The Bren and Melvin Simon Foundation Donates New Aspen Institute Pavilion in Madeline Albright’s Honor to Foster Open-Minded Dialogue on Today’s Pressing Issues

Rendering of the new pavilion and terrace at the Aspen Meadows Reception Center, Aspen Meadows Resort, Aspen, Colorado.

Rendering of the new pavilion and terrace at the Aspen Meadows Reception Center, Aspen Meadows Resort, Aspen, Colorado.

I have long admired the Aspen Institute for its deep-rooted history as a thought-provoking organization dedicated to improving the world. The organization and its scholars foster open-minded dialogue and as such, I wanted to help create a meeting place for discussion on challenges facing our nation and the world.

That is why the Bren and Melvin Simon Foundation is sponsoring the development of a new pavilion and terrace located at the Institute’s location in Aspen, Colorado.

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Giving Back to Our Environment

The act and idea of giving can be thought of in a variety of ways. You give a gift to someone when it’s their birthday. Or you make a donation to your religious organization. Or you spend a few hours every Saturday at the local animal shelter. Being a giver in your community is different for different people. However, have you ever thought about giving back to the environment you live in? Developing a lifestyle of being environmentally conscious can be a gift not only to yourself and your neighbors, but for generations to come. [Read more…]

Why I Love to Volunteer – and You Should, Too!

Some times when we think of philanthropy, our minds immediately jump to big fundraising dinners or the cutting of ribbons at unveiling ceremonies. Big donations. Big commitments. However, making a difference in your community doesn’t always mean writing a check; instead it can be fulfilling our roles as neighbors through the donation of our time and compassion. [Read more…]

Is There A Difference Between Charity and Philanthropy?

When talking about making a donation, either of time, money, or items like clothing or food, we often use the words charity and philanthropy interchangeably. We may say “Susan performed such an act of charity when she gave 10 winter coats to her local shelter,” or one may describe a friend as having a philanthropic nature. While both words do refer to the act of giving, there are some important distinctions to be made between the two.

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Engaging Young Adults through Creative Fundraisers

I recently learned about a video game marathon that raised $1.5 million for a cancer foundation in six days. That’s roughly $9,000 every hour of 165 hours.

This feat is impressive not only because of how much they raised in a short amount of time, but because the fundraiser engaged a unique niche of young adults worldwide to participate and donate.

The group, Games Done Quick, partnered with the Prevent Cancer Foundation and brought nearly 1,000 video game fans from around the globe to Washington, DC in January to participate in a favorite past time with the goal of raising money for the cancer foundation.

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Leaving the World Better Than We Found It

“Try to leave this world a little better than you found it.” Robert Baden-Powell, Founder, Boy Scouts Association

We all experience times that specifically touch our hearts and evoke a certain level of empathy and concern for our fellow human. Some are particularly disheartened by the thought of animals without homes, many experience heartache when they pass a homeless person on the street, and others find a special kind of sympathy for children undergoing medical treatments at such a young age. Personal experiences in our lives often draw us close to a specific philanthropic cause and give us a unique drive to improve the circumstances of others.

Even though we have such strong emotional responses to the needs of others, finding ways to help remedy situations, especially the suffering of others can be challenging to say the least. We all can identify and sympathize with these problems we encounter but need to take the extra step toward resolving the issue and finding a path forward.

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What motivates individuals to donate and what doesn’t?

We see it at the end of every year. Pictures of children living in abject poverty. Heart wrenching stories of mothers desperately trying to help their families. But according to an article recently published by the Wall Street Journal, researchers are finding that the emotional appeal isn’t as effective as others to inspire people to donate.

Publicizing contributions from well-known donors.

Research showed that listing the name of a recognized and respectable foundation that gave matching funds improved chances of individuals donating by 22 percent. It also served as a quality check for people who often do not have time to research nonprofits they would like to donate to.

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