Women working together to make a difference

Today’s woman is changing the traditional model of philanthropy. Marie C. Wilson, founder and president of the White House Project says, “The boom generation is starting to realize it is leadership that you fund. We’ve been raising awareness in politics, business and media. You get them to see that if you want to make change in anybody’s leadership, you have to put money behind changes that show more women as leaders, more women in power and politics and more women in business. You have to make those kinds of connections.” And while women are taking more risks in moving individual philanthropy, family philanthropy and community foundations in a positive direction, they are also finding ways to work together to have [...]

By | February 18th, 2011|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on Women working together to make a difference

7 Covenants of Virtuous Philanthropy

Virtue is coming back into vogue. The Baby Boomers suspended their dreams in the 1960s during the consciousness revolution. Now, 40 years later, they have the time and the money to live their dreams and start what they finished, creating a more idealistic and egalitarian world. Today, I share with you the 7 Covenants of Virtuous Philanthropy. Synergy among the seven covenants creates the full spectrum of women’s philanthropic footprint. A voluntary philanthropist is one who, empowered by the Three Principles of Abundance (Feb. 4, 2011 blog), lives a life harmonious with the seven covenants in reasonable and caring ways appropriate to her hopes, dreams and desires for the greater good of all humanity. 1. Courage for a virtuous philanthropist is [...]

By | February 10th, 2011|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on 7 Covenants of Virtuous Philanthropy

Living the Three Principles of Abundance

Today, I'd like to share 10 steps that will bring abundance and happiness to your life - and make the most of your gifts of time, talent and treasure. These steps will help you live the three principles of abundance: 1. Every woman has a legacy 2. Every woman is a philanthropist 3. Every woman makes a difference 10 Steps 1. Spend time alone and listen to the songs in your heart. 2. Acknowledge your ability and freedom to be a voluntary philanthropist by moving out of your giving comfort zone by making a commitment to a "stretch" gift. 3. Create a mental mantra of your vision for a better world to remind you of your empowerment to make a [...]

By | February 4th, 2011|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on Living the Three Principles of Abundance

Kitchen table values carry us through life’s adversity

Have you noticed that when adversity strikes in our life, we tend to reflect inward to find the strength and courage to carry on. We seem to know that deep inside our spirit is a reserve of moral fortitude waiting to rekindle our energy for creative solutions to move us forward to greater harmony and peace in our lives. For many of us, including myself, that moral fortitude comes from the values that we learned in childhood. My grandmother's kitchen was full of love, good music and good food, nourishment for both the body and soul. My grandmother loved to listen to classical music on the radio, especially the Saturday afternoon Texaco Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. She would sit me on [...]

By | January 26th, 2011|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on Kitchen table values carry us through life’s adversity

Are you making a difference?

Q: How do you know if you are making a difference? A: If you are living your legacy as a voluntary philanthropist, then you are making a difference. It’s only human to question and want to see results, but by what standards should we measure? Believe in your values; lead by example; listen to your heart. You know the world would be less but for the kindness of your actions, your thoughts and your love. “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean,” Mother Teresa said. “But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” “Empowerment Cycle”  For many, empowerment is not simple, but it is intuitive. To bring clarity to the process, [...]

By | January 20th, 2011|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on Are you making a difference?

Getting REAL

If you are a strategic giver, you probably don’t wait until the end of the year to make your gifts. A true partnership with an organization means that you give year-round and you have a plan as to how much you give and why. You are a voluntary philanthropist and you use the “REAL” test each time you make a donation of your time, talent or treasure. R: Is my gift Relevant to my values? E: Is my gift one that Engages the heart and well as the mind - does it connect to my passion? A: Can I take Action and is there Accountability from the organization for the impact of my gift? L: Can I Leverage my contribution of time, talent and [...]

By | December 28th, 2010|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on Getting REAL

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a New Year filled with health and happiness! The December e-newsletter hit inboxes yesterday. If you didn't receive it, visit to subscribe. Click here for a link! Stay warm! Margaret May

By | December 22nd, 2010|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on Happy Holidays!

What’s Your Philanthropic Personality?

Our research shows that even though women are very individualistic in their approach to giving, they tend to exhibit identifiable behavioral traits as to how they give. This is a budding area of research, and although it has yet to find its way into the mainstream, it is worthy of note. The giving styles relate to one of four flowers: rose, daisy, carnation, and lily. Some suggest that the theory is an outgrowth of the boomer flower power movement of the 1960s. No one style is dominant, and each serves in one way or another to complement the other three styles. All four styles are necessary for the full potential of virtuous philanthropy. Rose "Rose" women make up a significant [...]

By | December 8th, 2010|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on What’s Your Philanthropic Personality?

Spirited Woman’s Top 12 Holiday Book Picks

Thank you Spirited Woman for including "Women, Wealth & Giving" as one of your Top 12 Holiday Book Picks! Order soon to receive this book about women and philanthropy in time for the holidays - it makes a great gift! Visit for this and other gifts that inspire and empower. Click here to see all 12 books that made the Spirited Woman list.

By | December 4th, 2010|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on Spirited Woman’s Top 12 Holiday Book Picks

Characteristics of Virtuous Philanthropists, Conclusion

The stories of our virtuous philanthropists share a common thread, a bond that weaves their lives together even though they may not know each other. The bond is echoed by the late Dame Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop. When asked to comment on her decision to sell $150 million of the company's stock and give the proceeds to charity, she said, "They thought that eccentric of me. But you can't take it with you and you're a long time dead." Dame Roddick died in 2007, at the age of 64, from a cerebral hemorrhage, after a long battle with hepatitis C from a blood transfusion, which had gone undiagnosed for several years. She fulfilled her promise to leave [...]

By | December 2nd, 2010|Categories: Philanthropy|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Characteristics of Virtuous Philanthropists, Conclusion

Characteristics of Virtuous Philanthropists, Week 5

Living Their Passion  Each day you find virtuous philanthropists advocating for their causes and inviting others to join them in the experience. There is enthusiasm and determination in their attitude and aptitude to find creative ways to inspire others to follow their lead. They are nurturing to others and disciplined in carrying out the mission of their philanthropic biography. Their positive energy is like a magnet, attracting others to give gratitude for blessings received and the quality of life they work to sustain. They bring vision and virtue to each decision, which is reflected in their actions for a more compassionate world. When Florida Cultural Alliance president Sherron Long talks about philanthropy, she means living her entire life working for [...]

By | November 23rd, 2010|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on Characteristics of Virtuous Philanthropists, Week 5

Charicteristics of Virtuous Philanthropists, Week 4

Belief in Their Dreams Virtuous philanthropists have an unshakable faith in their ability and in the capacity of others to achieve and sustain the goals they want their philanthropy to achieve. Their vision is long term, and considers that what is started by one generation may need to be completed by another. They see their life story as an inspiration for others and a legacy of significance for family, friends, and the community. These women bring harmony and balance to their lives and to the lives of others, one person at a time. Beverly Holmes, former senior vice president fr Retirement Services at MassMutual Financial Group, now chair of the Center for Women's Business Research and a member of the [...]

By | November 18th, 2010|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on Charicteristics of Virtuous Philanthropists, Week 4

Characteristics of Virtuous Philanthropists, Week 3

Consistent in Their Values The investments that virtuous philanthropists make through their wealth, wisdom, and work reflect personal beliefs as well as values they feel strongly will create a more just and humane community. The entries in their checkbook registers reflect the issues they support. The money in their investment portfolios is allocated to the corporate and social institutions that practice responsible corporate citizenship in their conduct of business. Volunteer time is specific and focused on the causes that they have identified as important and that reinforce their shared family and community values and the giving of their other resources of money and talent. Business owner and entrepreneur Jody Potts Bond gives us another example of how she puts the [...]

By | November 8th, 2010|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on Characteristics of Virtuous Philanthropists, Week 3

Characteristics of Virtuous Philanthropists, Week 2

Confident in Their Decisions    Every day, virtuous philanthropists reinforce their commitment to the issues and concerns they support by not allowing adversity to drag them down. These perennial optimists lead others through uncharted territory in search of lasting solutions to systematic problems confronting the well being of their world. They remain restless until their goal is met and exceeded. They remain responsible for their actions and yet open to working with others, and are both leaders and followers for the same cause, knowing and respecting all diversity of thought and individualism. Such an example of a confident, virtuous philanthropist is Margaret Smith, CEO of Dormus, one of the San Francisco Bay area’s largest independently owned kitchen and home accessories [...]

By | November 1st, 2010|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on Characteristics of Virtuous Philanthropists, Week 2

Characteristics of Virtuous Philanthropists, Week 1

In researching for "Women, Wealth & Giving" with my co-author, Niki Nicastro McCuistion, we have found that women, who knowingly choose the path to make a difference in their own unique style through their giving of time, talent and treasure, consistently identify five character traits that guide them on the way to their authentic social and personal legacy. In the next five weeks, I'll explain these character traits right here in this blog. Practicing Inconspicuous Consumption Each day they tell others - by their actions, spoken or not - what their priorities are. Their lifestyles reflect the values they believe are important to support with their resources. Many have found that collaborating with others through inconspicuous consumption and working to meet community [...]

By | October 25th, 2010|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on Characteristics of Virtuous Philanthropists, Week 1

The Bridge

As Director of Planned Giving for the United Way of Martin County Foundation, I recently addressed more than 40 of our affiliated agencies during a meeting to kick off our annual campaign. Instead of giving the history of the Foundation, I read a poem. I believe literature and poetry helps to tell stories, connecting the head and heart. I read the following poem, The Bridge, by Will Allen Dromgoole, because it helps explain who we are, what we do and our vision for the future. Today, I share this poem with you. It helps to explain the importance of giving of ourselves, be it time, talent or treasure, to help build a brighter future for others. The Bridge Will Allen [...]

By | October 18th, 2010|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on The Bridge

The Wealth Channel: Women and Charitable Giving

Here is a link to a recent interview I did for The Wealth Channel. In this clip, I talk about how women play a critical role in charitable giving.

By | September 17th, 2010|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on The Wealth Channel: Women and Charitable Giving

Celebrating Margaret Fuller

This year is the bicentennial celebration of Margaret Fuller’s birth, an extraordinary woman, (1810-1950) with a global vision of equality and human rights; a guiding light for a generation of women eager to make a difference and leave a legacy. Among her many accomplishments, she was the first woman journalist on Horace Greeley’s New York Daily Tribune and the first editor of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Transcendentalist journal, The Dial. In the side pocket of my purse I carry a rather tattered slip of paper on which several years ago, I wrote one of her sayings, “The especial genius of women, I believe to be electrical in movement, intuitive in function, spiritual in nature.” Every so often, when a flash of impatience enters my [...]

By | September 1st, 2010|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on Celebrating Margaret Fuller

Pragmatic Philanthropist

Have you ever noticed how much you get back by giving? It may be your time, your talent, your money or just your full attention when listening to another person talk. Philanthropy really means the love of humankind, and so when we show our love through our deeds, we are being pragmatic about how we want others to receive us. And in doing so it brings joy back to us. De Tocqueville, called this "Self-interest rightly understood," in his 1835 book, Democracy in America. It is a unique American tradition to look out for our neighbor and thus hope they will look out for us when we are in need. There is nothing altruistic about the quid-pro-quot. It just makes [...]

By | June 24th, 2010|Categories: Philanthropy|Comments Off on Pragmatic Philanthropist