The month of March, we are celebrating Women’s History Month. That means we are looking at women’s initiatives through both historic and modern lenses. Week 1 was disparities in pay: where we started and how we can fill the gap. We are reminded of several things:
that women earn on average 82 cents for every dollar her male counterpart makes
Black women make 58% on the dollar nationally, but only 43.2% on the dollar in the state of Louisiana
19.8% of women in Louisiana live in poverty
and most dishearteningly, the disparity widens as women age.
Given these stats, the obvious question is “are women always and only recipients of charitable acts?” The answer is “no”. And that is the really interesting part! In point of fact, women have been philanthropists as long as they have had access to money. Does the money have to be hers? Also, no! In years gone by, women were behind the scenes volunteering and encouraging giving, while the men were the face of the giver. The Boston Foundation recently posted women make up 47% of the US top wealth holders and give a greater percentage of their wealth to charity. It is important to note that philanthropy is defined as “charitable acts or other good works that help others or society as a whole”. This is distinguished from charity that “is focused on providing immediate relief”. This difference in the way women give suggests that women have a clear understanding of what it means to build community and not just react to the crisis at hand. So why then is philanthropy dominated by white and male leadership? Well, that is part of the conversation we will be having on this Friday. Our featured speakers are:
Dr. Froswá Booker-Drew – Author. Speaker. Thought Leader. Consultant. Co-Founder, HERitage Giving Circle
Donna Saurage – Manager of CCC Holdings, 2019 Influential Woman in Business, Board Member, Philanthropist
Pam Wall – Former grant writer and member of the Mary Bird Perkins Development Team. Current conscious advocate and global citizen.
Enlight, Unite, & Ignite!
Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew: I live in, I'll say Dallas, Texas, because people are familiar with Dallas. I actually live in a city called Uli, which my daughter says it should be named useless. Because she's like, why is it this little bitty city outside of Dallas? And nevertheless, I am a consultant. I work with a number of philanthropic organizations in the Dallas area and work with some national organizations around leadership development. So I do a couple of things. It's a leadership development trainings and putting together curriculums and facilitating those conversations. Even a group with C D A, which is the Christian Community Development Association, I do a women of color leadership circle, but also help organizations again, think about their philanthropic strategies for communities of color as well as their community engagement strategies. Wrote a book. Casey, I keep saying, I need to send him a check. Pepper is representing and was blessed to be at the New Orleans Book Festival last week. So again, glad to be here with you all today.
Donna Saurage: Hi there, I'm, this is my first time with you. I'm delighted to be invited. I'm with Community Coffee Company and I'm a philanthropist and I've loved working in the community, in the nonprofit world. I like to talk about women. I like to talk about philanthropy, fundraising, governance, building, strong nonprofit boards, and that's pretty much how I've spent my lifetime. I love to talk about it. I don't know that I know that much about it, but I'll let you know what I do know. I see some of my mentors on here. I see Jan Ross and Danielle and I know there are lots more here. Daniel Mack, who is if you want to talk about fundraising, that's the girl that knows how to do it.
Pam Wall: I've idolized Donna Saurage for so long and we have crossed paths so many times around, actually more than often than not nonprofit excellence. So, I'm somewhat driven. I have worked I'm in my seventies, I've been around a really long time. I got to start college when everybody was burning bras. So, I have a perspective. I grew up in North Baton Rouge in a family of 10 eight kids, and we had a lot of jobs. We lived in a working poor neighborhood and my father insisted his six daughters, not so much his two sons, but his six daughters did not bring anything but a's home on their report card. Hi, my family. For my family education was very important and I do believe that education is what we need for a lot of kids in poverty, which is an overarching trend here about poverty. Education, as they say, is the answer to a lot of that. But I spent four years at LSU thinking that people were going to find out I really wasn't all that smart because I grew up in North Baton Rouge, on the wrong side of the. And I had always heard those schools were not really good. I have to say, I had superb education, especially in English. And I've worked for over 40 years, always in public and private nonprofits. And I am, am a person who didn't start off striking my own path, but taking the path that people offered me. Because as a young woman of my generation, I was a people pleaser. And so, when someone says, come start an adult literacy program, I went okay, if that's what you need. And I started writing grants just because I didn't know, I really didn't know anything about it. I didn't know I couldn't do it. I had just gotten out of graduate school. and so my writing skills were honed, I guess I would say as someone in their thirties, early thirties. And I won these grants. There was no, I wasn't paid. It was just, what I learned was, and this is important working when you're a Phil, I learned that you can impact things that you may not have a powerful name you don't have a big economic impact, but you can have an impact on philanthropy by, if there's a program that needs to be done, go find the money. Get the money, and ask somebody go pick somebody to work with this program that's already doing it. So, I started philanthropy first and all of these young influencers on these calls anybody can be a philanthropist, pretty much. And I know Donna I know that's the message, but the way I started was not thinking about philanthropy, but I was a volunteer for the symphony. Different, different nonprofits, and I couldn't write a big check, but I always worked on the fundraisers. This is how you can start, put your toe in the water. You buy tickets, and you go to the fundraisers. So, if you start off supporting the fundraisers, because it's, it blends your philanthropy life and your social life. So, you put a group together, everybody buys a ticket, and you go to the big annual fundraisers. I started writing grants and I'm going to move on and let you all determine what you really want to know, but I just started writing grants just to make my program. Worked better than I was working with. And I worked in the governor's office, I worked at the Department of Ed, I worked in juvenile justice. I got nobody liked to write grants, so I would like to, I would do it. So, 26 million for re renovating schools. $18 to do, 18 million to do different juvenile justice reform. So, you just have to figure out what, where your talents and passion lie in, in supporting the nonprofits. John Davies told me this one thing and then I'm going to shut up. One thing. Early on when he first moved to Baton Rouge, and he was the CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, at that point, BRAF was funding all the grants, a lot of the competitive grants, not all of 'em, but a good bit in Baton Rouge, and this was decades. and he said the quality of life in any community is determined by the nonprofit sector and that is truly true. And Baton Rouge I think would be in such worse condition if we didn't have all the people like are on this call, who spend every day trying to make Baton Rouge better. And I learned a lot from my six years at. Mary Bird Perkins, because they plopped me in the development office where everybody was raising money all the time. And I learned a lot there that I've been able to share now with grant clients. I have what is a case for support? They don't necessarily have one. Anyway, I'm shutting up. Thank you so much for inviting me.
Pepper Roussel: There are so many things that I want to ask about not the least of which since we've got a Texas connection to the fair. When did they start frying honey? We will come back to that. But no, that is a question for the day. Important to me as we talk about philanthropy through Women's History Month is. H women have not been at the forefront of philanthropy. And this is a conversation that I started having with Donna Saurage, and I want to pick that up now and then move to Francois so that she can talk about Dr. Booker Drew can talk about her intersection into not just the narrative of philanthropy, but also how do we look at it through multiple lenses as she might happen to do in her book. Donna, help me. Where women been in philanthropy all this time?
Donna Saurage: Actually if we really go back and think about it, throughout history, women have been involved in philanthropic, the philanthropic spirit. They've started hospitals. But if you think about time, talent, and treasure, okay. women with their time and their talent have been involved in the philanthropic community. Maybe it wouldn't call that because it wasn't the big dollars, but I think what we're seeing now women more and more are the driving force of philanthropic dollars because they're living longer than their husbands. They're maybe able in later years to accumulate enough wealth to be able to give more, but they've always, I think, been giving their time and their talent and what little treasurers buying tickets as she said. Just real quick, I think women have the heart to give. We're caring, we're giving, and I call it what motivates us to give, and I call it the bcs. We want to create something and it's often in response to a human need. We see that we want to change the world. We really do with our time, our talent, or the treasure. We really want to make change. That's why you all are here today. We really want to connect with our communities and with a cause or an institution, or an organization are a coalition with a group. We, and again, we love to collaborate. There's that big sea again, and that's what you all are doing. So, I think women fit right into that. We like to commit to a cause that we really have a passion for, and I strongly believe this. And then we too, like to celebrate our accomplishments. I think everyone likes to celebrate when things really go well. I believe women have been philanthropists long before we were called philanthropists. We think, I think in most people's minds, philanthropists have big dollars. They're other ones that spend the big dollars. But I think women more and more, even if they're maybe just a part of a giving circle a giving circle, where they're just doing a little bit with other people to make this difference. You are a philanthropist. You're making a difference in this world, in this community, in this cause. I think the big thing that women and all people, men too, I'm going to put you in there. Somehow, we need to match our passions with an organization or a group or a coalition. and I think when we match our, if we have a passion for the mission, we're in a hundred percent and we're going to do everything that we can. So, I think that women are terrific philanthropists. Go for it. I don't know what else you want to, you want to hear from me, but I do have to, I was talking to Casey earlier. I know all the nonprofits have boards of directors. Some of you have development some to raise money, and many of you have heard my talk that I've given many times says, give, get, or get off the board. as Casey said, never ask anybody to get off but basically you need to give, if you're on a board, if you have a passion for the mission, you've got to invest in it. And you need to get, you need to get out there and make the connections to others that the decision makers to give. Or else you really need to get off the board and give someone else an opportunity to serve. Because when you're sitting on a board, you're taking up an important space that maybe could be filled with someone with more passion for your mission. So that's my philosophy of philanthropy and why I am so passionate about working in the nonprofit sector, which I believe is the third leg of the stool. We have public, private, and philanthropy and nonprofit, and that is the three-legged stool that that I believe our community sit on and stand on every day. Now I'll shut up and let some, I want to hear. I want to hear from Dr. Booker Drew.
Pepper Roussel: Dr. Booker Drew, you enter the idea or the concepts of philanthropy, not just as a woman, but a woman of color. So, help us understand what does this, what does philanthropy look like in your community as it differs from any other?
Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew: I started out on the nonprofit side and was blessed to move into being a philanthropist during my work at the state fair. And one of the things that I noticed was in the sector, there were so few people of color who actually had responsibilities for portfolios that could really make decisions around where money went. I was alarmed because the people that were so proximate to the experiences and community were not the ones that were making decisions about where funding went, and it was this assumption that they didn't know what they needed. And I would talk to people in community and they knew exactly what they needed. I'll never forget we were having a meeting with a group of community leaders around technology in South Dallas. It's an area that has been really neglected by the city. And I remember thinking, oh, this is such a great idea. I'm going to bring this telecommunications company to the table and this is what this community needs. And people started getting on their phones and I was like, they never do this. What's going on? They were looking at research to prove how this was going to be damaging, what was being proposed. And I remember going to the council person and going this is such a good idea. And he said to me, if you saw what they were proposing in North Dallas, it doesn't look the same as what they're proposing in South Dallas. And North Dallas is more fluent. And so, it was one of those things that in my desire to be helpful, I was going to be harmful. And I think sometimes we don't recognize the importance of including people in the decision making of philanthropy and where dollars go because they're the ones that are most impacted by it. And I saw it even further when we started looking at data that 0.6% of all funding in this country goes to organizations led by women, black women. and when you started adding other groups of color, it, the numbers don't go up much more, but 0.6%, which is why me and it's a wonderful friend of mine, Aquila Wallace, came to me and a dear friend Dr. Halima Francis, who is at Tulane, and we started Heritage Giving Circle. And we started it because we saw these black women led nonprofits not receiving funds and data proved that. And since 2017, we've been able to raise over a hundred thousand dollars of our own money to be able to support organizations led by black women. And so, for me it's so how you feel understanding that it is time, talent, treasure, put the volume down on that. Testimony. I don't think we recognize the power of our stories and narratives and how those can also shape policy, but they can also shape the way women see themselves as being philanthropists that my $5, although it may not be millions, my $5 too makes an impact. And to see these women pull their dollars together, and we're talking about other women in nonprofit management, we have folks that were attorneys and had a little bit more resource, but the majority of these women were working in nonprofit management, decided to pull their funds. So, it proved that all of us can be philanthropists. And so, for women of color, it's been very different because there hasn't always been the access. To being able to be at those tables to make decisions. And so, giving circles have been one of those things. The church, when you look at the establishment of benevolence funds, those were created in churches to be able to support needs like funerals and people needing food. Mutual aid societies were established for those very reasons because of being excluded from the opportunity to participate in society. So, in the black community and other communities of color there always have been these initiatives to be able to support and to give. And that was one of the reasons I wanted to write the book, was to be able to demonstrate that we haven't always been on the end of getting help. That even when that was happening, we were still a part of helping in our communities.
Pepper Roussel: It brings us back to something that Pam Wall said earlier is ultimately she moved into writing grants because nobody wanted to do it, right? And so, part of her backstory is really around trying to find money in order to further some sort of initiative, right? Whether that be education for black men, whether that be millions of dollars that she raised for all sorts of things. She says offhandedly as if it's just like 20 bucks you can pull out of your back pocket. But when you moved into these spaces, Pamela writing these grants that nobody else wanted to write, what did you find? Was the environment, were they thankful to have you there because you were the only one who was willing to do it? Or is it the same sort of experience that we might have today where you're recognized for your talent but not necessarily welcome?
Pam Wall: I'll answer that question with this true experience. So, I didn't know what I didn't know. And because my first degree is in education and my next degree was in Louisiana history and politics after I had lived abroad and saw what other people from other countries, how they view us, what they think about us, and how they have childcare and all of that. And we can, I have another thing I want to really talk to you about. I talked to you about in that an article just came out. This month in an economic journal. But aside from that, so as I was getting my graduate degree, there was almost, there were almost no courses in graduate school around Louisiana, history of politics after you did the first three or four. So, a lot of things that I did were like independent studies. So, I, because education was my first degree and part of my passion, I was doing a research thing on trends in education reform, because that was when education reform was really big in the late eighties. That became a word like resilience now. There are these words that just come up and you hear them everywhere. And so, I learned about a program that Governor Lamar Alexander was doing in Tennessee, and I also read a similar program in an editorial in the newspaper. I'm a Dinosaur. I read the newspaper every day and it was a project. That was funded in Cabrini Green Housing Project in Chicago, in which college age students, college students in education would get three hours credit for going in Cabrini Green and working with kids after school. And actually that, that one demonstration project led to the National Service Corps. But what did I know? Let me tell you how naive I was. I thought, I bet there are people at the College of Education that don't know about this. So, I called the College of Education and see, to see if I could get an appointment with the dean now, really naive, right? And I got one. And so, I went in and I told him about this project. He said it was like, he was saying, honey, this is Louisiana. He said, we don't have any money here. That'd be fine, but we don't have the money to do things like that. And I thought, and I said what if I got you the money? Would you do it? And he said we can't pay you. I said, no, I didn't ask for payment. I said, I think we need it here. What if I got the money? Because the very first grant that came out around this genre of grants, was from the US Department of Education, $50,000 for grants to implement a program that combined college students with needy children. And I also went, and Sally Clawson was the was head of the higher ed system. She got me an appointment also with Dr. Spice at Southern. And I talked them both into letting me write 'em a grant for them. Because again, I didn't know what I didn't know. And so I wrote two. Southern got theirs and LSU got a notice saying, please reapply, we have more money. So, we reapplied. LSU and Southern both got a grant and that was really again, the beginning of what we see now as AmeriCorps and those kinds of things. So let me just say the Dean was not real excited about having me do a grant for free and only Because there was one professor there who thought this was really nifty and if he could get $50,000 and the $50,000 helped pay for extra tutoring materials, probably paid for some of his time. But a lot of the grants that I wrote initially, again, Louisiana had such compelling data. There were the children's coalition at that time was getting organized and there was a grant for doing grassroots work in Eden Park. And so, I wrote that grant, they were only giving three in the country. Again, I didn't know it, I didn't know but we have great data. I'm a data hound, so I want to find the data and justify what I'm asking for because it's data driven. And we got o one of only three grants in the United States and the people at I think it was the, maybe the health and child welfare agency within the federal government. And they called us and said, we've been trying for years to fund a grant in Louisiana, and we are so glad that we get to do one. The sad thing is that the grants come and go and things don't change as much as. that they would. Very true. And that's a different question. But you've got me thinking about a whole lot of stuff.
Pepper Roussel: Where we'd started was really around this idea of women in the, in these spaces, in these philanthropic spaces. And my favorite food friend, Jan Ross, was the one who told me, oh, you've got to talk to Donna Saurage because I had a really super hard time finding women who were leading foundations, who, women who are in charge of. Organizations that are doing this work. But whenever I do go to parties and Obama tickets and amount of fundraiser, all I see are women. Donna Saurage if you would not mind sharing with us similar to Pam's story of, I'm, you just didn't know what I didn't know. You did many years of philanthropy with your husband, and you continued to do this work in the same way just once he passed on, God rest him. Help us understand what does that look like for a woman to move from a co-space into a leading space?
Donna Saurage: I think it's very easy, actually, because it all started our philanthropy many years ago. He had a passion about and what I had a passion about. And so we were each doing, sometimes we shared the same passion for the same mission, but we supported each other and to support what the other one wanted. I learned a lot from him and I continue to support many of the things that he was passionate about. So it's been a very easy transition, really, of no issues at all. And I keep using the word philanthropist because I think that everyone on this call today is a philanthropist for one thing you're giving of your time and your call that makes you a philanthropist. If I can take just one minute to read. I love poetry and I've been honored with many awards like the Louisiana Legends. Each time I, in my acceptance speech, I like to use some poetry. It's usually from a song, but this is this is, I don't know where this came from. This came from the depths of my computer as I was looking up the word philanthropy. What have I written on this? Somewhere I got this little poem. I didn't write this. The word for me is philanthropy. I can give my time away, be kind in what I do and say I can give my talent away. Helping and sharing come what may I can give my treasure away. Giving money is okay if you listen to what I say. Philanthropy is there in every way. If you care about the common good, philanthropy is understood. Say it again, say it loud. philanthropy makes me proud.
Pepper Roussel: I think that, yeah, that is beautiful and inspiring. But the women have been working in spaces where we have been chronically, habitually, systematically underpaid, let's just call it what it is. However, we also work in space or also Oh yeah. Look we also work a lot. So, we are caring for ourselves, for our children, for our parents, our communities. We have been doing all sorts of things in order to make the world around us that much better. As I understand it, the definition of philanthropy is that you are giving to community and not just to a single event, like some sort of a crisis reaction. Right? And some of the things that Dr. Booker Drew was saying about the giving circles and being a community and sharing and mutual aid organizations, all of these things make me think that the rise now in women that are giving. In dollars more, right? Comparatively to what we earn than men are giving is something that is not necessarily new, but that we need to be looking at it through a new lens. So, Dr. Booker Drew in your book Empowering Charity, you spend at the end of every section, every chapter, talking about how it is that we should be looking at things through a new lens. Tell me more about the lens that we've been looking through and how we should be looking differently.
Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew: Yeah, I try to make sure in the book that I'm, and give background on the book. I wanted to write something that really challenged the way we see philanthropy. And I divided the book into a section that really looks at data. And much of what we donate to quite often is rooted in stereotypes and not necessarily rooted in data. And we'll look at shows like I often tell people and we think, oh my God, all these young teen women are pregnant. Not to say that teen pregnancy is not an issue, but data is showing that. single mothers now are actually a lot, are over 30 years old. And so, I wanted to be able to disprove these myths that we have about giving, but to also give examples of high net worth donors of color that exist in communities around the US and to be able to show all of these different tools that people can use to better partner in community. I think the lens that we really want to have is a systems lens. I think it's important as leaders to not only look at the immediate needs that we have, but also beginning to look at it from a systems view and beginning to understand how policies and. And certain laws have been created that often create to the issues that we see people struggling with in community. And so how do we make sure that one of the lens that we apply is a systemic lens? And versus just constantly using philanthropy as being a bandaid. Yes, there's immediate need that needs to be solved for, but how do we make sure that we're looking at it from an advocacy standpoint, that we are advocating a, about these policies. Now, I'll give you an example. In Texas, there is a law that once you are released from your incarceration to be able to get a barber's license or any kind of occupational license, you have to wait three years. So, what do you do in the meantime? You're going to get back in a situation if you're not able to get a livable wage job. So yes, it's great to have those programs and it's great for us to be able to make sure that there's immediate support, but at some point we got to start looking at those policies that keep people in these situations. And so, I want people to think about that lens. And even as a leader, there is this author I love Ronald Hy Fit's work around adaptive leadership. And he talks about that we have to be leaders that on the balcony and the dance floor, instead of this 30,000-foot view, which I think philanthropy has also taken for a while, is let's look at a way away and not necessarily be close and proximate to the people that have need and know them and understand their lived experience and stories. But how are we on the dance floor, which allows us to be in the midst of what's going on with people, but also to be on the balcony where we're still close to see it from a different view. Philanthropy requires us to be able to go between all of those. And we can't just allow it to be a space where we're just writing checks. And I wanted to challenge people in the book that your check writing, yes, I want you to do that, but we need more. We need partnership. We need it to be more than Christian tourism, where we go drive by and feed people on Thanksgiving and Christmas when the reality is they're still a hundred the rest of the year. And so, I want to challenge people. Your philanthropy has to go beyond just feeling good and pat yourself on the back and feeling as if you're a great Christian. It requires us to be great all year round.
Pepper Roussel: I just came off mute because I wanted to do that. I didn't grow up with siblings it makes me feel better to say it. This is for all of you. I'm going to guess a question in the chat. I was going to ask you something different, but how do we ensure equity in philanthropy?
Donna Saurage: I wish I could answer that with a magic answer. It all comes again from the heart. I believe that if you're really looking at what is the need, equity's going to naturally happen if you have the right heart and if you're looking at it through the right lens. I have the opportunity to serve as a trustee of the Hug and Angela Nina Wilson Foundation. And I know that everything that we are doing there is equity because it's coming from the heart and from the doing the right thing every time. And I think that I might, I don't know if y'all can hear me or not, because this keeps flashing off and on. I think the storm is here. I think if we all live by the golden rule, if we do what's right, even when no one's looking equity will be there. I think the one thing that we've learned at the Huang, Angelina and Wilson Foundation is that we need to give the opportunity to those nonprofits that maybe are not quite as sophisticated as to how to access the funds. And I think that's one thing the foundation has been very active in and good at, so that there is equity, we have to bring these smaller community-based nonprofits up to the level of understanding what is available to them and where they have an equal opportunity to secure those funds with those who are maybe are more sophisticated and have been added longer. So, I think we just need to keep doing that. Education is the key education of people and nonprofits as to how to access, as Pam said, dollars are out there. The dollars are there, but we need to help folks find those dollars and access them because that's really where the dollars were intended to go.
Pepper Roussel: Before we shift back to Pam Wall Dr. Booker drew, I saw you shaking your head when the question was asked. How do we ensure equity and philanthropy?
Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew: To Donna's point it's making sure that we are not creating barriers in the application process for those that are smaller grassroot nonprofits. When I was at the fair, I really tried to make sure that we weren't asking people for their firstborn, because sometimes the applications can ask people for things that are so unrealistic. And so, I wanted to make sure that those barriers were removed. That doesn't mean that you can't have accountability. I think sometimes people think in, in doing that means it's, there's no accountability and they both can coexist at the same time. I think it's also looking at the board of directors, the boards of foundations make decisions and approve those funds. So, if those boards aren't diverse and you don't have people that understand those experiences, sometimes it might be hard to advocate for something that you're just not aware of. So boards have to be diverse. Staff has to also be diverse and making sure that we're creating work environments that bring in people of color and other marginalized populations to be a part of philanthropy. So I think that the equity piece is something that has to be intentional because if we just leave it to goodwill, Sometimes that doesn't exist. And we see the polarization that is in our society now. So we have to be intentional about making sure that we're bringing individuals to the table. Not just because they're fit necessarily for our culture. I think it's important for us to examine the cultures that we have at our organizations that may exclude people from being able to even fill a part of it. So it's deeper than just saying we want it, we've got to make sure that we're intentional, but we also have metrics that there are goals. Often ask people who come to me about d e work we want to do d e I efforts, and my question is, what are you solving for? If you don't know what the problem is, then you're just creating more programs to be able to say, we're great. What are you solving for? And what is the goal that you ultimately want to change? So equity has to be intentional.
Pepper Roussel: There's another question in the chat. There's a sort of a theme in the chat around larger philanthropic organizations working with and bolstering even supporting the smaller ones, helping guide and lead them. But the question that I think is super interesting, always coming from our dear friend Manny is how do smaller philanthropic organizations understand how and what to say in response to basic and reflective questions in these apps? How can we get to a place that they know what to say what, and even answer in a way that responds to what donors are asking for? How do we get those dollars into their hands.
Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew: I am going to say this, and it was one of the things that I, I forgot to bring up. I think we also have to pay attention to social capital for a lot of our communities. We don't have access to networks. So, Donna and Pam talked about this indirectly by going to these events. It's social capital. That's important. So how do we, and social capital is really about networks, associations, our relationships. When you are in proximity to wealth, then you have an understanding of how wealth operates. When you're not in con community with people at resource, then it's problematic. It's the same thing for our nonprofits when they're not in those. Spaces and they don't have the social capital, then it's hard to know what donors want. I think it's going to be so important not to stack our boards with all these corporate heads. That's, you need some of that, but it's a balance in that. So how do we create these spaces where we're making sure we're bringing these different social economic groups and folks with resource and those who don't. How do we make sure that we're building our social capital of our nonprofits, not only on their boards, but just who they have access to. That's what's going to inform, how do you answer some of these questions? Yes. Capacity building is important. We need those trainings to understand that, but at the core of the work we do as relationships. So how are we ensuring that people have access to these relationships to do their work and know what to say.
Pam Wall: In the eight years that I've retired from Mary Bird Perkins, which truly was God's reward for all the bad jobs I ever had, was that those years I spent at Mary Bird Perkins. But since I retired, I get calls constantly from new nonprofits. So, we have these large, sophisticated nonprofits in town that have a full-time grant writer a, a development. These are, they raise millions of dollars lots in healthcare especially. That's a big business. And then we have a new one every day, a new nonprofit, people who have the passion and the interest. And so people will call me and say, I, I need a grant writer. And so I'll go meet 'em at a coffee shop. And most of the time they'll say we want a hire grant writer. They don't really want a hire grant writer. They want to get a grant writer. And I often tell them after a while I say I could write this grant and take your money, but you're not going to get it. This is what you need to do. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Because like Donna, we need, as a community, high performing nonprofits, and this is the big word that's usually not necessarily on the table, and that is accountability. Because you're spending somebody else's money and they have faith in you that you're going to change the world some way with their money. And a lot of new nonprofits really don't understand. They want to do that work, but they don't understand about things like why should I give money to you and not to somebody else? Because we have a lot of people doing the same work and I see that the Wilson Foundation and maybe even bra there's a trend through funders to say, wait a minute, we need people to get together. So when I worked at the department event and ran all the afterschool programs, people would call all the time cause they wanted to start an afterschool program. My first question was, who else is doing this in your community? How far away are they from your church? Absolute silence. So, there is a lot for people to learn who want to just operate a nonprofit with credibility and sometimes the best thing. I look at the kinds of businesses young men are starting, the entrepreneurs, a lot of it has to do with technology. I look at the businesses that young women are doing things like. Catering food businesses sugar scrubs things that are not going to make as much money starting out as the tech or the consulting businesses say. And so, I think that the, this is a bigger problem than just raising money from grants and donations. I think it's a, an issue of why this is important work and what am I willing to commit first before I go ask other people. But you got to know your data. I'm always pushing for data. You have to understand the need as a nonprofit. And I tell people who say we need to hire grant writer. And I tell 'em, no, wait. You don't want a grant writer. You want a grant winner because lots of people write grants. and there is a formula that works for me and there's a formula that works for most people. But the beginning of that is you have to know all the data about the population in here, in this parish or in the south of Louisiana. You have to know all the information about that population, that your fundraising and your nonprofit hopes to make better. And so, people think the grant and the donation is the first part. No, not at all. And that's where the biggest challenges come to work in the fundraising world, is that you want to help people who are doing the right thing. Front Yard Bikes, this guy with two long braids down to his waist, who believes that he can change people's lives. That they can learn how to put a bike together. And I started working with him the week that I retired from Mary Bird Perkins. But I've continued working for him and he used to tell me what he wanted to do, buy a building or certify kids in mechanics. And inside I would be smiling and nodding my head, but inside my head, I'm rolling my eyes. Let me just say, I do not roll my eyes anymore when Dustin Lafont tells me what he wants to do. And he is not necessarily a high performing nonprofit even after this these years. And one of the reasons is because every time he gets a little money, he spends it on a new program for these kids to keep them in school or to make them job ready when they get out. And there are many good nonprofits, so I don't mean to emphasize him. It's a tough world out there in Baton Rouge for nonprofits that need to raise money. There is a lot of money out there, Donna's, right? But we are all competing over the same dollars. And you probably have something to say about that and I don't know, because somebody's going to get it and somebody's not. But I really try to encourage new nonprofits, instead of wanting to run your own organization and do your own work, go see if you can get a job with one of these good nonprofits that's doing this work. And even if you can't get a job with them, be a volunteer. Tell 'em how passionate you are about this and learn the ins and out of the genre of nonprofit work that you want to do the most before you say, I'm going to form a nonprofit and I need to get a grant anyway.
Donna Saurage: And I think the. Is in something like this. It's in networking. It is in joining a coalition with a similar mission or an area an issue. And join with them and you'll learn from each other. And the stronger nonprofits will be able to teach and bring up the weaker nonprofits. And when you all combine, you can do so much more than just one could do. And so I think this whole idea, this one community, this idea that we work together on issues is what is going to be definitely the future. And I keep talking about the angel and Wilson Foundation, and I see Jan sitting there and Ebony's here. That's what we're trying to do is to work with so many nonprofit to form one that can really make a difference and a long lasting difference. So, let's learn from each other. I've learned from you today just listening to you, so thank you.
Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew: It makes me so proud to see how you all are coming together to do this. I'm originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, and that's where I grew up. And so, to be able to see what's happening in my home state makes me so proud to watch from Dallas. So, thank you all for what you do.
Casey Phillips: First, while that is a great segment because as you've helped bring the work to Dallas, it's coming. We're talking about philanthropy and where it works, how it works. But the other side, the yang to it is there's a darker side to philanthropy, right? And first, a while you write about it, and I've heard you speak on it when philanthropy has intended or unintended consequences of oppression, right? Did you maybe want to lift up a little bit about that? I'm not trying to ruin any good vibes, but it's important to look at all different sides of it and then we can build back into the light.
Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew: I think the unintended outcomes sometimes can be, we have to be careful in thinking that we know what people need. Even as a black woman, the black community is not monolithic and I cannot speak for an entire group of people. And so I think it is very dangerous when we make assumptions and go on stereotypes to then make decisions on how we interact with communities and fund them. So even in our well-intended activities, I think we have to be very careful in making sure that once again, we are bringing the people who have the lived experience to speak into what their needs are instead of assuming, because I've read a book that I understand.
Donna Saurage: You are a hundred percent correct. I absolutely agree with you. If there's one thing an organization or a philanthropist cannot do is said, I want to do this to you. You're thinking for you, that's not going to work. And that's why any, in any issue, we need to listen to those that need to what they really need. So I agree a hundred percent. I'm the government and I'm here to help you. We don't want to be that.
Casey Phillips: Donna, what are your what are your recommendations?
Donna Saurage: I have all these books on philanthropy. I was one of the founders of the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations about 25 years ago, and we started having these wonderful speakers in, at our yearly conferences, which were huge. Hey, sprinkle Grace, a High Impact Philanthropy Claire Gani the Greater Good philanthropy and Smart in Caring, A Donor's Guide to Major Giving by the Livingston's. There's so many wonderful books out there that and the, these are not new books, these are older books, but I, but if you could, I don’t know, can you see all the tabs on 'em? I really go back to them and I read them. Education we just have to continue learning, continuous learning about this, but I think the principles of 15, 20 years ago are still the principles of today.
Pam Wall: I would like to see an understanding so the youth are our future, the violence and the trauma that lot of kids here experience. I personally don't understand why a minimum wage more than $7 and 25 cents an hour is so threatening, because I know lots of adults in housing that work two jobs for 7025 cents an hour. And I think that the business lobbies tell the legislature, oh, that's not anybody but teenagers anyway. No, it's not. But if you want to keep people poor, we're one of only six states that still does $7 and 25 cents an hour for minimum wage. And that wasn't what I was going to talk about. This is what I want to talk about, is that my observation over a long time, I've always worked in education, youth development, things like this is as the nonprofits work so hard, and some of you on this call have heard me say this because I believe this and I believe that we need to do something about it. And that is that most youth development programs, they're too narrow, they're too short. There's a grant or a program, there's a beginning and an end and it's one particular facet of maybe what kids need. So I feel like people in youth development, because again, this is our future they're not, there's not enough understanding that. Usually, the kids that need services need a lot more than one particular kind of nonprofit or one particular grant can do. But we do these programs that are brief, that are shallow, then they're over. Because as a nonprofit, we need to go out to the nonprofits that we might think of as our competitors who provide other types of services to youth, and we need to partner with them so that kids get what my nonprofit has to offer. But when I see they need something else, I pick up the phone and I refer them to one of the other nonprofits that is doing that work. I think that youth development organizations do not do that enough. So that's just my box for today, but I think that we would change a lot of outcomes if we endeavored to work with other nonprofits that do the things that our clients need.
Pepper Roussel: That's actually a really great idea, mainly because there's no competition, right? We could actually provide wraparound services for folks who need them in ways that they need them, as opposed to just giving them what we have, which is not always enough. As you so eloquently mentioned a moment ago. There is one question in the chat. Pam, if you wouldn't mind checking that one out. Where'd it go? I just lost it to Pam. You mentioned a number of healthcare groups. Are they all nonprofit or s. Or some for-profit working to better the community. Through that answer in the chat, Donna left us, I think she stepped away for a second, but this gives us an opportunity. Last call for questions. If there are any questions that we haven't asked and answered, please throw them in the chat before we do start the wrap up and wind down. Otherwise, I want to make sure before we do get too far down the road to say thank you very much ladies, for being here. I am very serious. I would have loved to have just been a fly on the wall to hear your lived experiences and how they compare, especially in the philanthropic spaces. What does it look like for you and how has it changed over time?
Jan Ross: I'm hoping that I can be as eloquent as our speakers today, but just a few thoughts in being in philanthropy for a few years, just a few. There has been evolution a lot of change that has taken place, but if we think of the evolution of humankind, there's been a lot of evolution that has taken place. Men have ruled the world over time. Gradually, when we got into the twenties, thirties and forties, women were gaining more power, more decision making opportunity. Education became a bigger part of our lives. And so when we get into the eighties and nineties, a lot of independence of women became more financially wealthy, but also much more educated, much more in opportunities to make decisions. And so today we are so open to so much more opportunity than ever before, and that goes into philanthropy. Women were behind the scenes, behind the man helping to make those decisions, helping to build that passion of whatever it was. And for that reason, women were behind those monies going into the communities today, women are side by side. That allows many of us and something to strive for. But as the image that was portrayed earlier is being on the dance floor, but also being on the balcony. The balcony is the north star, and if you recognize that, we all start on the dance floor. And, but that is what it takes to build that passion. Where do we want to put our time, our talents and our treasures? That's how we discover that. But if we have the balcony as our north star, we work towards that. Just as women have done for many years and generations. If we come up to an obstacle, we work around it we are resourceful. And the same thing, if you are in in this work in community involvement, you take on that challenge. You work around what those what those barriers are because the North Star is. The ultimate level of being that decision maker, being that community impact leader, whatever that might be. So that's one thing that I really wanted to help to bring attention to because there has been such an evolution in the status of women, and we are so far beyond where, sorry, Donna, to say it this way, but for where you started that there's, you have, you are now at a point because of how things have evolved to be shoulder to shoulder with those decision makers. And not because of your seniority, but because of your passion and that continual drive to gain the experience, gain the passion, and have that that ability to make those decisions and lead causes. Another topic that has been discussed was how to get into a relationship with a philanthropist. The important word there is relationship. And and that is doing the research to learn more about that person, that group of philanthropists or that foundation. What are they looking for? is that in articles, just as in the information that was gained on Donna by being a Louisiana legend, is it on their website? It is putting in the time to do the research to find out who and what that philanthropist is all about. And I'm saying a philanthropist as a funder, but that's also as a board member, as a volunteer in your organization. It is all about relationships and it's very important to put that time in to determine or to discover what that person or that entity is all about. I think that Pam has given very good examples of how that research has paid off for her. And then also Donna has described just from her experiences, how those relationships has worked in order to further develop and allow her to invest in where her passions are. Like I was saying, put in the work and that is how a grassroots organization becomes bigger and better. Putting in the work, investing in yourself, in investing in the relationships that you have and continue to form relationships. Look f look in your network of volunteers, of board members of other nonprofits that can help to guide you, help to mentor you, help to partner with you whatever your needs are. It is using recognizing that those relationships can be very valuable if you use them. On the topic of partnerships, collaborations forming a relationship, forming a partnership with an organization or another executive that you have mutual benefit to together. It is strengthening your efforts, strengthening your knowledge, but also looking at it as a way to build a continuum of services so that each partner in that collaboration can be serving. You're working together to improve the outcomes of that person, that group, that issue, whatever that might be, so that you can go beyond, as Pam was talking about providing services that are effective on the surface to really having a deeper and more having a greater impact on those individuals or that issue. I am going to step off of my soapbox. I just wanted to share those thoughts because there's so many points that are being shared today that are really important and the information that has been shared by our speakers if you take those bits of wisdom and really implement them in the work that you do, you will get so much further and get so much more out of the work that you do to fulfill your passion. So I, I hope that's helpful to you.
Pepper Roussel: I'm super excited about the conversation that we had today, not just because it provides insight into how it is that women have moved through philanthropy and where women have come from at what does it look like in different communities, but also because there's a lot of, as Jan so eloquently put a lot of information around how it is that we can do better. Some of that is in the chat. And I want to bring up, there's a question. So if you are a cybersecurity AI focus group that would like to partner is a question in the chat asking for that information. And since we are at 9 45 thank you very much and if y'all can let us know what's going on this weekend. Hopefully it'll be drier than it is right now. I would love to hear your community announcement.
Casey Phillips: All right folks, it said community announcements. What you got? Oh, there's a really cool, there's a really cool event that's happening in Scotlandville tomorrow at 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the laundromat. And it's called, Wash, dry and screen. It's a health screening event at a laundromat. At the said. Does anybody know exactly what the details on it is? Come off mute and lift it up. But I thought that was pretty cool that at the CVS is doing that.
Pam Wall: I would imagine it's based upon the research that shows the effectiveness of doing screening in a barbershop for the guys. I think it's a companion piece for, usually it's the ladies at the laundromat.