Finance & Investing , Nonprofit

Arrillaga Book Offers Map for Successful Philanthropy

Don't just feel good about philanthropic gifts, says Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen in her book Giving 2.0. Put your mind to work as well as your heart.

November 30, 2011

| by Anne Gregor

To make the greatest impact as philanthropists in today’s world we must “put our minds to work as well as our hearts,” writes Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen in her new book Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World. Arrillaga-Andreessen, creator of the first course in philanthropy at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and founder and board chairman of Stanford’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, has written a guide to giving that emphasizes constant learning and improvement and an activism over and above sitting down and writing a check at year’s end.

Arrillaga-Andreessen launched her book in front of a powerhouse of Silicon Valley philanthropists Oct. 27 at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Foundations such as Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Sand Hill Foundation, Goldman Foundation, Skoll Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, Legacy Venture, David & Lucile Packard Foundation, and Arrillaga-Andreessen’s family foundations represent hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, of giving. The audience was sprinkled with representatives of those and similar organizations, a testament to the impact of the Arrillaga family in local philanthropy.

Giving 2.0 weaves a story of philanthropy out of the threads of her family’s giving history and the experience of others who came to philanthropy in the past decade. The result is a combination of personal discovery and instruction manual, complete with explanations of various giving vehicles available to aspiring donors, their tax treatment, a jargon buster (glossary), and comprehensive index.

“When you give the 2.0 way you understand how your gift touches individual lives,” says Arrillaga-Andreessen. To get there she advocates:

  • Shifting from being reactive to proactive donors by finding your passion,
  • Researching your areas of interest,
  • Discovering the nonprofit to match,
  • Shifting from the sympathetic to the strategic through asking tough questions to find the nonprofit that is doing its job well, and
  • Moving from isolated to collaborative giving to leverage the benefit from every dollar given.

“When I talk about ‘Giving 2.0,’ I’m referring to a state of mind that embraces constant learning and improvement,” she says.

Jim Canales, president and chief executive officer of the James Irvine Foundation and a Stanford alumnus, is a firm supporter. “I think people today are thinking about impact and the legacy they leave. That is a good thing. It helps to lift up a sense of accountability by foundations and by all of us,” he says.

The Arrillaga-Andreessen story starts with her father, John Arrillaga, who arrived at Stanford on a basketball scholarship funded by “the generosity of someone he didn’t know,” she told the audience. As the family prospered, her late mother became a community leader, supporting existing nonprofits with her time and her money, and founding several nonprofits of her own.

Giving 2.0 is structured to help potential donors determine which path they wish to pursue. Each chapter describes a form of giving such as joining a board, getting together with others in a giving circle, starting a new nonprofit, or becoming an advocate.  She identifies opportunities, challenges, and points to consider. In the “Making It Happen” section, at every chapter’s end, a lengthy set of questions serve as a guide to establishing clear goals and how to achieve them. A component called “For the Family” is a mainstay of the practical approach Arrillaga-Andreessen advocates and an affirmation of her belief that the example of giving starts in the home.

At the same time Arrillaga-Andreessen is calling for the “democratization” of the word philanthropist. Philanthropist means “love for mankind” in Greek. Modern donors should embrace the word, she says. “Anyone who gives anything — time, money, experience, skills, networks — in any amount to create a better world, is a philanthropist,” she says.

Giving 2.0 is published by Jossey-Bass, an imprint of Wiley. Arrillaga-Andreessen has launched a website, and a Twitter feed, @LAAgiving2, to support her efforts to help donors “transform your giving and our world.” The author is donating all royalties to nonprofits described as high impact and innovative.

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