Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Family: A Place to Grow Is Right!

I, Eleanor Shriver Magee, distinctly remember the first day and night I spent at summer camp in Down East Maine in 1984, it is as if it happened just a few weeks ago. I slept in the top bunk, overlooking the lake and remember the thunderstorm that arrived early that first morning. It was quite a shock to be so close to the water during a thunderstorm. I think I hid under the covers out of fear. The seven-week session gave me the chance to make new friends, learn from new experiences, and most of all have tremendous fun. It can only be described as a life changing experience that now, this summer; I am excited to say, my son, Timothy experienced. My years at camp were many and I started at 13, so for Timothy, on the Autism Spectrum, to "sign up" for a four week session of camp at age 10 in Canada, was pretty darn amazing. He was excited nearly every day leading up to the Drop Off Day. He would say, "I am going to CAMP KODIAK!" Only days prior, did I sense he might have some trepidation or anxiety. He asked me, how long is camp? I said, Timothy it will be like an extra long sleep over. That seemed to quell his fears and off we went to take him to camp. It was a long drive and as we reached the camp road, I remembered the first time I arrived at my camp, in a big tour bus full of other girls from all over the East Coast. Our time at Timothy's camp on that day was short, I knew for my own self-preservation, I needed to get in, check things out and get the heck out of there. Timothy handled it all with ease and was very matter of fact; he said simply, bye Mom and Dad! I on the other hand, was a hot mess on the way out the camp road. Thank goodness for Jack and his capable driving skills. I cried off and on for the next several days. During the four weeks Timothy was at camp, we received two email letters from him and two phone calls from staff. All the communications were positive and made us even gladder we had advocated for this journey for Timothy. He made new friends, learned new skills, ate new foods, and had fun! On Visiting Day, we walked up toward the camp and waited to have any visual of Timothy. All of the sudden out came this blonde, taller, and skinnier young boy from the crowd, it was our son, the camper! He ran toward us and we shared a group hug like no other. It was truly the best day! We got to see Timothy play chess, dance and sing in Suessical the Musical, yes in four weeks the camp puts together two cast shows of a musical where all 250 campers have a role, we ate a delicious lunch, and we got to meet his new friends, William, his bunk mate and Hudson, among others. Plus we got to meet all his counselors, a dedicated and patient bunch of young people whom we have great appreciation for taking such good care of Timothy. If you are a parent and you are trying to think of a productive way for your child or children to spend all or part of their summer, consider overnight summer camp. I realize it is an expense, but I think the costs are mitigated by the gains in intellectual, spiritual and emotional growth. Whether you send them for a week or seven weeks, it builds confidence, character and creates friendships and memories to last a lifetime. My camp experience sure did! Summer camp is a place to grow for sure! The photos below are from Drop Off Day (blue shirt) and Visiting Day (black shirt).

Monday, July 7, 2014

Filanthropy: My New Consulting Job

As of May 19, I began a one year appointment as consultant to the Players' Philanthropy Fund based in Baltimore. Below is a brief synopsis of what PFF is about! Players’ Philanthropy Fund (PPF) is a philanthropic management solution that utilizes a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) to serve members of the sports industry. According to nptrust.org, a DAF is the most popular giving vehicle in philanthropy today. PPF enables sports industry professionals to make charitable donations globally from a DAF in a safe, easy, and cost-effective manner. PPF safeguards the financials assets under management with Brown Advisory and vets all charities before gifts are made, thereby protecting the donor’s brand and allowing him or her to focus on professional responsibilities. PPFs’ goal is to increase the number DAFs under its management to ensure its longevity and positive impact. Financial Benefits • Receive an immediate tax deduction up to 50% of adjusted gross income • Avoid capital gains tax on gifts of appreciated property (without a DAF, upwards of 20% is designated to taxes) Donors should consult with their tax advisor or legal counsel to ensure their DAF maximizes their estate plans. • Avoid estate taxes, gifts to a DAF are permanent • Grow assets in a DAF tax-free • Enjoy significantly lower fees (due to the pooled resources of all the funds) and avoid administrative burdens when compared to an individual fund or private foundation Other Benefits • PPF was created by a sport professional for sports professionals • PPF moves with you no matter where your career takes you • Additional support for event administration, oversight, promotion and help with the donors’ program partnerships is available, if needed • Donors will receive highly personalized and individualized attention • Gain exposure and be part of a team of well-respected sports industry professionals, effectively aligning you and your brand with greats in sports • Eliminate administration and documentation, PPF handles it all • Rest assured that you and your DAF are in good standing with the IRS • Maintain continuous control of and access to your DAF investment portfolio, as well as the managers at Brown Advisory. Donors may name successor beneficiaries so that the DAF can continue in perpetuity. Players’ Philanthropy Fund Contact Information: www.playersphilanthropyfund.org 410-825-0994 (ph) 410-825-0997 (fax) 410-490-6142 – Eleanor Shriver Magee, Consultant

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Filanthropy: Join the Crowd

The newest trend in philanthropy is called Crowdfunding. It marries a mission (non profit, political or for profit) with a "crowd" of supporters from the same neighborhood or supporters from all over the world. The crowd uses some type of online or social media platform to learn about the mission and subsequently offer financial support.  The key is how compelling is the story, how well can it be promoted, and can it be a proven mission worthy of support over the long haul? While crowdfunding may help generate support for one-off efforts or focused project-based endeavors, the brains behind the mission should remember not to put all it's fundraising eggs in one basket. Use of other more traditional forms of fundraising vehicles may be the perfect addition to crowdfunding or vice versa. What will be the next new thing in our industry? Hmmmm....

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Family: Double Digit Milestone

I can only remember a few of my birthdays, 10, 21, 30 and 40….the rest are a blur! For my son, Timothy, we are only a month away from helping him celebrate his 10th birthday, double digit milestone. I remember my 10th birthday so well, a great family friend, Eric and his wife, hosted a dinner party in my honor and he gave a memorable toast to me emphasizing my new status in the double-digit club. I thought I was pretty special, cool and wise beyond my years. Jack, my husband and I have been speaking with Timothy about how special his upcoming birthday is but I am not sure he fully comprehends the concept. He is still most interested in whether he will get an XBox or dog! Hmmm…that is a tough one. I am trying to figure out which is the lesser evil. I think for now, the XBox may win. Nonetheless, the 10th birthday milestone for Timothy is a valuable reminder that even as I age and attempt to stop "celebrating" my birthday, particularly as the years accrue into larger double digit numbers, or when I think of my birthday as just another day, it truly is a special occasion. It honors ones parents, grandparents and all those who have come before. Double digit 10 years on the 11th day of May, it will be an exciting day for Timothy and for me!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Etc: Could it be, Spring?

On my four mile walk today, I saw and heard many signs of Spring. Birds chirping, peepers and frogs chatting, crocus nearly bursting in full color glory, grass turning green, and most importantly, the sun shone bright with few clouds in the sky. Thank goodness, because it sure has been a long, cold winter! I think people today with their instant gratification lifestyles expect Mother Nature to just roll over and give into our desire for warmth and sunshine. Well I think we deserve it even though the 12 or so snow storms in total dropped far less snow on us than the Snowmageddon winter of 2009-2010. It is amazing how my mood is positively impacted by the sun. There is something truly medicinal about it, especially when you feel like you have been without it for so long. So my plan today is to soak it all in and be thankful that yes, it could in fact be spring!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Family: Tweaking

So, you can imagine my response to Timothy's doctor when he said, "let's tweak his medication for the next two weeks to see what happens."  The reason for this tweak phase is because we are concerned that the medicine may not be doing what it is supposed to.  It is supposed to help him focus, lessen anxiety so he can learn and grow.  It is amazing - in just two days of tweaking, we have seen two positive changes - he is sleeping better and eating more.  A year ago, Timothy was really long and almost too lean.  Often times, stimulants can decrease appetite and disrupt sleep.  So the tweaking impact has helped in these two areas while at the same time, we are still not ready to judge if his behavior, focus and overall-functionality has changed for the better or worse.  I think it is safe to say that it takes a few days for the extended release medications to vacate the bloodstream and he still is taking two non-stimulant medications for ADHD and anxiety.  Maybe these two medicines alone could be enough?  Wouldn't that be amazing if we could actually lower the amount of medication that he takes?  So often parents want to pack on the meds, add on and inadvertently or unintentionally over-medicate to a certain degree.  And at times, we have been almost game for that too.  But thanks to the experience and guidance of Timothy's doctor, we actually have lessened the medication as least for now.  So why does this all really matter?  Well it is spring break for Timothy so the impact on him and us was a concern.  In hindsight even though we are only on day three it has not been too bad.  Despite the tweaking we have visited the Aquarium, we went to the park for the first run around on the playground for 2014, we went swimming at the Y and today and tomorrow our goals are to start a garden inside to be transplanted outside when it warms up and to go skiing. Fun times for sure.  Stay tuned for further tweaks to the tweaking.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Family and Filanthropy: Be Good

Last fall, my sister and I began to talk about whether we had the skill set as professionals and siblings to join forces in some formal capacity.  Growing up, our grandparents articulated regularly the mantra to Be Good.  So, that is what we have tried to do throughout our lives, be good.  I had free time to think a lot last fall about our bond as sisters, our common goal to be good and how we could serve others.  Hence, Sisters4Good was born.  Several months later, the concept is still somewhat fluid and uncertain.  Many questions remain - do we incorporate? Do we become a 501 c 3? Do we want to withstand the test of co-working siblings for just the original year's time discussed last fall or do we want to extend the partnership?  Hmm…Our first test, San Diego's Biggest Sports Play Date on February 1 was very successful.  We married four sports: tennis, soccer, baseball and football into a fun play date event at a world class sports venue, Petco Park, home to the Padres of MLB.  Kids, volunteers and families were treated to a wonderful opportunity to see world class tennis, Davis Cup USA vs. Great Britain and the youngest possibly future athletes for USA got to be active, meet new people and have fun.  Our next step is to see if this type of event has staying power and the traction to be replicated in other parts of the country.  Stay tuned to find out and in the meantime, Be Good.


Bill Walton (Basketball Legend) signs a ball for a future sports legend (at right)?