WVRC Meeting of August 19, 2021:
Led by the always gregarious PP and now IPP Chris Gaynor the meeting began with PP Dwight Heikkila leading us in the pledge, PP Marsha Hunt giving the Thought for the Day, “The happiest of people do not have the best of everything, they make the best of everything they have!” with the always prepared PP Maestro Edwin Gauld singing, “Give My Regards to Broadway” in recognition of all the craziness going on in New York right now.
Guests included Sheila Quinn (John O’Keefe’s sister), Cam Anderson, and Rotaractors, Alexandra Carr, Sarah Huwang, and Simran Sangha.
· PP Tom Barron announced in-person meetings at the Luskin Center for WVRC have been
postponed until November 7, 2021 due to the ongoing Covid situation.
· The evening of October 1, 2021 a Fellowship meeting is still scheduled so mark your
calendars and watch for more information to come.
· PP Marsha Hunt WVRC’s Peace Avenue of Service Chair announced a free “Concert for
Peace” which will take place at 2pm on Saturday September 18, 2021 via ZOOM
sponsored by Rotary.
· IPP Chris Gaynor suggests everyone consider taking a trip to the Berkshires in
Massachusetts (just in case you didn’t know where it was) as there is much to see in that beautiful part of the country.
The meeting was then turned over to John O’Keefe to announce the speaker for the meeting, Dr. Susan F. Rice who will be speaking to us about Philanthropy. Dr. Rice has had and continues to have a very successful career. She received her BA from St. Mary’s University in Indiana, her MPA from UCLA, and her ed.Degree from Pepperdine University where she also lectured for five years at the Graduate School of Education & Psychology in its Social Entrepreneurship & Change program. She sits on many Boards including Pepperdine University, UCLA, Greater LA Zoo Association, was a Business Executive for National Security and worked with, Special Olympics International. The next three pages of this newsletter could be just on the accomplishments and good in the world Dr. Rice has done. She is a remarkable woman who has led a very interesting life to-date.
Dr. Rice grew up in Evanston, Illinois not far from where John O’Keefe grew up. They both were raised by parents who taught them the greater good of giving to those in need, a lesson they have carried through with them their whole lives. The meeting took the form of a dialogue between the two:
1) Dr. Rice began by telling us how her Father influenced her on giving back when he bought drink tickets at a fundraiser even though he didn’t drink. He explained it was a way to support a cause. John responded by telling us when he moved to LA he did not know anyone but, one day was contacted by the University of Chicago (his alma mater) Development Office in LA asking him to volunteer. He agreed, got involved, met a lot of people (including his wife-lucky John), and learned about giving back.
2) Dr. Rice reminded all of us that by buying cookies, candies, and raffle tickets, these are all ways of giving back but, it is not just about buying items or giving of your time, it is also about trusting and letting go by giving away your money for someone else to decide how to spend. Dr. Rice proceeded to explain how to train volunteers to ask for money by using TANS – first thank the person, next ask for money, then take the “next steps” depending on the answer to the ask. Dr. Rice explained that a “no” to an ask means “not right now”, “not no, never”. She also told us if a yes is given to the ask, then the “next step” is to ask when will the donation be made; what is the pledge amount; or, should a reminder be sent to confirm the yes and obtain the payment.
3) John talked about Major Gifts. They do not have to be large amounts of money but, you do need to get in front of people to make the ask. Be up front and ask for a specific amount, preferably one higher than what you might need (you do not want to under ask)!! John believes if you get someone to “stretch” to donate, that person becomes very happy/proud of themselves, as does the asker. He quoted Father Bob, “you give until it feels good”!
4) Dr. Rice suggests you offer a call back to someone on the fence or who says no at first. Invite them to an event the non-profit is hosting. If they remain on the fence or say no, ask them why, what about the organization do they like/not like. Dr. Rice also reminded us that if you sit on a Board you are investing in that organization who needs your treasure. It is always good for an organization to say they have 100% giving from their Board members.
5) John admitted it is sometimes hard to get in to see someone to make the ask. He suggests cultivating a relationship by asking the person to volunteer or get involved somewhere in the organization. Money follows the Mission, so be sure the person agrees with the Mission. John also recommends if you have a large portfolio of money being left to your children, you should be teaching them now on how to give back. You learn about giving to those in need, usually from Family. Every year at Christmas John & Patti give their children money to give away in their community. They then talk about their donation at the Christmas dinner table. Now this is a lovely gift.
Mark Rogo advised at birthdays and major holidays, he tells his children to pick a charity and a monetary gift will be made on their behalf. It helps build a family legacy.
Tom Barron wondered about how much research needed to be done before asking someone for money. Dr. Rice advised yes, research needs to be done to determine the interests of the person who you are going to ask. There are websites (of course there are) you can go to, and see what organizations individuals contribute to and determine if yours’ is one they might consider giving to.
Chris Gaynor asked about talking to two spouses who may have a difference of opinion on giving. Dr. Rice recommends the spouses have a discussion to determine where they would like to donate their money. During an ask, both spouses should be addressed equally and encouraged to work together.
Tom Barron ended by asking about what a good percentage of Administrative expense for a non-profit should be. Dr. Rice explained the standard is 10-15% which she does not agree with and believes is too low. John felt 20% might be okay.
What I took away from this wonderful presentation is that anyone can by a philanthropist regardless of status or net worth.
IPP Chris thanked Dr. Rice and John for the very informative presentation and, advised them a gift to the Westwood Village Library in their names would be made. He then went on to tell us PP Steve Day will be the emcee next week once again on ZOOM.
Commentary provided by PP Diane