If I could be queen of a certain land, it would be the land of Intentional. We would welcome all who love the exploration of ideas to the point of purpose, to be closely followed by a plan. My preparation to be queen of Intentional started at an early age.
Moving often as my air force dad was transferred from base to base, I learned how to pack. I learned to organize my toys and other essential items in boxes to be immediately opened upon arrival, bringing comfort in strange new places. I have further refined that skill to the most items possible in a small suitcase.
In school I learned to plan afternoons and evenings so that homework was done early leaving more time to read from the stack of books I kept close. Such plans were made on the walk home or the long bus ride which also allowed time to do some of the homework.
After arriving as a newly minted Executive Director to a fledgling nonprofit I quickly discovered the need to focus on fundraising and grant writing. With no experience to draw from I made plans to learn how and then plans for action. It turned out that I had a knack for grant writing, probably because it required planning.
Now, deeply involved in philanthropy and working with foundations and donors I have met many citizens of Intentional. Ideas and plans abound, but not all are equally created.
The legs of philanthropy are complex today, not just four straight legs on a simple stool. They often resemble the Chippendale corner chair with Acanthus leaves and ball and claw feet. There is ample detail in which to get lost.
Private foundations can spend a great deal of time focused on the details of giving and lose sight of the why. For that reason, Isa Catto of the Colorado-based Catto Shaw Foundation wants us to spend more time listening and learning. Her recipe boils down to give and give more, foster connections, simplify, invest wisely, question privilege, and volunteer.
Catto wants us to look more like the iconic Capisco chair with ergonomic, intuitive design elements. Boiled down, simple.
The challenge in the land of Intentional is to pare down to the essential and stay focused on the why of giving.
Check out three of my blogs on exploring why….
Can simple and purposeful hold hands? Yes, but it requires a constant review and thoughtful consideration of our processes, reports, meetings and phone calls. Why does Catto encourage us to volunteer?
I think it is one way to see giving and grant-making through the eyes of the receiver. At least as important is Catto’s encouragement to spend more time listening and learning.
Join me in the land of Intentional, be on purpose to listen, learn, volunteer, and simplify the way we give.
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