Singing praises for fundraisers and philanthropists

 In Community, Fundraising, Philanthropy
A common yellowthroat sings loudly while perched on a branch in Oregon's William L Finley National Wildlife Reserve. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A common yellowthroat sings loudly while perched on a branch in Oregon’s William L Finley National Wildlife Reserve. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

“In winter all the singing is in the tops of the trees,” wrote poet Mary Oliver. Or if you attended San Francisco’s National Philanthropy Day in November, all the singing came from Kat Taylor as she serenaded a room full of fundraisers and philanthropists while accepting this year’s award for “Outstanding Philanthropists.”

National Philanthropy Day logoThe Outstanding Philanthropists Award celebrates philanthropists who have made a meaningful and sustained impact in the Bay Area and beyond. Kat Taylor and her husband Tom Steyer are known for their active philanthropy. They give generously and roll up their sleeves to make things happen – from providing financial services for the underbanked to fighting climate change.

Organized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Golden Gate Chapter, the annual philanthropy event in November, is a great way to gain new inspiration and recognize the fundraisers and the philanthropists who are making it possible to strengthen our communities and change the world. Here is a list of the 2014 honorees.

Every day, through my work as a nonprofit consultant and writer, I am honored to sing praises for changemakers who are dedicated to changing lives through education and opportunity, by advocating for human rights and by protecting the natural world.

I am grateful for the continued partnership of my friends and colleagues from Outward Bound California, Mills College, Fresh Lifelines for Youth (“FLY”) and the Northwest Outward Bound School. In 2014, I also welcomed new partners from International Rivers; Women’s Funding Network and the University of California, Berkeley, SAGE Scholars Program.  And, as a volunteer, I joined the board of the Women’s Environmental Network (“WEN”) and continued to learn from my experiences with the Bay Area Puma Project.

As 2014 comes to a close, I’d like to thank you, my friends and colleagues, for your partnership and for the hard work that you do. Heading into 2015, I hope you find inspiration for the year ahead from the power of your voice.  On a recent National Public Radio show, celebrated opera singer Jessye Norman shared advice that resonates for social change work as well: “We can all sing and we should all try.”

“We can all sing and we should all try because it is a wonderful thing for the body to be filled with all of that oxygen that you’ve got to take into your body in order to have it come out again as sound. It makes you feel good, and it makes the person listening to you feel good as well.”

Hendy Woods State Park in Philo, California. Photo by Christine Sculati.
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