President’s Blog: Celebrating Philanthropy – Like a Grand Slam

President’s Blog: Celebrating Philanthropy – Like a Grand Slam

by Dan Baldwin, President/CEO Community Foundation for Monterey County

The CFMC recently held its “Celebration of Philanthropy.” Not only was it a wonderful event, topped off by Bill Tyler’s remarkable Distinguished Trustee acceptance speech, but it was truly celebratory.

Why is philanthropy worth celebrating? Or, maybe more pertinently, why does philanthropy make us want to celebrate?

It starts with one person’s desire to help another.

This almost magical orientation is made even more glorious when you consider that the donor doesn’t even know the beneficiaries of their gifts.

DanBadlwin2015(Tunnell)IMG_1349Driven by a desire to use their good fortune, no matter the scale, to invest in organizations that provide programs that make our community stronger, the generosity of Monterey County donors makes you want to jump up and down as if your favorite player just hit a three-run homer.  Spontaneous celebration.  Philanthropy can do that.” Dan Baldwin 

Distinguished Trustee Bill Tyler

Now to Bill Tyler’s acceptance speech.

Bill was named Distinguished Trustee for more than just being generous.  His lead gift to the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula created the Tyler Heart Center.

The word “lead” stands out.  We were struck by how that gift inspired other gifts.  Lead doesn’t just mean first.  In his case it meant leadership by example.

William H Tyler III CFMC 2016 Distinguished TrusteeIn his acceptance remarks Bill told the story of a plane being diverted to Greenland on 9/11, and a passenger’s desire to set up a scholarship fund for the tiny village that housed the passengers and crew for weeks. She tried several outlets and couldn’t find an institutional partner for the fund. Then she went to a community foundation, who immediately agreed to work with her. Today the fund has a $1.5 million balance.

Bill described community foundations as design studios for philanthropy, a characterization that instantly took hold (and one we’ll ‘borrow’; thanks, Bill!).

The CFMC is a design studio that would invite you to pull up a chair at the table. You would be simply amazed at the possibilities.” – Bill Tyler 

What he didn’t do was make a single reference to himself. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect representation of philanthropy, and how all of us are beneficiaries.

Monterey County Gives!

Lastly, Monterey County Gives! 2016 is set to begin. It is a partnership of the CFMC, the Monterey County Weekly and the Monterey Peninsula Foundation. This campaign topped $3.4 million in 2015.

Perhaps more impressive is that there were over 4,000 donors.  This is what happens when communities unite around philanthropy, through gifts large and small.  125 nonprofits who serve tens of thousands of Monterey County residents are working hard to make Gives 16 a huge success.

It’s better than a three-run homer.  It’s a grand slam.  And that’s worth celebrating.

Dan Baldwin is President/CEO of the Community Foundation for Monterey County, which holds more than 400 charitable funds and has total assets of approximately $180 million. In 2015 the CFMC granted nearly $10 million to hundreds of nonprofits in Monterey County and beyond. Dan is 2016 President of the League of California Community Foundations.