Last Thursday, SRQ magazine’s SB2: GOOD COAST A Good Place To Work, Live, Play and Give breakfast symposium shed light on the changing landscape of successful philanthropic endeavors on Florida’s West Coast starting with the importance of securing smaller donations from less wealthy donors.
After opening remarks by event sponsor Bart Lowther of Mariash Lowther Wealth Management, Keynote Speaker, Stacy Carlson, Ph D., President and CEO of the Florida Philanthropic Network began the discussion by indulging in statistics that further proved how strong the philanthropic giving voice is not only in the region but nationwide.
“Every year, more than more than 373 billion is donated by individuals, foundations and businesses to a myriad of good causes,” she stated. “Seventy percent of Americans incorporate giving into their annual expenditures and philanthropy continues to fuel efforts to solve social problems, enrich culture and strengthen society. Middle and lower class Americans increased the share of income they donated to charity even as they earned less on average than they earned six years earlier.”
Carlson emphasized that the concept of giving is a critical component of the fabric of our society and went on to state that some of our nation’s greatest treasures and innovations are because of philanthropy.
“It is through true partnership that long sustainable solutions will be found. The benefit through local philanthropy is that it is truly local. Donated, designed and directed by the individuals located in exactly here where you live. I encourage you to find the ways that you can be most impactful their philanthropic giving.”
Carlson ended her presentation by stating: “The world had been changed forever because of philanthropy and I thank you for your part.”
Between bites, guests picked up pithy facts and well-honed insight from some of the region’s most inspiring and philanthropically driven organizations: Bob Rosinsky of Goodwill Manasota, Brian Mariash of Mariash Lowther Wealth Management, Teri Hansen of the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation and Veronica Brady of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
“The pinnacle of my early experience in volunteering was when I was in sixth grade, I got to be the one in charge of the Red Cross drive which meant every child brought a dime to school, and I got to collect the dimes and then give them the little white lapel clasps. I didn’t realize at that time that I would go into a career in philanthropy— my takeaway is that no matter what kind of foundation or nonprofit you run, it’s all about development,” said Teri Hansen, President and CEO of the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, who started off the panel discussion by reminiscing about her first experiences as a volunteer .
Veronica Brady, Vice President for Philanthropy at the Gulf Coast Community Foundation shared, “My grandmother was born in China, the daughter of medical missionaries so the culture of philanthropy sort of wafted down over the generations.”
When asked about the priorities of potential donors in the area, Brian Mariash, Senior Vice President and Wealth Management Advisor at Mariash Lowther Wealth Management mentioned something in particular that resonated with the audience. “I think it’s shifted even during my career over the past 15 years. Early on, I saw donations just because their parents donated so they always donated. There is a lot more of an active role going on. I hear people restricting their gifts and they want to see the outcome. They are more likely to donate to something where they can quantify and see that impact. I think in their business lives, they were trained to look at things in that way and they are just getting more sophisticated and more educated about that.”
Veronica Brady discussed the importance of candor in donor relations. “Donors respect direct straight talk on what can be done and what can’t be done so there is no point in hiding it. I think for people who don’t know philanthropy, it’s easy to say charities aren’t honest , that’s not true. That’s the joy of Sarasota/Manatee, our community and working with community foundations is that you are working directly with individuals who know the community, who will do the research to find out more.”
Bob Rosinsky, President and CEO of Goodwill Manasota circled the conversation back to the core message of the morning. ” You are really looking at keeping mission first, communicating that mission throughout the organization and ensuring that everybody is on board with the direction you are going. And more than anything, over time, people get to live that mission.”
We couldn’t have learned the incredible things from this thought-provoking discussion without our series sponsors: CS&L CPAs, The Resort at Longboat Key Club, Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and of course our event sponsor Mariash Lowther Wealth Management. Thank you for supporting the SB2 series, but most importantly, thank you for the ways you give back and help people in our community each and every day. Your example inspires us.
Click here to read the article about SB2: Good Coast in SRQ DAILY. A gallery of images from SB2: GOOD COAST: A Good Place To Work, Live, Play and Give is available online. The 2016-2017 SB2 season will continue on Thursday, January 26 with SB2 GOOD EDUCATION: Learning for a Lifetime featuring Keynote Speaker Mary Chance, President of the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations. For 2016-2017 SB2 member passes, visit SRQSB2.com.