Founder & Editor-in-Chief
Roberta d'Eustachio (Rd'E) is an entrepreneur obsessed with delivering media from the social investor/philanthropist's point of view. That desire led to founding The American Benefactor, the first consumer magazine for philanthropists, as well as Giving Magazine and each of its subsequent evolutions: from print, to digital, to mobile with Facebook Instant Articles, delivering stories of social impact - for everyone, everywhere.
Rd'E has consulted with, and/or received investment from, leading global brands, including: The Economist, the Financial Times, Euro Money/Institutional Investor, the Pitcairn Family Office, Fidelity Capital and the World Bank as well as philanthropists and social enterprises around the world.
After serving as chief-of-staff to Dame Stephanie Shirley, the British Government’s Founding Ambassador for Philanthropy, Rd'E founded the AmbassadorsForPhilanthropy.com enterprise to give social investors a voice worldwide.
Dame Stephanie Shirley
Philanthropist & Believer-in-chief
Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley is a British entrepreneur turned philanthropist. She originally arrived in London as an unaccompanied Kindertransport child refugee from Austria during WWII. “Steve” was an early pioneer in technology and, after taking her company public, she has given more than $100 million to organizations that specialize in autism research and technology, including founding the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University. Appointed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown to the title of the British Government's Founding Ambassador for Philanthropy 2009-2010, she believes in the advancement of the philanthropist voice worldwide.
Her memoir “Let It Go” was recently published, chronicling her life so far.
"Steve" is the Believer-in-chief to Giving Magazine, providing the means to imagine and execute its potential to the fullest.
Jerry Alten is a world-renowned art director of magazines, across all devices, and other marketing and advertising work, winning many prizes in the media field. Under Walter Annenberg’s ownership of TV Guide, Jerry took the circulation from 5 million up to 19 million during his tenure as art director. He continued to work with Rupert Murdoch’s organization after the buy out of TV Guide and created the first interactive website for the magazine. Jerry was also the original investor in The American Benefactor Magazine and art director, which succeeded in obtaining more than $7 million worth of investment from Fidelity Investment's venture firm.
Brian Lipscomb has been involved with technology for over twenty years, and founded technology services company Divergex, based in Philadelphia. Specializing in all aspects of computers, Brian brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Giving Magazine. His philosophy is: “Do it right, or don’t do it at all.”
Lipscomb adds: “Technology is a constantly evolving industry. People who use technology daily don’t have the time to study and learn all of the new and different terms and capabilities. I work to show people how technology can improve their efficiency, productivity and, ultimately, their lives.”
Before Jay became the Managing Editor for Giving, he was a freelance writer and editor based in Philadelphia. With an academic background in Philosophy he leverages an informed perspective on everything from African music to youth movements in the West for several publications both online and in print. At Giving Magazine he shares a passion for unabated reporting and the ushering in of a new age in philanthropy.
Sandra Salmans is a New york-based writer and editor who works primarily in the nonprofit field. She began her career as a business and financial journalist at Newsweek and The New York Times, but has also covered national news, education and the arts. Prior to going freelance, she was a senior officer in communications for a leading foundation in Philadelphia.
Digital Design Manager
Nicole delights in great design. That's why her commitment is compulsive; contagious even, to get it right. Or, change it. Or, change it again. Whatever is required to finding the way to the end point, which is sometimes the beginning. In other words, she never gives up, or stops, till the thing clicks.
She also loves cats.
Co-Director, Global Membership
A foodie who navigated his way from the city of brotherly love to Charleston, S.C, Damon is devoted to serving nonprofits worldwide that believe the philanthropist voice must be heard.
Damon graduated from the College of Charleston in Art Administration and performed an internship at London’s prestigious Tate Gallery’s New York City office.
Co-Director, Global Membership
Jessica is responsible for the management and development of the Global Awards for nonprofits of Giving Magazine for their nominated philanthropists and supporters.
She also serves as founder and executive director of her own nonprofit, “The Naked Truth AIDS Project”, which raises funds for AIDS prevention education programs in the USA as well as Africa.
Nick Cater is a UK-based international writer and editor. A former Fleet Street journalist, he has reported from more than 40 countries so far on stories as diverse as war in Africa, environmental risks in Latin America, disasters in Europe, and the Asian sport of elephant polo.
Luke Norman is an experienced journalist and corporate social responsibility consultant. Having started at The Daily Telegraph, Luke has worked for a wide range of international media outlets before moving into the heady world of multi-national corporations and their sustainability commitments. Luke has transplanted himself and his family from London to Rio de Janeiro, where the views he now observes are deliriously engaging.
Doug White, a long-time leader in the nation's philanthropic community, is an author, professor, and an advisor to nonprofit organizations and philanthropists. He is the director of Columbia University's Master of Science in Fundraising Management program. He also teaches board governance, ethics and fundraising. His most recent book, “Abusing Donor Intent,” chronicles the historic lawsuit brought against Princeton University by the children of Charles and Marie Robertson, the couple who donated $35 million in 1961 to endow the graduate program at the Woodrow Wilson School.
Kent Allen is a longtime daily journalist and freelance writer. Over the past 20 years, while also writing about philanthropy and nonprofits, he has worked as an editor at The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report and Congressional Quarterly. At present, Kent is a journalism and history teacher at The Field School, a middle and high school in Washington, D.C.
Lucy Bernholz is a blogger and self-proclaimed “philanthropy wonk”. Her blog, Philanthropy 2173: The future of good, has been named a “best blog” by Fast Company and a “philanthropy game changer” by the Huffington Post.
Kim Breslin is an actress, comedienne, director, producer, artist, and chef. She has been an educator in North Philadelphia for 17 Years. Mother of two incredible children, she lives with her highly supportive cat, The Amazing Sid.
Cheryl Chapman actively promotes philanthropy in the UK and globally via her journalism. She was the editor of Philanthopy UK: Inspiring Giving and now heads City Philanthropy, London, as its Director.
Stephen Dunn, Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, is the author of 11 collections of poems, including “Different Hours,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2001.
Regan Good is a freelance writer and poet living in Brooklyn, New York. She has written for The Nation, The New York Observer, The New York Times Magazine and others. She is currently at work on a memoir about growing up in a family of writers.
Sharilyn Hale, M.A., CFRE is Founder and Principal of Watermark Philanthropic Advising where she offers strategies for meaningful giving, receiving and leading. A practitioner, author and educator, she brings a global perspective on philanthropy having served the nonprofit sector across North America, Bermuda and the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. She holds a graduate degree in Philanthropy & Development and is past Chair of CFRE International, the global certification for professional fundraisers setting standards for ethical and accountable practices.
Believer in a better world. Uppity advocate for social change. Former philanthrapoid. Crystal lives in Singapore where she helps donors develop strategy for effective grantmaking. She serves on numerous boards, and is a speaker and writer on civil society. Twitter: chayling
Holly Howe is a strategic communications consultant with a particular focus on the arts. She works as a freelance journalist, writing for various publications including FAD, RWD, House (published by the Soho House group) and the Irish Examiner. She also runs the Culture Vultures, a networking group for people in media and the arts. She can be found tweeting at @ hollytorious and in her occasional spare moments, she posts on her blog www.postcardsfromholly.blogspot.com
Wangsheng Li is president of ZeShan Foundation (Hong Kong) and a Senior Fellow of the Synergos Institute (New York City).
Lisa MacDonald is a freelance writer and editor based in Toronto. A passion for philanthropy drives her involvement in initiatives that bring information and innovative ideas to Canada’s nonprofit sector leaders. Tweet her at @lisalmacdonald.
Andrew MacLarty is a New York based actor who has appeared on Boardwalk Empire and White Collar. Non-profit work includes narration for Partnership for a Drug-Free America, performances at the United Nations for Hurricane Katrina relief benefit shows, and Barefoot Theater Company’s ROCKAWAY benefit for Hurricane Sandy victims.
Bruce Makous, ChFC, CAP, CFRE, has been a professional fundraiser for over twenty-seven years, with leadership positions in major educational, healthcare, and arts organizations. In 2009, he was named by the Nonprofit Times one of the “Most Influential and Effective” fundraisers in the US.
Peter D. Michael
For over 20 years, Peter D. Michael has been an established actor, voiceover talent and stand-up comedian. He is also an Emmy award winner.
Suzanne is a U.S. international private client lawyer based in London. Suzanne assists philanthropists, their foundations, and international charities with cross-border philanthropy.
Founder of Julie Shafer Development + Philanthropy, a national philanthropy consulting firm. Ms. Shafer offers a multifaceted skill set honed throughout 20 years as a philanthropy executive bringing a translational approach that bridges the gaps between philanthropists and non-profits.
Jade Shames is an award-winning writer living in Brooklyn, NY. His work can be found in The Best American Poetry blog, The LA Weekly, HOW art and literary journal, and more. He was awarded a creative writing scholarship to attend The New School where he received his MFA.
Amy Singer teaches Ottoman and Turkish history, as well as courses on Islamic philanthropy and the history of charity in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University. Her recent publications include the book "Charity in Islamic Societies", and in 2008 she was awarded the Sakıp Sabancı International Research Award.
Sharit Tarabay painted the portrait of Gerry Lenfest. He is a painter and illustrator living in Montreal. He has his works published in magazines and books around the world.
James V. Toscano
Jim Toscano is a principal in the consulting firm, Toscano Advisors, LLC, and an adjunct professor at the School of Business, Hamline University. Recently retired as president of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, the cardiovascular research and education center of Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, he is a past chair of the Minnesota Charities Review Council and board member of Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
Susan Yu is a journalist from the San Francisco Bay Area. She is an award-winning news reporter who was formerly based in Hong Kong for 14 years covering stories in Asia for international news media organisations. She is currently based in the United Kingdom where she freelances as a writer, editor and documentary film producer.
By Doug White
You can go home again.
Her grandparents “used to say that the most important thing is to keep the most important thing the most important thing,” recalls Zita Cobb, “and so, for Fogo Islanders, there’s no doubt that place is the most important thing.” Although she left as a teenager to study, make a fortune and travel the world, Cobb held fast to that belief, and several years ago returned to the tiny fragment of Newfoundland where she was born, to live and help others prosper.
After earning an M.B.A., Cobb had gone to work for an oil company, quit that job to spend six months in Africa, then joined JDS Fitel, an American-owned fiber optics company. By 2000, as the company’s chief financial officer, Cobb was the third-highest-paid female executive on American payrolls. When she left that job, a multimillionaire, she spent several years sailing around the world. Then, one of Canada’s wealthiest women returned to one of Canada’s poorest locales. “I’ve been coming back since the day I left,” she told The Island Review, an online magazine. “It’s never stopped calling out.”
The New York Times has described Fogo Island as a “freckle of land that lies off the northeast corner of Newfoundland, Canada, with a population of 2,700 or so scattered across a series of fishing communities with names like Seldom, Joe Batt’s Arm and Tilting. It has its own peculiar time zone, 1.5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time – though in truth it feels like it’s hundreds of years behind: when it’s 10 p.m. in New York, it’s 1825 on Fogo Island.”
In 1992, the island had been devastated, practically overnight, when the Canadian government outlawed cod fishing, the heart of Fogo Island’s economy. When Cobb returned more than 15 years later, the place had sunk to such depths that she had difficulty deciding what to do first. With her brother Anthony, she created the Shorefast Foundation, named after the line used to attach cod traps to the shore, and granted scholarships until someone told her, “It’s all really fine what you’re doing, but you do realize that you’re just paying our children to leave, don’t you?”
She then doubled down to learn as much as possible about the island’s needs, and devised a series of projects, including restaurants, academic studies, and art galleries, that would bring new vibrancy—and visitors—to the island.
That included exploiting its romantic past. For example, only a handful of people on the island still knew how to build punts, small wooden rowboats that had fallen into disuse after the cod fishing ban. And those people were getting old; as her brother told Cobb, “We’re eight funerals away from never being able to build another punt on Fogo Island.” Today there’s a punt-building program, and an annual race between Fogo Island and nearby Change Islands.
Cobb’s brief is to honor Fogo Island’s past while ushering it—gently—into the present, in order to safeguard a future for the place she loves. “There’s a plague of sameness that is killing human joy,” she says, “and that hasn’t happened here.”
By Cheryl Chapman
Skoll's rise is a tale of ingenuity and a belief in the power to change the world.
As a weedy teenager growing up in Montreal, Jeff Skoll harbored an ambition to be a writer in the vein of dystopian novelists Aldous Huxley and George Orwell “and get people interested in big issues—and try to make a difference.”
Today, Skoll, 50, who made his fortune by the age of 34 as the first full-time employee and first president of the online auction site that became eBay, is trying to build a more Utopian world in which “self-enlightened empowerment” reigns supreme and connected individuals bring about world change. Quoting one of his heroes, the late John Gardner (founder of Common Cause and Independent Sector), Skoll says that he is interested in building “a sustainable world of peace and prosperity” with a simple approach—“betting on good people doing good things.” He has already parted with half of his net worth, an estimated $3.75 billion,
Skoll focuses much of his considerable personal wealth and business acumen on social enterprises, working through a number of organizations, some of which bear his name: the Skoll Foundation, Oxford University’s Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and its annual World Skoll Forum; his Capricorn Investment Group that supports such ventures as electric cars, solar panels, and rice plantations in Tanzania; The Skoll Global Threats Fund, which confronts the greatest dangers our world faces today; and Participant Media, which has produced more than 30 socially motivated movies and in August of 2013 launched TV network Pivot to 40 million homes. Most recently, in November, Skoll announced a $10 million endowment to help launch a new Center For Social Impact Entertainment at the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television
The Skoll Global Threats Fund targets issues such as climate change, water scarcity, pandemics, nuclear proliferation and, what he considers the most worrying threat, the lingering conflict in the Middle East, “the hardest thing I’ve bitten off,” he says. “When anyone tells me I can’t do something, I stop listening.”
In a recent Huffington Post interview he spoke about the skepticism he faced in Hollywood when he launched Participant. “I just wanted to make good quality films that were about something and not worry so much about whether they were successful commercially or not,” he recalled. “And they’ve done just fine commercially—clearly there is an audience for this kind of thing.” That’s a characteristically modest statement for films that have harvested four Academy Awards, out of 18 nominations, and are now referenced worldwide. His film North Country is credited with influencing the signing of the 2005 Violence Against Women Act. Participant’s blockbuster documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, is common viewing in classrooms around the world, and has unquestionably influenced the debate around climate change.
The Skoll Foundation, founded in 1999, offers grants to budding businesses, schools, and services for communities in need. Its approach is highly engineered with a focus on so-called inflection points—opportunities for outsized results. It currently supports 74 entrepreneurial organizations, or what it dubs internally “Uncommon Heroes,” in about 100 countries, granting around $23 million in 2011. Beneficiaries include Gaia Amazonas, a nonprofit that is attempting to pull endangered land in the Amazon back from the brink and has helped protect Colombia’s forests encompassing one-fifth of the entire nation. It is funding “weather-makers” like Sakena Yacoobi, founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning, which since 1995 has sustained education and health programs despite the Taliban’s opposition, and William Foote, an investment banker who has developed a leading model to help Latin American farmers adopt accessible and sustainable practices.
So, how is Skoll doing? He admits that the jury is still out. “For all the things we’re doing,” he said, “I don’t know that it’s enough. The social entrepreneurs are great and making a difference in the world. The movies are doing well and having an impact. But there are still major problems in the world. I don’t know what’s next.” He’s mulled over the idea of entering politics. “Maybe that’s the next frontier—to really engage politically—because that ultimately is where the power is held.”
Still, in a relatively short time, Skoll has become a prominent voice in philanthropic circles. In 2013 he appeared alongside Muhammad Yunas at the Forbes philanthropy conference at the United Nations on market- based solutions to global poverty, and on a separate occasion he dined with Michael Milken, Bill Gates, and Rwanda president Paul Kagame. In 2012, Canada awarded Skoll its highest civilian honor, the Order of Canada, for his wide-ranging philanthropic work. The Order carries the motto Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam—”They desire a better country.”
That’s certainly a fitting way to characterize Skoll. Another might come from one of the films funded by Participant Media—Waiting for Superman, an analysis of the US education system. It could be argued that Skoll has earned the right to Superman’s cape—though modesty would no doubt prevent his putting it on.
By Lisa MacDonald
Founder, backer, and global ambassador of The Funding Network, Fred Mulder explains his commitment to social giving and crowd funding.
Frederick Mulder doesn’t understand why people aren’t more willing to be vocal about their charitable activities. For this Canadian-born art expert, the idea that giving should be done privately and without publicity has become antiquated. As a lifetime giver, Mulder is now putting his mouth where his money is.
As a young boy growing up in the Midwestern Canadian province of Saskatchewan, Fred Mulder was taught that tithing—the act of giving a portion of one’s income to the church—was normal and commendable. While education may have led him away from organized religion, his commitment to giving hasn’t wavered.
An early experience as a donor directed Mulder toward the benefits of collaborative giving. “I had a sense of being taken advantage of after a charity that I donated to went bankrupt,” he said. “They hadn’t told me that they were in any kind of financial difficulty and it occurred to me that it wouldn’t have happened if I had a peer group to check things out with...doing the kind of due diligence that you must do.”
That incident led the internationally recognized art dealer, who lives in London, to form two organizations that follow a crowd funding model: The Network for Social Change, the first giving circle of its kind in the UK, and The Funding Network, now a global organization he describes as “the friendly Dragons’ Den”—a version of the popular reality show where visitors pitch their business ideas to a forum of investors—“for charities and potential donors.”
If Mulder’s approach to crowd funding has a calling card, it is its emphasis on live collaboration in place of online anonymity. “I don’t find it interesting or inspirational to give online,” he admits. “I love to hear from the people who are doing the work and meet them. I wish more people were setting up structures like mine, or one of their own imagining. There is still a ways to go.”
Although he supports many social causes, he stresses his primary attachment is to people. For Mulder, social giving is not only about leveraging money, it’s about creativity and entrepreneurship. “It’s like sitting on a teeter-totter,” he muses. “You need to put effort into finding a ‘heavy’ to tip the balance on the other side.”
His artful approach is now a signature. After a Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, was sunk in Auckland Harbor in 1985, he suggested using front-page advertising to attract new members. He took the risk of underwriting the campaign and was thrilled with its success. “It gave me a kick that an ordinary member of the public with £10,000 could take a risk on behalf of a charity, and that it worked out!” On another occasion, he became the news himself when he announced that most of the proceeds from his sale of Picasso’s 1935 etching, La Minotauromachie, would be donated to charity.
Mulder is in philanthropy for the long haul. In his role as global ambassador for The Funding Network, he continues to support the platform as it becomes more established around the world. Closer to home, he endowed his own Frederick Mulder Charitable Trust with £5 million in 2012 to be allocated to charities over the following 10 years. That his three children are trustees offers new challenges for the veteran philanthropist. “They’re quite tough on me actually—asking a lot of awkward questions. But it’s great. We are four busy people leading very different kinds of lives but linking over similar issues.”
By The Editors
An icon of the art world is leveraging culture and creativity against global challenges.
For a woman who has spent tens of millions of dollars of her personal fortune in pursuit of cultural development, Louise Blouin has generated some surprisingly negative press. Criticisms range from those who gently mock the Miss World-esque vision statements emanating from the French-Canadian to more serious accusations of unpaid debts and financial mismanagement at her media empire.
For the former at least, one can point to the peculiarly English (the Louise Blouin Foundation is based in West London) trait of finding unabashed, highly ambitious philanthropy hard to deal with. Add the vagueness that cultural philanthropic ventures can often carry and the alleged string of celebrity lovers (supposedly including Britain’s own Prince Andrew), and you can see why the British press have so enjoyed themselves with Mrs. Blouin. However, as publisher of more than 90 art titles per year, including the magazines Art + Auction, Modern Painters, and Culture + Travel, and as founder of the hugely influential ARTINFO.com, her place as a bastion of cultural influence has long been secure.
Blouin launched her $30 million eponymous foundation in 2005 with the vague intention of “supporting cultural development across the globe, disseminating culture beyond borders and generating new knowledge about creativity.” While some of its global aspirations may have been quietly scaled back, the Foundation’s London base has become one of the largest non-government, not-for-profit cultural spaces in the world.
Nearly a decade later, the Louise Blouin Foundation (LBF) has given space to a wide range of artists around the world while also hosting think tanks, workshops, debates, and summits on all manner of zeitgeists. Her annual Creative Leadership Summit in New York brings the challenge of using culture and creativity as catalysts for positive social change to the very highest table (past awardees at the grand event have included Bill Clinton and King Abdullah of Jordan) and LBF has boasted a 46-member advisory board including artist Damien Hirst, actor Jeremy Irons, and photographer Mario Testino.
Born and raised in Montreal, Blouin’s love affair with fine art started thanks to a volunteer posting at the city’s Museum of Fine Arts. Years later, Blouin even referenced her affinity for the arts in a split from her second husband and long-time business partner, John MacBain. The pair’s company, Trader Classified Media, was valued at almost $1 billion in the late 1990s. But, since 2000, Blouin has concentrated her resources on sharing the cultural message, both through her business, Louise Blouin Media, and through her foundation.
A Blouin quote on the LBF website neatly encapsulates both her philosophy and the reasons why some find it a little difficult not to ridicule her approach: “Verse three of Genesis: Let there be light. Yes, let. And then let us see it, learn from it, take it in and start to shine.”
Whatever you might think of such a statement, there is no denying the role that organisations like LBF can play. On its opening, Saumarez Smith, the British cultural historian, offered that the LBF could one day become as important as the Guggenheim Museum.
The LBF may not have scaled those heights (Blouin might well say “yet”) but given its proprietor there seems little doubt that its impact will continue to grow. “I don’t do this for power. I have everything I want in my life. I do this to make a difference,” Blouin said recently, with customary icy determination.