Give Back Jack

(Community Matters) Last night’s Give Back Jack event was organized by Austin Venture’s Chris Steiner for I Live Here, I Give Here.  A hundred fifty-ish men gathered at Headliners to hear Tommie Meredith talk about philanthropy and then for dinner at a table with an appointed “mentor.”

I was a mentor along with Clarke Heidrick, Earl Maxwell, Gary Valdez, Gerry Newkirk, Jack Martin, Jeff Kodosky, Jeff Serra, Larry Temple, Marc Winkelman, Mark Strama, Phil Siegel, Steve Guengerich, Tom Meredith & Tom SegestaPatsy Martin (founder of the organization) was everywhere in the background making sure it all happened smoothly.

Tom told several stories and gave a list of what makes an effective fundraiser: 1) true believer, 2) straight talker, good listener, 3) makes the ask, 4) recognizes it is a privilege to be able to ask, 5) cultivates before asking, 6) brings fun and satisfaction to the transaction.  I’d add 7) knows prospect’s philanthropic interests and objectives so that brings opportunities which help accomplish these objectives.  The latter changes the dynamic.  Rather than the asker pitching a favor (“please give to one of my favorite nonprofits”), it’s: here’s an investment opportunity that helps you accomplish your objectives.

Super evening.  My table included Bridgepoint’s Manuel Azuara, Wells Fargo’s Mark Inyre, Austin Ventures’s Russell Lemmer, vcfo’s Corey Blahuta and Focus Strategy’s Lathrop Smith (news flash: Lathrop moving to Maxwell, Locke & Ritter next month).

We discussed lots about philanthropy and getting involved.  I especially promoted my philosophy that business people should find the intersection of 1) their passion, 2) their skills, 3) their business interests and 4) community needs – when initially identifying where to get involved.

I admit, I’m not such a fan of the website’s graphic (pic at top of story). Images of the 50s might be chic but they aren’t inclusive, nor signal such to people of color, gays or Jews.  Though, I admit to having loved Mad Men’s first two seasons. Picture below is Michael Barnes’ of AV’s Russell Lemmer & Chris Steiner

4 responses to “Give Back Jack

  1. Thanks so much for being such a wonderful mentor, Eugene!

  2. Sarah Singletary

    I tried to leave this comment at Michael Barnes’ blog, but it wouldn’t take:

    I’m sorry but the whole idea behind I Live Here, I Give Here must be one of the dumbest charity/philanthropy notions ever. Here we are in one of the wealthier towns in the USA (one relatively unaffected by the recession) in one of the richest cities in the world, and we are asked to make our charitable donations local? What about needy people around the world? I realize there is need in Austin, as there is anywhere, but come on. Isn’t designating your money go local the very definition of parochial? Don’t we want to be cosmopolitan? You know one charity I like? Oxfam. They don’t give any aid inside the US, and that’s the way I like it. Give to orgs like Oxfam, not local charities.

    Also, the website http://www.ilivehereigivehere.org/ does not inspire confidence at all. It claims Austin ranks 48th of the 50 biggest cities in per capita charitable giving. What is the basis for this claim? According to Austin-based Convio, Austin ranks 7th in terms of on-line giving (http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/108411/most-charitable-cities) . Maybe our paucity of off-line giving brings us down to 48, but that doesn’t sound likely. And the map on their site – when did places like Boston and Atlanta and Miami drop out of the top 50 US cities? I know it’s just a website and the map is for art more than anything, but this kind of detail calls into doubt everything about this organization, which seems to exist more to give social climbers something to feel good about more than anything else.

  3. Sarah, it wasn’t at all about channeling local to the exclusion of international or elsewhere domestically.

    Many of us there and talking last night are very involved in philanthropy elsewhere in the country and around the world. I’ve helped raised nearly $1.5mm for Haiti alone. My friends the Berbers have helped over 2mm in Ethiopia. It isn’t an either or

  4. Austin is an incredibly caring community. However, 3 national studies rank us much lower than we’d all like to be with regard % of income dedicated to all charitable giving (local & international/faith-based & secular). The study you referenced was executed by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Happy to share. I believe the Convio study references gifts made through Convio products- makes sense Convio is doing well in its home town and we’re happy about that. I Live Here, I Give Here is about changing a paradigm for Austinites. There are huge needs in our community that are not particularly en vogue and go unseen. We’re about making Austin better for both contributors and recipients.

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