Dawn Franks closed a chapter in a 33-year career of working with nonprofits, foundations and companies when she left Fourth Partner on December 31, 2013. She is spinning Your Philanthropy, a service developed in 2013 under the Fourth Partner umbrella, into a private philanthropic consulting firm. Here are the answers to two questions often asked of her during the last several months.
When the winds of change began blowing for me this year I heard the same two questions over and over: “Is this what you want to do?”and “Do you love doing this work?” My first answers were vague. The winds started like a soft breeze, a signal that change was coming, but I had time to think about my answers.
The winds picked up speed quickly in the last several months of 2013. As I started seriously planning what would be next, I kept getting asked the questions. And my answers became more focused.
Question 1: Is this what you want to do?
Answer: I spent seven years learning a great deal about family foundation management. I have worked with families across three generations and have read hundreds of grant applications. I delivered good news and bad to organizations hoping for funding. I coached organizations to write better grants to help people make more informed decisions. In 2013, I worked with existing foundations and a brand-new foundation beginning its grant-making and learning how to establish its own goals and identity.
I have also worked with companies from very different industries either creating their own giving programs or simply looking for ways to improve the existing one.
I also spent time with families having discussions with the next generation about resources, wealth, philanthropy, family goals and expectations. I helped families create their own mission statements.
Working with families, individuals and companies to develop philanthropy is an honor, rewarding, challenging and often just fun. Yes, this is what I want to continue to do.
Question 2: Do you love doing this work?
Answer: Steve Jobs said it this way, “The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” I believe I have found it. Philanthropic advising can be easy or hard. It is always challenging. Families change. Companies change. People change. Yes, I love this work.
I believe this is great work. I believe in Your Philanthropy.
Stay tuned. I’ll be in touch soon.