EACH Foundation “Letter from the President,” by Lionel Shaw, July 31, 2019:
Having just marked the 3rd anniversary of the founding of this unique and personally rewarding organization, I find myself looking back with genuine appreciation, first and foremost, for the dozens of volunteer grant-makers (our “philanthropic advisors”) who have made this whole endeavor possible.
It was just months after we commenced operations in late 2016 that Marc Spencer—one of our first team members, and one of the Bay Area’s greatest change agents for inclusivity and diversity—told me, “Lionel, this is not just a uniquely designed organization you’ve created here; you’ve created a movement.”
Three years later, I’d have to say Marc may have been right. We have created a movement, if you will. A movement that took a private family foundation and turned it into an inclusive, diverse, quasi-community foundation, empowering everyday people to allocate funds in ways they could not have done otherwise.
Together we have brought the gift of giving to the people; people who gain huge emotional reward from being empowered with the ability to give away our foundation assets to organizations for which they feel passion, at their own discretion. This engenders a special emotional reward to the giver, and creates a ripple effect within the community, far beyond the EACH Foundation itself. Undergirding our pro bono giving philosophy, EACH developed a list of seven “We Believes”; a short description of what it means to be community grant makers, our ‘Credos to Give By’:
We believe that a nonprofit is owned by everyone in the community.
We believe that diversity and inclusivity leads to the best path to philanthropic prosperity.
We believe that the best givers are those who don’t have the ability to give.
We believe that the gift of giving itself is motivation enough for an individual to give prudently.
We believe that it’s more efficient to find charities to give to rather than have them find us.
We believe that you “make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.”
We believe that the IRS minimum distribution rate of 5% should be 10%.
This movement called “EACH” has truly become something more than just a nonprofit business concept with some seemingly radically different operational tenets. Part of our goal is to continue to build on this movement to the extent that other larger private family foundations, and some components of the community foundation model adopt the attributes that make EACH uniquely successful in ways other typical grant-making foundations are not.
We have fulfilled our task of efficiently and effectively through unique methods, proving that a new paradigm for private foundation giving is functionally feasible and better, as well.
We have just written our 1,000th grant check as of the writing of this letter, and we look forward to the next 1000 checks, which we’ll write to effect change in the community in the years to come. We’ve also surpassed $4 million in total grants to over 600 unique nonprofit organizations, and the best is yet ahead of us.
This is due to the support and passion of our 30 volunteer philanthropic advisors, everyday people who work tirelessly to find the best and most viable public nonprofits in existence, and I greatly appreciate all of their efforts.
Thank you for your time, for your interest in our unique nonprofit model, and for helping spread the word that there is a different and better way to give away money held by private foundations while helping those who need it most.