I just listened to a great NPR story about philanthropy that may have inspired my next Armstrong McGuire column:
Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, all names you'd expect to see on the Philanthropy 50. That's the Chronicle of Philanthropy's list of the past year's 50 most generous donors. But the list, which was released this week, also includes some names you've probably never heard of, including this one at number 50: Millicent Atkins. Atkins died in 2012 and left a $37 million estate to three beneficiaries, including the University of Minnesota's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. When university officials learned of the gift, they were stunned. They had no clue who Millicent Atkins was or what inspired her generosity.
The lesson in a nutshell: Nonprofits can be short sighted if they only go after the "usual suspects" in their communities. There are many generous individuals waiting to connect to a cause.