Friday, January 9, 2015

Family & Filanthropy: Thank You Notes!

In the 21st Century, I think it is fairly safe to say that the art of hand-writing a letter is nearly all but extinct. Young people today seldom take that personal time, extra time to hand write a note of any kind for that matter. The art of hand writing a thank you note is something that was ingrained in me at an early age. I remember writing them after receiving Christmas presents, birthday gifts, graduation presents, and even after job interviews. Family and friends expected it. These days, I am not sure if that same level of expectation still exists. I have to admit on a few occasions, I have made a phone call or even sent an email of thanks but rarely do I take this path. In the world of fundraising and non-profits, I also experience the crafting of thank you or acknowledgement letters for contributions of time, talent and treasure. These letters while computer generated for the most part are also important and appreciated by the recipient. Timely acknowledgement goes a long way toward building good will and ensuring that continued support will come from that person. Now, as I juggle my philanthropic consulting business and raising a son, I am teaching him the importance of hand-writing thank you notes. I want him to grow up with the same understanding and respect for this art as I did, so that he continues the tradition as he grows older. I think his ability to write these notes will set him apart in a very positive way going forward. So, as we begin 2015, let's give thanks for all that we have! 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Filanthropy: My Newest Consulting Job

As of September 30, I am Consultant to Kennedy Krieger Institute. My role will focus on helping Kennedy Krieger Institute to expand its reach and awareness levels to those who live and work on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Like many families with a child on the Autism Spectrum, thankfully but unknowingly at the time, we began our journey to find the best possible care, education and support services for Timothy by seeing a Doctor at Kennedy Krieger Institute. The help we received at the time has been a very solid foundation for all the building blocks we have added to Timothy's treatment plan. Since my family had such a wonderful experience with Kennedy Krieger Institute, it is so exciting for me now in my professional life, to be able to work with Kennedy Krieger Institute to help spread the word about its programs and services available throughout the state (especially on the shore), nationally and even globally. Since its founding in 1937, Kennedy Krieger Institute has become an internationally known entity for its delivery of patient care, research, special education, community and training programs that benefit children and adolescents with developmental disabilities and physical disabilities. Annually it serves over 20,000 children whose diagnoses include: autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, spina bifida, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, and a host of other disorders ranging from mild to severe. Services also include a 70-bed hospital, outpatient clinics (like the one Timothy benefited from), and a lower, middle and high school for children with complex disabilities and community-based programs. It is truly an amazing organization that helps many people! I am honored to have Kennedy Krieger Institute as my newest client.

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, 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: 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!