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Letter to the editor – Philanthropic growth masks gap

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To the editor,

I read with interest your article, Options grow to meet donor demands [Philanthropy Journal, 10/6/03].

Are vehicles in place that allow nonprofits to get their messages and needs in front of some of these large and growing private foundations?

How would an organization get its mission in front of a donor-advised fund, asset-management teams or some other large money-managing conglomerate?

It seems the old maxim of fundraising via relationship-building is not where the action is for many organizations, including those that are smaller or located outside more populated regions.

Who is building the bridge between interesting and compelling missions and activities so that the $41 trillion in charitable dollars being transferred between generations can be informed?

The questions loom large.

What are the attitudes on the large community foundation side?

It seems that these large organizations need a liaison person to acquaint their donors with who is ‘out there’ in categories that are of interest to the donors, and help find the fits and engage the passion.

Web sites designed to help donors learn about nonprofits are interesting, but how do you ensure that they are inclusive?

If this is the ‘new face’ of philanthropy, and the emphasis is on ‘anonymous family foundations behind the face of a single large community foundation,’ what happens to the organizations not geographically near large cities with huge investing bases?

Does this create a disparity for rural areas?

Mary Stewart, director of corporate, foundation and government relations, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen, Mich.

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