A Donor Retreat

Today I had the pleasure of co-hosting a day-long gathering of incredible women donors. The program was Entitled “Advancing Your Philanthropy: A Retreat for Women who want to Change the World.” My fellow hostesses were the completely fabulous Barbara Dopkin, the articulate Helen Lakellyhunt, and the visionary Chris Grumm, CEO of the Womens Funding Network.

Why did we organize such a gathering and why in collaboration with the Women’s Funding Network (WFN)? First, we believe in the collective power of women working together to create a more just an equitable world. As philanthropists we know that our learning is a continuous process, and by gathering to share stories, insights, and ideas, great outcomes will follow. It is about assisting each other to be strategic in the giving of our time treasure and talent. At a time when all we seem to be able and talk about and read about is the downside of leverage, here is an example of the power of it. The framework was provided by the WFN because of who they are and what they know. They are a global network of over 120 Women’s Funds ( grant making organizations ) that have been working for decades to improve the lives of women and girls, and thereby families and communities. “As we know from long and indisputable experience, investing in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity and sustained economic growth.” United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

I invite you to learn more about the Women’s Funding Network and the Women Moving Millions Campaign and see the possibility for positive change.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

A word about the markets. My good ole trader handbook would say that the fact the equity markets traded down today is not a good sign. In theory there was good news, Congress passed the rescue bill, yet the market traded down. What the market was saying by trading down is “big deal” it does not really matter right now. The economic news that was reported this week was nothing short of disastrous. I had to read the auto sales numbers twice as I could not believe my eyes. Year over year sales were down north or 30% for most dealers, Unemployment was us, confidence was down…. You get the picture.

Some would say we are getting close to a ‘bottom’ but I would have to say, sadly, no. The worst news is not behind us. We are still in the eye of the hurricane and the storm is not going to pass quickly. The problems in the credit markets and the banking system more generally are massive and global. That does that mean we cannot have up days for the markets, we will, but as far as suggesting that we have changed fundamental direction, no. The value of global equities versus global credit product continues to be massively dislocated. That is the piece of a longer story which you can expect this week.

A word about the election. As you know if you have been reading this BLOG I do not touch on this subject, really at all, but I am called to write something now. Way back when the current administration began to slowly recognize that this country has a debt problem, a credit addiction in fact, they talked about adding resources to financial education. In the debate yesterday between Govenor Palin and Senator Biden not once did either candidate bring this us up. Though Palin did talk a little about personal accountability when asked what caused this crisis she looked right in the camera and said, “Damn right it was predatory lending.” Yes predatory lending was part of the problem, but it was so far from the problem. Both candidates had such an opportunity to talk to America about this issue and did not. Deeply disappointing.

I believe that if we, as a nation, taught our children about money, helped them to develop money skills including how to buy, spend, and give thoughtfully and responsibly, we would be in much LESS of a mess. For a great start with your children, this book is great. Raising Financially Fit Kids.

Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing this BLOG with your friends.

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