‘Giving 2.0’ discusses the options of philanthropy and local involvement

Carol Wright

By A Contributor

A friend of mine contacted me recently, wanting to know the steps she needed to take to begin fundraising efforts for a relative who is wheel chair bound and struggles daily to care for her two children. Her boy suffers from muscular dystrophy and her young daughter, not yet a teenager, assumes the role of “mother” to both her own mother and brother.

My attempt at giving my friend advice was somewhat feeble but I managed to offer several suggestions.

At that time, had I been aware of Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen’s book,

“Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World,” I would have immediately recommended this philanthropist’s well-documented, caring and investigative work to my friend and to others who are searching for a similar breakthrough or seriously looking into volunteer opportunities.

“Giving 2.0” is the bible of giving your all. Andreessen covers the essentials; from how to start a fundraising campaign and how to choose the volunteer organizations that appeal to an individual’s cause and concern, to researching an organization first prior to jumping in or deciding if giving money, time, inspiration or all of these would benefit the individual and/or philanthropic organization.

Throughout “Giving 2.0,” Andreessen also presents true-to-life personal accounts of how she became involved with philanthropy. She encourages people to be disciples of those who never imagined that they would start a new company, trigger a cause or invest in a successful franchise. These ideas could spring from the birth of a basic idea to grow into something far bigger for the benefit of humankind.

Giving from the heart is the most powerful “engine of action,” according to the author. On many occasions it is the giving heart that surpasses any amount of money or lack of money one has to give. The author discovered this for herself, writing “...I’ve made gifts that were spectacular successes and ones that were miserable failures. I’ve made gifts whose impact I can measure accurately - and ones in which I couldn’t tell you what happened to the money if my life depended on it. But I’ve tried to learn from every experience. And when I look back on the timid, uncertain girl that I was when I started giving, I realize I’m much more optimistic, ambitious, and empowered today than I was back then.”

Today she is one of the most well-respected and brilliantly educated philanthropists who founded the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2) of which she is chairman emeritus of this philanthropic partnership.

In addition, Andreessen holds the following titles and degrees, founder and chairman of Stanford Center On Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS), a global research center designed to explore ideas to help create social change; an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business; an MA in education from Stanford School of Education; and a BA and MA in art history at Stanford.

She is endowed with an endless pertinacious nature to do more, like her husband, Marc, a technology entrepreneur and venture capitalist.

An academic background does not hurt in the least but people do not need this extensive background to share in the giving process.

Andreessen also gets the entire family involved with crusades. For instance, if mom and dad are involved with donating to food pantries, they will serve as role models for their children so they can learn the giving-sharing concept.

Taking a stand locally is a start, whether it’s animal rights, faith ministries, Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross or wildlife management.

Local clubs, such as Jaycees and Rotary Club, offer and need support, too. Though they’re a frame to the entire picture, they are equally as important or notable as those charitable nation-wide organizations.

Thank you, Andreessen, for laying out plans of action and defining terms in the “Jargon Buster” section. I really haven’t any complaints with her gift-giving journey. “Giving 2.0” just might be the right road that connects to the destination.

Carol Wright is a former Manhattan resident.

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