Connecting money to mission

Mark PetersenGrantmaking, Strategy, Vision

Major donors have investments that are earmarked for charitable purposes. But lately I’ve been wondering how to unlock that value. Philanthropy offers a way to see invested funds create social change. It happens through surrender – giving it away. As one surrenders capital, and trusts a valued charity, those investments are channeled into lives changed: education received, capacity built, vision … Read More

11 Trends in Philanthropy for 2022

Mark PetersenStrategy

The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy has just released their sixth annual compilation of trends in philanthropy for the year. As we hobble through pandemic protocols and societies are impacted, perhaps permanently, philanthropy will also be influenced. Trends they note include the rise of cryptocurrencies, growing culture wars, new engagement with indigenous communities, and the powerful use of data … Read More

MacKenzie Scott blazes a new path

Mark PetersenStrategy

Articles that claim there’s a new way to do philanthropy merit some examination since traditional models aren’t perfect. So I was drawn to The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s recent cover spread on MacKenzie Scott whose divorce from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos suddenly put her in the driver’s seat of a $60 billion settlement. In 2020 she gave $5.7 billion in unrestricted, one-time … Read More

Deluded altruism

Mark PetersenBook Reviews, Strategy

The title caught my eye, and I immediately clicked “Add To Cart” and bought Delusional Altruism. In two words, Kris Putnam-Walkerly sums up one of my niggling worries about the grants that I’m involved with. Giving makes us feel good, but we’re deluded. There’s a sincere desire to respond to the needs of society, vast sums of money are granted, … Read More

A year of pandemic

Mark PetersenCOVID-19, Strategy

It was a year ago that we were rudely awakened by the announcement of the pandemic, and so much has since changed. Investments have been on a roller coaster. Charitable activity has been severely impacted. Families have been divided by health restrictions. Consumption of digital media has skyrocketed. Public funding has been flowing with abandon. Mental health has taken a … Read More

Foundations need to spend more

Mark PetersenGrantmaking, Strategy

How does your family foundation or fund set its annual giving budget? This is a question that arises each year, and is one that requires some discussion within a family. The legal requirements mandated by the CRA are actually very minimal. Under the Charities Act and to comply with a foundation’s charitable purpose, endowed foundations must give 3.5% of average … Read More

Adaptive leadership during a pandemic

Mark PetersenBook Reviews, COVID-19, Innovation, Leadership, Strategy

Let’s begin with some background music to set the stage for this blog post. Start the music in the video below, and continue reading… You’re now listening to a familiar tune called ‘Take Five’.[1] Catchy, isn’t it? If you’re not a musician, you might have a hard time putting your finger on what makes this song so alluring. Music historian … Read More

Giving strategically

Mark PetersenApplication Process, Strategy

The beginning of a new year is an opportunity to reimagine one’s purpose. This is true for both charities and foundations, for those who do good and those who give for the good of others. And it is true as well for Stronger Philanthropy. We are currently developing our own strategic plan and working with selected clients as they develop … Read More