What is a Philanthropy Summit? - Lodinews.com: Marty 'n' Rich

What is a Philanthropy Summit?

By Marty Weybret/News-Sentinel Publisher | Posted: Thursday, November 13, 2014 4:40 pm

The Fourth Annual Philanthropy Summit at Hutchins Street Square was a day about making Lodi and San Joaquin County better places through giving.

Think about this: In the next 41 years, wealth totaling $41 trillion will pass from Americans living today to someone else. It could pass to those people's children; it could pass to the government in the form of taxes; or it could go to "public benefit organizations," another expression for charities and non-profits.

A trillion a year is enough money to fund the charitable care at 130,000 hospitals like Lodi Memorial, to build 100,000 churches like St. Bernard's in Tracy or operate nearly 2 million family shelter programs like Lodi House.

The summit involved about 300 people with a bewildering array of roles — donors, non-profit executives, volunteer board members, fund raising experts and consultants to wealthy people such as financial advisors and lawyers.

Pete and Alexandra Ottessen of Stockton were honored as Outstanding Philanthropists of the year and United Way of San Joaquin County was named Outstanding Philanthropic Organization.

Annette Murdaca of Lodi joined Phyllis Grupe of Stockton and Tony and Gloria Souza of Tracy to share their experiences and advice on giving and successfully appealing to donors. Murdaca played key roles in starting up Lodi House and Hope Harbor Salvation Army shelter on South School Street. The Souzas helped build a new St. Bernard's Catholic Church and raise money for hospital medical equipment in Tracy. 

There were specialized sessions on tax law and ways charities can appeal to donors.

On that critical topic, pitching a gift to charity, there was an interesting consensus: Don't talk about what the organization needs. Instead, use videos, media and personal appeals to tell the story of who and how a charity helps.

And in case anyone thought giving is only for the rich, keynote speaker Kay Sprinkel Grace, a fund raising consultant, made this surprising point: For all the gifts by wealthy people in America, it is the poor who give the greatest percentage of their income to charity.