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Project partner, Kathy Kwan (Eustace Kwan Family Foundation) explains the motivations and intentions behind the Guide to Effective Philanthropy.
If you are reading this Guide, perhaps you have experienced a “wealth event”—a sudden increase in your net worth from an IPO, inheritance, or the like—or perhaps you have been accumulating wealth during your working years. You may have been volunteering your time, including serving on a nonprofit board, and you have likely been responding to requests to give to your alma mater, your children’s schools, religious institutions, and organizations that you or your friends care about. Perhaps, on your own or with the help of your financial advisor, you have started exploring a few “giving vehicles,” such as donor advised funds or foundations.
You may be at an inflection point—a moment of reflection when you realize you would like to be more purposeful in your charitable giving. With more money and possibly time, you’re feeling the mounting pressure of requests. At the same time, you would like to improve your philanthropic impact: you really want to do it well. Though not professionally trained in philanthropy, you aspire to have a professional level of impact in the areas you care about.
This Guide is written for donors who are interested in significant and sustained giving. It was born out of our experience at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society in helping donors improve their philanthropic effectiveness. Although much of the Guide is relevant to philanthropy across the globe, it is focused on donors making gifts to US-registered charities.
Keeping Track of Your Journey
In the introduction, we referred to philanthropy as a journey—a journey with both anticipated and unexpected experiences and great opportunities for learning. You will almost surely explore new focus areas and find new opportunities within existing ones. More fundamentally, you will develop new skills,
more confidence, and greater courage as a philanthropic traveler. Expeditions that once were unthinkably remote and daunting will seem within reach.
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