November 1, 2017
The Philanthropic Trends Digest
A Publication of Lawson Associates, Inc.
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Corporate Officers:



Douglas M. Lawson, Ph.D.
Dallas, TX

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Pam Carpenter

Pam Carpenter

Chief Operating Officer

Dallas, TX 




Senior Associates: 

Ben Casey

J. Ben Casey 

Dallas, TX

  Edward M. Ridout
Roanoke, VA and
Washington, DC  540.797.9966

Featured Associates:

Rod Brown 2
 Rod Brown

Dallas, TX  



  Dr. Raymond A. Craig
Lake Wylie, SC 

  Steve Duffy
Lincoln, NM 

 Jane Jordan

Jacksonville, FL 
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Dear Friend:

How will Big Data and Cognitive Computing impact philanthropy?

You will find the answer in my son, David's, new book Big Good: Philanthropy in the Age of Big Data & Cognitive Computing.  The book is based on David's decades of experience bringing technology and data to our field (including the wealth screening company, P!N), and his work creating applications using IBM Watson of Jeopardy! fame. 

David wrote the book to encourage us to embrace this transformative technology rather than fear it.  He made the technical aspects approachable for non-techies like me, and more importantly, focused on how to use it both for fundraising and mission work.

If you have been looking for a way to make sense of all the bewildering stories of artificial intelligence and machine learning, then this book is for you.  You will find many examples of real-world applications across every sector of philanthropy.  There is also a chapter addressing how grant makers can turn proposals and impact reports into actionable insights alerting us to new challenges, and new solutions.

As for whether you will keep your job, David strikes a hopeful note, pointing out we rarely can see what we will gain in a time of transition, especially when it is so much easier to lament what may be lost.  He highlights the reality that artificial intelligence is really more augmented intelligence, positioning the technology to enable us to do more Big Good. 


Douglas M. Lawson, Ph.D.
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"We must not merely will our neighbors good but actually work to bring it about." - - Thomas Aquinas
J.C.C. MANHATTAN GETS $20 MILLION GIFT AND JENNY HOLZER ARTWORK - - The J.C.C. Manhattan, on Amsterdam Avenue at 76th Street, will be renamed the Marlene Meyerson J.C.C. in honor of a $20 million gift from the Meyerson Family Foundation.  The gift is believed to be one of the largest donations ever made to a Jewish Community Center in the United States.  The foundation made the donation in the name of Marlene Meyerson, a philanthropist who died earlier this year.   In addition, they also commissioned a specific artwork at the site for the J.C.C. by Jenny Holzer.  To create the installation, the J.C.C. will ask its members over the next several months to share their own words or quotes by others that address the question:  "What does community mean?" Ms. Holzer will choose a handful of these to chisel onto marble benches and stone plaques throughout the building.  Ms. Meyerson's daughter, Marti, has supported the J.C.C. for more than 20 years as a founder, board chairwoman and as an active member.   "This gift enables us to secure our foundation," said Joy Levitt, the J.C.C.'s executive director.  "We're going to begin now to talk with our community about what their dreams are for the next 15 years." - - Robin Pogrebin, The New York Times, October 26, 2017.  Read more. 
LUNCHEON FEATURING JAMIE LEE CURTIS HAS RAISED $1.6 MILLION TO FIGHT BREAST CANCER - - The annual luncheon themed on Celebrating Women featuring Jamie Lee Curtis as a guest speaker has grossed $1.6 million and counting for the Baylor Health Care System Foundation in Dallas, Texas.  Chairman,
Tucker Enthoven, lead the event with help from Underwriting Chair, Ola Fojtasek, and Honorary Chairs, Peggy & Dr. Leonard Riggs, Jr.  The benefit has raised more than $30 million to combat breast cancer since the year 2000, with Tom Thumb serving as Presenting Sponsor for the 13th consecutive year.  Donors included a variety of the Dallas affluent, family foundations, corporations and The Dallas Morning News in a continued effort to fund the ongoing battle against the prevalent disease. - - Holly Haber, The Dallas Morning News, October 25, 2017.  Read more. 

THE BEST RESEARCH AVAILABLE FOR FUNDRAISERS - - Fundraisers are constantly searching for an edge that will help them raise more money from their current donors, and spur new ones to give. The field has become increasingly sophisticated in recent years, and there is much to learn about human behavior that can help fundraisers improve results. Recent studies have shown when it's best to approach donors for follow-up donations, how to develop strategies to tap into a donor's social network online, and ways to bring up the delicate subject of making a bequest to charity after a donor dies. Other studies offer valuable insights that can help development individuals improve their tactics. Just a few findings The Chronicle of Philanthropy has gleaned are as follows:
  • Donors sometimes withhold gifts to highly rated, well-run organizations because they feel those groups can do more with less.
  • When asking for a bequest, it's good to talk about life, not death.
  • Millionaires have been shown to be more generous when their gift is pure charity and they don't stand to benefit.
  • Fundraisers may benefit from mentioning a modest previous donation early in the solicitation process.
  • Donors who raise money from friends online often generate more gifts through smaller networks because the peer connections may be deeper.
  • Donor recognition doesn't need to be prominent to work, and might consist of something as simple as a link on a website.
  • Dormant donors can be revived by injecting competition into giving.
New & Analysis, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, October 26, 2017.
Read more.
$12 MILLION GIFT TO FUND BOLD RESEARCH INTO KIDS' DISEASES - - Scientists in Dallas are hoping a $12 million gift
from the Moody Foundation will help them take "big risks" with research and achieve big rewards in understanding pediatric diseases. A Galveston-based philanthropic organization announced that the Children's Medical Center Research Institute is its latest recipient of a major financial contribution. The award includes an immediate $5 million to create a new faculty scholar endowment and a pledge of $700,000 a year for at least a decade to support the institute's research initiatives.  To scientists such as Dr. Ralph  
Deberardinis, who focuses on the link between metabolism and metastatic cancers, that means the ability to take riskier bets with research.  "A lot of creative ideas never end up being relevant to human disease. But if we don't test those ideas, we will never have transformative findings," explained Deberardinis. He will be the first to hold the newly created title of Robert L. Moody Sr. Faculty Scholar. It's difficult to get grants to do that kind of research now, he said. "This money can fund the crucial, initial incubating stage of an idea that ultimately could become transformative." Children's Health established the research institute in 2011 in a joint venture with UT Southwestern Medical Center. - - Sabriya Rice, The Dallas Morning News, October 25, 2017.  Read more. 

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