Philanthropy in Practice

Philanthropy in Practice

Simple content posted in on 8 April 2014
audience: The Boston Foundation | last updated: 20 January 2016
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Deciding how to approach your philanthropy isn't a simple decision. Learn about fellow donors and the ways they choose to create philanthropy with impact.

Why One Firm Chose a DAF for Its Corporate Philanthropy

When the principals of Income Research + Management (IR+M) decided to take a more deliberate, intentional approach to the firm’s corporate giving, they considered creating a private foundation. Instead, they set up a Donor Advised Fund at the Boston Foundation.

Why? “There are huge economies of scale,” says Cofounder and Managing Principal Jack Sommers, who had become familiar with the Foundation through his work as one of its investment managers.


Boston Developer Builds Human Capital

Millennium Partners has developed many of the tall buildings that dot Boston’s skyline. Its portfolio of luxury residences includes the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences and One Charles in the Back Bay, and the glassy 60-floor Millennium Tower rising from the site of the old Filene’s department store in Downtown Crossing.

While the firm was a pro at developing luxury residential complexes, it felt it needed some expert guidance when it came to philanthropy. “We made charitable contributions on a regular basis, but it was always on the basis of people approaching us,” says Anthony Pangaro, Principal of Millennium Partners-Boston.


Sidney Topol: Passionate about Peace

The son of immigrants, Sidney Topol is a classic American success story. He rose from a two-family house in Dorchester to a corner office in Atlanta, becoming wealthy in the process. "Making money is okay if you know what to do with it," he cautions. "As long as when you climb the ladder, you don't pull it up behind you."

Now 90 years old, the Back Bay resident is busy helping others scale the ladder of opportunity by making large gifts to further public education and promote the study and practice of nonviolence.


Bennie and Flash Wiley: Giving Selma

Bennie and Flash Wiley were having dinner in New York with friends in January when the topic of the civil-rights movie Selma arose. “Some of the people there had been to a screening, as we had, and were talking about the film and how it was something every child in America should see,” Bennie recalls. “A couple of them followed up on the idea and said they wondered if they could make that happen.  One of our friends in New York was calling it pop-up philanthropy – an idea that emerged and had to happen quickly in order to be relevant,” says Bennie.


Additional Articles

Newton Couple Uses an Inheritance for Good

Boston Foundation donors David and Jill Adler spend their careers helping other people, he as a psychiatrist at Tufts Medical Center and she as a social worker in private practice. So when Jill inherited low-cost-basis equities eight years ago, the couple saw it as an opportunity to extend their help far beyond their patients.


David Campbell: From Tech Titan to Aid Chief

Shortly after the December 2004 earthquake and tsunami ravaged Southeast Asia, retired technology executive David N. Campbell left his Carlisle home and flew to Thailand to see what he could do to help. A year later, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he founded All Hands Volunteers, Inc., a nonprofit whose goal is bring immediate, sustainable relief to communities in need.


Creative Giving is This Couple’s Hallmark

Education, conservation, humanitarian aid and music are the philanthropic passions of physicians Robert and Veronica (Ronnie) Petersen. They have been able to contribute generously to these causes over the decades because of an inheritance, savvy investments and creative giving strategies.


Social Impact Through Revolving Grants

Henry, a Boston Foundation donor who has a green energy business, is an enthusiastic benefactor of Interise, a local nonprofit that promotes economic revitalization in low-income communities by helping small businesses grow and thrive. He got interested in the organization after a chance meeting with CEO J. Jean Horstman in a coffee shop, where he learned about Interise’s Streetwise MBA ™ program now being taught in 42 cities around the country.


Daughter Honors Parents with 69 Roses Foundation

When Joyce Rosen-Friedman’s parents got married in 1941, her father gave her mother a single   rose. “Every single year after that, he added a rose,” Joyce says, recalling how after decades of marriage Sol Rosen’s anniversary offerings filled the family home in Highland Park, Ill., with vases of red roses. “They were so romantic,” she recalls, noting that to this day she has the dried petals from that first flower. After her parents died in 2010, Joyce and her three brothers inherited a charitable fund established by their parents as a way for them to continue the family tradition of philanthropy.

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The Charitable Remainder Unitrust: One Family’s Story

When they were doing their estate planning in the early 1980s, the late Lawrence and Elisabeth Damon had a couple of key goals. They wanted to make it financially possible for their three grown sons to own and maintain Tide River, a beloved vacation home on Cape Cod where the family had spent many happy summers, and they wanted to leave a charitable legacy.  So it was fortuitous that their son John was a charitable and estate planner, who advised them to create a Net-Income Charitable Remainder Unitrust, which allows people to obtain an immediate income-tax deduction for assets gifted to the trust while also receiving a tax-favored income stream for themselves or their family members for life or a fixed number of years, with the remainder to be distributed to a favorite charity or charities.

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J. Jill Uses Donor Advised Fund for Charitable Giving

There are two things J. Jill executives understand about the women who buy their apparel: They are philanthropic and “they want to align themselves with a brand that stands for more than just providing clothing,” says Chris Gayton, senior director of brand marketing.  That’s why, for the past 11 years, J. Jill has given away more than $3 million in grants to organizations across the country that help women in need of education, job skills and housing.

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Bernie and Sue Pucker
The Art of Philanthropy

Bernie Pucker shows a visitor into a private room at his Newbury Street art gallery, visibly delighted to be once again among the scores of stunning porcelain vessels painstakingly crafted by the late Brother Thomas Bezanson, a dear friend, renowned ceramicist and Benedictine monk whose works are sold through the gallery.  “The whole notion that the fellowships come out of this is just extraordinary.”  He is referring to the Brother Thomas Fellowships, $15,000 no-strings-attached awards granted every two years to six talented Boston-area artists chosen by a distinguished jury.

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Amalie Kass
Giving the Gift of Fun

Amalie Kass—mother,  grandmother, historian, author, teacher and philanthropist—has done  many interesting things in her life, but few have enchanted her quite like her latest project: the carousel that will open on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway on August 31st.

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Jack Alves
Transforming Venerable Charities into Donor Advised Funds

When Charlestown native John (Jack) Alves returned home from military service in Japan in 1954, he began helping his father administer two charities now known as the Hunt Fund for Children and the Charlestown Benevolent Fund. Over the years, he assumed leadership positions in both organizations, helping to make investment decisions, arranging audits and doing whatever was needed.

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J. Linzee Coolidge
For the Love of Dogs. And Gloucester

A small painting of J. Linzee Coolidge's boyhood dog, a Black Lab named Dusky, hangs in the lobby of the new Christopher Cutler Rich Animal Shelter in Gloucester. It's a modest tribute to the companion who sparked the retired real estate investor's lifelong interest in animals. And it's a recognition of Mr. Coolidge's generosity in making  major gifts to support the construction of the building where Cape Ann Animal Aid can now care for as many as 130 homeless dogs and cats.

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Dean Hara: Advocate Uses Planned Giving Tool to Benefit Gay Rights

Dean Hara is the widower of Congressman Gerry E. Studds. He was a plaintiff in the lawsuit in which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act. And he’s an advisor and contributor to the Boston Foundation’s new Equality Fund, created last year to advance equitable treatment for LGBTQ – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer – people and their families in Greater Boston.

So it is particularly important to him to be able to provide a permanent source of support for the cause so dear to him. He has named the Permanent Fund for Boston as a successor to the Congressman Gerry E. Studds Donor Advised Fund, which he set up to honor his husband shortly after he died suddenly in 2006.

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Alan and Harriet Lewis: World Travelers Use Philanthropy to Help Change the World

In 1985, Alan and Harriet Lewis bought Grand Circle Travel. Alan, a self-made entrepreneur who grew up in some of Boston’s rougher neighborhoods, and Harriet, a special-education teacher, built the company into one of the largest and most successful tour operators in the world.

The tremendous success of Grand Circle has given them the resources to become major philanthropists. Their Grand Circle Foundation has pledged or donated more than $90 million worldwide to support educational programs in the 25 countries that have graciously welcomed them and their clients for many years. They also have a private foundation and a Donor Advised Fund at the Boston Foundation, through which they make numerous grants to nonprofits in the Boston area.

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Small Step, Big Impact: Wellesley Couple Gives IRA to the Permanent Fund for Boston

Robert Cooper and Miriam Leeser, a Wellesley couple who established a Donor Advised Fund at the Boston Foundation in 1997 after selling a startup company, had an “aha” moment one day in 2011. They had attended a Boston Foundation luncheon for donors at which President and CEO Paul Grogan talked about ways of making gifts to the Permanent Fund for Boston.

“The major thing I got from that lunch was that there are a few easy ways – that don’t involve changing your will – to name the Permanent Fund as a beneficiary of your IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts) and other funds,” recalls Miriam, an engineering professor at Northeastern University.

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