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March 07, 2005

If You Had 10 Million Dollars. . .

Call me twisted, but I find it fun to pore over 990PF tax forms. I was involved with a great non-profit organization in Texas for three years as a volunteer, and a year as an intern. One of the things I dabbled in was grant writing.

And so Slate’s articles on philanthropy during the last year caught my eye and attention.

The Ninth Annual Slate 60
The 2004 Slate 60 list

One of my daydreams is to be on the board of a charitable foundation. I like to plan which charities I’d support in the short term and long term. I have all sorts of ideas—scholarships, foreign missions, political causes, environmental/economic partnerships, pro-life groups. . .

If you had 10 million dollars that you must give away this year, what groups and charities would benefit?


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At www.guidestar.org you can browse 990's to your heart's content. I'm a development specialist (read: I can write grants, work on board development and strategic planning...) and have seen charities and ministries that have been run very well and those that have been run by charlatans. Anyhow, it's fun to look at where your local pro-life group, Red Cross, or Christian school spends their money. The addendas are often very telling ;-)

Posted by: Anne at March 7, 2005 06:13 PM

I'd give it all to Wears Valley Ranch, where I worked right after graduating from college. In fact, giving them $10 million would be a dream come true for me! www.wvr.org

Posted by: Brenda at March 7, 2005 09:02 PM

I would give it to the Sisters of Life - www.sistersoflife.org.

Posted by: Julie at March 8, 2005 02:37 PM

The thought is almost mind-boggling....let's see, we have some missionary friends in very poor, restricted countries, some has to go there. Also, Africa: Aids, the Sudan, Congo...endless needs here. I don't know if there is an organization, but I worry about kids who "graduate" from foster care. 18, no family, no support system, trying to make their way.

Is there any money left? Portland has the largest street-kid population in the U.S., surely we could do something to help here. And there is an epidemic of Meth (amphetimine) abuse. Users, dealers, babies born already addicted...

(The needs of the world are staggering, aren't they?)

Posted by: sparrow at March 8, 2005 03:03 PM

I would give a portion of it to a "less needy" yet important organization that deals with teens. Probably one that emphasized the arts, such as a youth theater. The arts are an endangered species in America's school system, and public theaters that rely on government support to keep fees low are always cash-strapped. A $1M endowment would go a long way toward ensuring a youth theater's future.

Tough call on the remaining $9M. Since I've never had $9M to give away, I'd have to spend a month or so researching.

Posted by: The Zero Boss at March 8, 2005 04:25 PM

hmmm.... I would give 1 Mil to my Alma Mater. 7 Mil to my church. and the rest I would divy up to Orphanages. (I dont currently know any, but I am sure I could find that info pretty quickly)

Posted by: MegLogan at March 8, 2005 05:00 PM

Thanks for mentioning Guidestar to me. Registan told me about it once, but I promptly forgot what it was called. *blush*

Brenda and Julie, thanks for sharing those sites. (And Julie, I really like your site!)

I've seen you posting on the situation in Congo/Sudan. Things like that are so beyond my world and my comprehension--it's hard for me to understand how to give, where to give, what will really help when things are so desparate.

Zero Boss--Yes! The arts! In principle, I'm a huge fan of privately funded arts. When we lived in the middle of nowhere, West Texas, we weekly benefited from a well-endowed Children's musesum. The local art programs in the community were generously funded by the oil execs who were stuck in that desolate place. (In fact, I don't want to sound critical of the Ukrainian ballet, but the local TX production of the Nutcracker surpassed the national ballet production. Well funded and great community support made the difference, I assume.)

Hi, Meghan! Good to see you here!

Some of my ideas (like ZB said, would require more research) also include:
* Grants for modest church buildings for church-planting teams in developing countries.
* Scholarships. Lots of 'em. For midwives, doulas, Summit Ministries, single mothers, "second career" mothers, poor youth interested in non-traditional education, etc.
* Modest monthly support for all of the new short-term missionaries with MTW. *g*
* Our home town in the US has plenty of wealthy people already funding local causes. I think I'd want to "adopt" the small town where my sister lives to help fund projects there--economic development, health resources, cultural stuff.
* I'd love to help provide set-up and ongoing support for a Ukraine-wide breastmilk bank system for the babies who need it in the hospitals and orphanages. Along with that, a general breastfeeding education / lactation counselor campaign.
* Scholarships for middle-income homeschool families for the "extras" that are sometimes not affordable--like music lessons, art lessons, science camps.

Hmmmm. . . Still brainstorming.

Posted by: TulipGirl at March 9, 2005 03:57 PM


I would probably give a good chunk to our local library. Some people are nostalgic about their alma mater -- I am that way about the library.

Also, I don't know if this is a fair treatment of the question, but I would probably start a foundation of my own, meant to help couples who want to adopt but who can't afford the staggering costs of it. Of course I know nothing about running a foundation. But then I'm not really going to have ten million dollars to give away either, so what the heck.

Also, there's a concept called "Sparrow Clubs" wherein kids who are treated badly at school are encouraged to volunteer outside of school, to learn about how much life there is beyond the world of the wrong shoes and the wrong hair and all the insults and all that. It doesn't make school go away, but it puts it in perspective, and gives the kids a chance to form friendships and make a difference. Something like that deserves a chance to become developed on a bigger scale, I think.

Posted by: Rachel at March 10, 2005 10:10 PM

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