynamic chocolate bar, 60% with Lemongrass and Silver for RAW 70% with Salt and Cocoa Nibs against 100-year old chocolate companies from France and Italy.

Madecasse is another “tree to bar in country” company. It was started by former Peace Corp volunteers and I ran across them when they won a social enterprise award at The Feast Conference in NYC a few years ago. (photo above)

So, when your sweet tooth kicks in, think about these amazing choices in premium chocolate: it’s a treat for your taste buds and supports positive change in the world.

During our 2013 trip to Ecuador, we will be joined by Santiago Peralta of Pacari Chocolate for a tasting and lots of great stories from the field! Join us for this amazing journey in July.

Sustainable Travel: Moving the Dial Starts with a Few Easy Questions

•August 7, 2012 • 2 Comments

Sustainable travel has been on my mind lately. In Wikipedia it is defined as “tourism that attempts to make as low impact on the environment and local culture as possible, while helping to generate future employment for local people.” Sounds like something we can all get behind right? As consumers, we often focus on amenities (and dare I say luxury first). While I love a well-appointed hotel room as much as the next girl, I suspected I would not have to sacrifice much in order to have both.

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So I tried an experiment on a recent exploratory trip. As the focus of this 2013 philanthropic journey to Ecuador would be the environment and indigenous communities, it was a perfect excuse to engage hotels and other vendors on their practices. First, I noticed two dominant certifications in Ecuador: Rainforest Alliance and Smart Voyager. I also noticed that Rainforest Alliance also certifies ground operators – bonus!

Second, I adapted a few questions from Rainforest Alliance’s “Green Your Travel” page: http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/green-living/travel

No need to recreate the wheel here! Here are the ones I used when doing site inspections at hotels:

  1. How are you conserving resources? What practices do you have in place to conserve water? Energy? Recycling?
  2. What percentage of your employees are local citizens?
  3. How do you support the local community?
  4. Do you have any initiatives that support conservation?

I learned a lot. From the Rainforest Alliance certified hotels, I got very direct answers, substantive answers especially about how they were working to restore the environment and with local communities (not only schools, but with repurchasing land and entrepreneurship).

From hotels that were not “certified,” I also got some interesting responses. It gave me opportunities to educate some hotel staff, to let them know that it was a consideration for us in choosing hotels and that we valued those efforts. I was particularly pleased with a new hotel that opened last fall that was not certified yet (I asked if they were working towards certification in the near future) that heats their hot water with solar power and finds a variety of ways to give business to local shop owners – like providing guests tokens to get an old fashioned shoe shine from a guy who has been working in the square for years!

If consumers of all kinds – from someone researching hotels for their family vacation online to those of us who develop group trips – just started asking a few questions and committed to increasing their bookings of hotels which are certified or more conscious about their environmental and community impact by at least 10% or 20% for the next year, we could start to move the dial on sustainable travel and send a signal to the industry that it does matter.

For me, I’m pleased that a wider variety of companies, including luxury properties, are thinking about sustainability beyond just sheets and towels. I’m going to continue asking these questions and looking for third party certification/verification as part of our search process. I suspect that finding the balance between amenities and sustainability will be easier in some regions than others and that the process by which we continue to align our values and our business will continue to evolve….thoughtfully and intentionally.

As a result of my experiment, our trip to Ecuador next year will have

  • the majority of our nights at Rainforest Alliance certified hotels;
  • all the hotels we will be using, except for a night in transit, have already put some measures in place and are considering additional practices around environment and community;
  • our ground operator is Rainforest Alliance verified.

Look out for the announcement of our 2013 philanthropic journeys – including this amazing adventure in Ecuador -  in September!

Look What We’re Cooking Up in Turkey….

•May 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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After leading a private trip for 30 to Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakir, I devoted a little extra time to scout out some venues for a philanthropic journey in South East Turkey for next year. It was an amazing mix of great grassroots organizations, deep history, exotic culture and delicious food. Not only were the places less touristed, but the experiences were more authentic and the people could not be more welcoming.

For those thinking about what meaningful connections and adventures lie ahead in 2013, let me suggest you consider getting your hands a little dirty with me next year. Itinerary will be available in the near future, so please let me know if you would like special email notification as soon as it is available. Space will be limited.

To whet your appetite, here’s a little photo album of the scouting trip. (And yes, there is a photo of me lending a hand to some new friends at a local bakery in Gaziantep.)

How Does Gratitude and Generosity Operate in Your Life?

•February 14, 2012 • 1 Comment

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Today is Generosity Day. Last year Sasha Dichter, Acumen Fund, and several other key colleagues in the social enterprise space launched an effort to re-boot Valentines’ Day into Generosity Day – great idea, right?!!! It occurred to me that gratitude and the feeling of abundance in your life has a large role to play in one’s generosity. So, I wanted to pose the question: “How does gratitude operate in your life?”

Many people ask me some version of “You have such an incredible job. How did you get to do this?” I tell them about my path of creating event s for ultra affluent families at en executive conference production company  and then at a private bank, my first trip to Sub-Saharan Africa, amassing great contacts in private foundations and not-for-profits, and inevitably committing most of my vacation time visiting organizations doing great work in the field.

But that’s just the obvious part of the answer.

The other and more important part is gratitude and the feeling of abundance in my life – it’s, quite frankly, the fuel that enables me to go out in the world and do what I do.  Much of that gratitude is due to my amazing family – my parents, in particular.

My parents emigrated from the Philippines to the New York area in the late 1960’s, when I was very young. As immigrants to this country looking for a piece of the “American Dream,” it was all about getting a practical job, buying a home and leading a more comfortable life.

When I became a VP at a private bank and making a nice salary, my parents were in heaven – exactly what they had dreamed of for their daughter. But when I left four years later, after my first safari in sub-Saharan Africa, to pursue I was not sure what, that is when I felt their tremendous belief and support most deeply.

First there were the periodic inquiries of “So when are you going to get a job?” Then when they realized that I was not going back to corporate America, despite their concerns, they backed me: unwavering, unconditionally, financial support, moral support, and as an endless cheering section.

As I thought back, this was not the first time I had experienced their support. Yes there is a financial aspect to it and the many sacrifices to provide all sorts of opportunities for me and my brother, but are thousands of other instances throughout the years. For example, when I was in first grade, my father met with my elementary school principal because his six year old daughter wanted to be a schoolyard monitor even though it was a job only given sixth graders. (They made me a monitor, by the way, and I got a shiny tin badge…and responsibility.) To this day, my mother starts to prepare all my favorite dishes and stocking my favorite foods before I even reach their home in Florida. It’s gestures like this which speaks volumes to the soul.

I am so grateful to them. They gave me a sense of true abundance in life, and they make it possible for me to do what I do. In fact, it is in their honor that I do what I do.

It is the feeling of deep gratitude and abundance in your own life that fuels generosity towards others. So, on Generosity Day, think about what you are deeply grateful for in your life, and return it to the world in caring actions, both big and small.

(Photo credit: Taken of me at a high school in Ghana last summer by John Canning.)

Relevant Links for Generosity Day:

Fast Company – http://www.fastcompany.com/1727145/re-booting-valentine-s-day-for-good

Sasha’s Generosity Experiment talk on TED: http://www.ted.com/talks/sasha_dichter.html

Transformational Philanthropy: A Prescription for Re-imagining Ourselves and the World

•June 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

(This is an extended version of a piece written by Tom Callanan, Maryann Fernandez and Gerard Senehi for Inspired Legacies)

The world is facing critical challenges that require a significant transformation in the way we live our lives. The need for deep change and the conditions to make it happen exist today, just as they did during the Italian Renaissance (rebirth) that pulled 14th Century Europe out of the Dark Ages and into modernity. Surprisingly, the Renaissance was catalyzed by just three elements: a group of approximately 200 philosophers, scientists and artists, the invention of the printing press, and the funding of a single family—the Medici.

During the past few years, a group of donors and advisors have begun to practice and articulate a type of “transformational philanthropy” that aims to do nothing less than shift the course of history.

What does the path towards achieving this kind of philanthropy and change look like? Here are seven ideas for you to practice and see how this affects you and your philanthropy.

BE BOLD. Few of us would sell our house, move into a smaller one and donate the proceeds to help address hunger. That’s what the Salwen family did after a chance encounter with a homeless man. What they found was that the move transformed their lives and brought them into closer alignment with their deepest values. (www.thepowerofhalf.com)

What is a bold move you can make?

CREATE DEEP PARTNERSHIPS. Bold action is best accomplished though a deep and trusted partnership between the donor and grantee organization. Uber-fundraiser, Jennifer McCrea, talks with her closest philanthropic partners almost every day. While this may seem counter-intuitive, it is a step towards moving beyond a transactional relationship – where it’s only about the money – and getting into each other’s lives where you build greater trust, commitment, passion, and a shared capacity for inspired action. (www.jennifermccrea.com)

How can you partner more deeply?

ENGAGE THE OUTER AND INNER. Transformation usually requires shifting both exterior systems and inner values and ways of thinking. Reversing the AIDS epidemic in Africa, for instance, requires getting people to take medication and use condoms (outer change) which depends on their shifting cultural belief systems and values (inner change).

What new values and ways of thinking need our support?

EMBRACE THE EVOLVING NATURE OF TRANSFORMATION. Like a child whose mind and self keeps transforming, and like the human trajectory that has always transformed and embraced new aspects of humanity, there is always another new frontier. Guided by your intuition, creativity, and passion for the possible, transformation is never static.

How can you make space for new possibilities to evolve, even in the most strategic plans?

CO-CREATE THE FUTURE. Philanthropy is not merely a way to solve problems: it’s also a very powerful way to co-create the future. Partner with your grantees to create a shared vision for the future, not just short-term goals. Then watch how that vision inspires everyone to let go of personal agendas, release pre-existing ideas and constraints, and cross boundaries to engage together.

What vision of the future do you share with others, and how do your relationships support that goal?

SHAKE THINGS UP! GO BEYOND YOUR COMFORT ZONE. As Einstein said, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” Changing your thinking rarely happens when you’re behind your desk. Going beyond your comfort zone enables you to think differently about yourself, the issues and your role in the solution.

Many people talk about the transformational power of travel. On a recent trip to a rural village in Ghana, Maryann Fernandez visited part of a cocoa cooperative made up of over 40,000 small farms. They directed their own community development from the fair trade premium received for their crops. Do you know what they were discussing during a village meeting? Succession planning! (Hmmm, that was both wonderful and unexpected.) Transform your giving and the world by being open to adjusting your approach. (www.philanthropyindaba.com/GroupTrips.html)

How can going beyond your normal path bring you to a new understanding of an issue, yourself and your role in the solution?

BE CONSCIOUS THAT YOU ARE PART OF THE WHOLE. There was a global outpouring of support following the earthquake in Haiti. While many not-for-profit organizations had experienced a dip in funding due to the economic downturn and focused full attention on their most pressing needs, in a unique move, Malaria No More (MNM) stopped fundraising for malaria for one week and tapped their networks to raise money for Haiti. MNM decided that it was more important to lend their time and skills to another pressing issue as part of a greater community. (www.malarianomore.org)

How can generosity and a shared vision for better future for everyone build a stronger sense of community solidarity worldwide?

Through these practices, there is the opportunity to expand the reach of philanthropy by not only impacting the people being served, but also in transforming the donors, the social change agents, and the field of philanthropy itself.

(To download a copy of Inspired Legacies’ booklet: Trusted Advisors for the Next Generation – A Guide for Wealth Management and Living Legacies, please visit  http://inspiredlegacies.org/TrustedAdvisors/)

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AUTHOR BIOGRAPHIES

TOM CALLANAN recently retired after 15 years as senior program officer at the Fetzer Institute. He is now a philanthropic advisor helping individuals and foundations craft comprehensive giving strategies that include the “why,” “where,” “when” and “how” of effective philanthropic investments.

MARYANN FERNANDEZ leads high net worth individuals and families out of the boardroom and into the field. As Founder & President of Philanthropy Indaba, a unique consultancy that develops customized philanthropic journeys and opportunities for learning and service, Maryann brings donors closer to a deeper exploration and understanding of themselves, each other, and the world in which we live. (www.philanthropyindaba.com/Founder.html)

GERARD SENEHI has been an activist for cultural evolution for over 25 years, supporting initiatives that effectively address the evolution of our collective interior: values, worldviews, and perspectives that shape and define our shared culture. He is currently creating an institute that will serve as a resource catalyst to support projects, research and education that enhance our ability to create the future at the level of culture. (www.gerardsenehi.com)

 
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