Staff Blog

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This is a space where Foundation staff share their thoughts and musings on giving and community:

On The Table

Imagine you inherited a large sum of money you didn’t expect to receive. Or imagine you gave a loan to a friend starting a business and your pay-back from the company is many times what you expected, leaving you with a large sum of money you don’t know how to manage. These examples are typical of the stories we hear from philanthropists as they start their journeys.

Our job as philanthropic advisors is as much about listening to philanthropists’ stories and needs as it is about assisting with their philanthropic strategy. And in the past year, we’ve noticed some common threads emerging from the stories of the women we work with.

Women have long been relegated to the sidelines when speaking about finances, but we see that changing every day as more women outlive their spouses, hold an increasing share of jobs, and take greater control over family finances—including charitable giving. Money and wealth are often seen as taboo subjects; there are few spaces where women can have honest conversations about some of the feelings behind having wealth, which sometimes include shame, isolation, and even guilt.

After hearing many women philanthropists relay stories about having to navigate these feelings on their own, we knew it was time to put these subjects on the table. We wanted to create a space where women could have frank conversations, feel supported, and develop a network of other people who relate to their experiences.

Last month we piloted a series of dinner discussions, bringing together small groups of women from around the state to talk about issues related to wealth, family, and philanthropy. The conversations were facilitated and structured in such a way that participants were able to speak freely. One participant wrote, “It was a very moving evening. I felt supported, and I look forward to more events like this.”

Our goal is to support philanthropists like these women as they progress in their journeys in every way we can, and as the Community Foundation continues to grow, we want to seek out new ways learn and adapt alongside them. We feel honored and privileged to be having these conversations, and we look forward to expanding on these discussions in the future.

 Stay tuned for what happens next!

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