Philanthropy On A Mission
Planned Giving – By Rachel Calderon
You might not think you’re a “philanthropy person,” but what does that really mean? We hear the word “philanthropy” used often, and it can mean different things to different people. Philanthropy is defined as a desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed by generous donation. As I’ve engaged with philanthropists in our community, I’ve realized it’s not just about the money. More importantly, it’s about how the money is invested in an issue to get the best results – it’s philanthropy on a mission.
I like to think of it in terms of building a fence. First, you realize you need to either keep something or someone in or out of the fence, in order to make your life simpler and easier. Then you make the plans – measurements, surveys, permits, HOA approvals and so forth. Once you purchase the supplies, you’re ready to start digging holes for the posts and nailing up the slats one by one. It’s tough work, and it’s hard on your hands and entire body. But it’s rewarding to see the progress and success as you go. It’s a lot like how philanthropy on a mission works. Conversations, plans, research and collaboration all combine to make an impact. Once you’re able to see progress, the reward is huge.
So, what issues matter to you? Things that come to the top of my mind are arts, education, healthcare, homelessness, and the environment, among others. Our community has made huge progress in helping to house nearly 100 of the most vulnerable homeless men and women in Central Florida. As a result, a complete system change is happening in our approach to homelessness as we implement a “Housing First” model. Our arts community is growing and continuing to bring vibrancy to our lives. Our community is talking about issues like education, healthcare and the environment more than ever before. But moving beyond discussion, how can we move the needle in these areas?
It takes people who can bring passion, ideas, strategy and money to the table to make real change happen. It takes “philanthropy people.” Working with others across our community makes issues that seem monstrous more solvable. When we look at issues and then make the tough decisions to do things differently from how we’ve always done them, that’s when change happens. Change isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s crucial to start. When we put philanthropy on a mission, the results are always worth it.by