Nonprofits can be agents of change in a community
by Andrea Wiley
“People have a natural desire to be altruistic. When that desire is stimulated, we will give more money to urgent causes — possibly much more. When it is not, we will give more money to the consumer brands that do stimulate and create desires for private goods.”
— Dan Pallotta, Harvard Business Review
There’s no doubt about it, Memphians are altruistic, ranked one of the most charitable cities by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Memphis donated 5.1 percent of its 2012 income, with the total contribution coming in at $1,039,345,000. And Memphians across the board are charitable. Those making up to $25,000 a year donated 13 percent of their income and people making $200,000 a year or more donated 4 percent. Now those are statistics to be proud of.
Currently there are 4,483 501(c)(3)-designated nonprofits that are active and operating in good standing in the city of Memphis, according to Mia Madison, director of Community Information for the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. That’s a lot of charitable organizations that depend on the altruism of our city, specifically in the form of funding.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals advances philanthropy through its nearly 30,000 members in more than 200 chapters globally. The Memphis chapter conducts regular meetings and workshops for its 160 members to share strategies and information.
The Crystal Awards are held on Philanthropy Day every year to recognize those who champion philanthropy through leadership, fundraising, and volunteering.
To learn more about AFP Memphis and the Crystal Awards, please visit afpmemphis.org.
Reconsider your end-of-year disbursements
by Meg Crosby
With December comes the giving season; and for nonprofits it is typically the most profitable month of the year as donors rush to take advantage of tax deductions. As you sit down to make your year-end giving decisions, I offer a few things to consider.
Invest for Impact
More than likely, you will be asked for a donation this holiday season. It may be by a Salvation Army volunteer ringing a bell over a red kettle outside Kroger, a co-worker urging your participation in a United Way campaign, or a friend hosting a party for you to learn more about a specific cause. If you are like me, you respond to all of these methods because someone you know asks you to give. The vast majority of giving is relationship based. The problem with that is that it often results in a scattershot approach to philanthropy versus a strategic one.
The Memphis-based motivational speaker has been honored nationally
by Toni Lepeska
The title philanthropist means so much more than someone who gives money away. At least, that’s how Don Hutson sees it. Everyone has three things to give, he says, and only one of them is money. Earlier this year, the National Speakers Association bestowed Hutson with its “Philanthropist of the Year” award.
Hutson, 71, is a salesman, prolific author, and nationally recognized speaker who helped found NSA in 1973. He is a founding member of the Memphis Society of Entrepreneurs and a past president. He also is CEO of U.S. Learning, which provides corporate training to businesses all over the nation. The client list includes local businesses such as FedEx, International Paper, and Medtronic.
Born in Oklahoma while his father served in the Navy, Hutson landed in Memphis because of his parents’ roots in Mississippi. “I didn’t care for Oklahoma so I moved to Memphis when I was 6 months old,” he says. He pauses. “That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.”
A conversation on race, ethnicity, and disparities in wealth
by Dr. Douglas Scarboro
Twice a year, the Memphis Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis hosts “Dialogue with the Fed,” a popular evening discussion series designed to spark conversations about the important issues facing our economy today. Recently, I had the pleasure of hosting a particularly thoughtful and engaging discussion on the topic of racial and ethnic wealth gaps. While this session focused on Memphis’ Latino community, we had a diverse background of participants join us to discuss the stark and persistent differences in the financial opportunities, choices, and outcomes facing our country’s major racial and ethnic groups, and most importantly, what can be done to close these gaps.
by Richard J. Alley
Anyone who has traveled across the country has Kemmons Wilson and his Holiday Inn concept to thank for a good night’s sleep. And if you were to look at the boardroom rosters of many nonprofits across Memphis today, odds are you’ll see the name Wilson listed there.
Just as the Kemmons Wilson Companies, with its global reach, has remained firmly entrenched in Memphis, the children of Kemmons and Dorothy Wilson have kept their hearts and interests close to home.
A look at the 2015 annual report of the Kemmons Wilson Family Foundation — its guiding principles include engaging family, faithful stewardship, and building legacy — shows that gifts were bestowed on West Cancer Center ($500,000), Shelby Farms Park Conservancy ($250,000), Exchange Family Club Center ($20,000 over two years), and Teach for America ($150,000 over three years), among many others. A total just shy of $1.8 million saw its way into the coffers of some of the area’s most solicitous institutions.
Letter from the Editor
by Richard J. Alley
I’m writing this letter right on deadline, just as we’re preparing to send the pages off to the printer. I had a letter ready to go, but it went out the window, flew away sometime around midnight last night as the presidential election results began to shine a light into a darkened corner of the electorate’s psyche that I never would have guessed was there. This morning confirmed what I’d hoped was just a bad dream.
by Frank Murtaugh
Gina Sweat and one of her heroes, Larry Bird, share two distinct foundational qualities: They each grew up in a small town (Sweat in Middleton, Tennessee; Bird in French Lick, Indiana) and they each played basketball. Sweat’s career on the hardwood ended after her college days at Freed-Hardeman, but you’d have a compelling debate in measuring which career was less likely. Bird, you probably know, became a Hall of Fame forward for the Boston Celtics. Sweat became — just last January — the first female Director of Fire Services in the history of the Memphis Fire Department.
“Over the last few months, I’ve been asked how I got here a lot,” says Sweat. “Looking back, it almost seems purposeful. But I wasn’t focused [on reaching this office].”
Sweat spent her childhood days in and around her parents’ grocery and bait shop. Her mother was only 18 when Gina was born, and she gained a sister after her 10th birthday. So in some respects, Sweat had a peer leader in her own mom and an important leadership role to play for her only sibling. “Growing up,” says Sweat, “my mom was one of my best friends, and she is to this day.”
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