January 27, 2008

Coastal Community Foundation Stands Out

January 22nd: Dr. George Stevens, CEO/President of the Coastal Community Foundation and member of our club gave a dazzling report to we, the original stockholders of this outstanding foundation.

George, who has a Ph. D. in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania is a prominent research science who has conducted research all over the world. He reminded us that 33 years ago the Charleston Rotary started the foundation with a grant of $9,000. Over the next 20 years the foundation gave the community over $10,000,000. Last year they gave 4.8 million to the local community and are now on a target to give over 10 million dollars annually to this community. How do they do this?

ONE: They offer a personalized service by meeting potential donors and determining what they would really like to do for the community.

TWO: They provide local expertise as to what non-profit organizations are active in our area so as to match the donor with a source of proven service.

THREE: They stress Community Stewardship so that the donor understands just how his/her financial assistance will affect change in the community.

George told us that CCF's annual income from donors is increasing at a rate of over 25% per year. He asked the club [the original stockholders] to help him understand how this can be, for CCF is one of the top 100 non-profit fund raisers out of over 8000 in the nation. Many fine suggestions were presented, perhaps the most likely being that the donors themselves are successful in their own fields.

In conclusion, George thank the Rotary Stockholders for helping the foundation grow such that it now as 150 million dollars in assets.

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

January 18, 2008

Blackbaud and the State of Giving

January 15th, 2008: Marc Chardon shared his insight on philanthropic giving and Blackbaud, which has dramatically increased revenue and the number of customers since his arrival as CEO. Marc, an Economics Honor Graduate of Harvard, worked for both Digital and Microsoft before joining the company. His involvement in the world of philanthropy, non-profits, and service began early. As a young man he volunteered with the Waterfront Historic Area League, which was founded by his grandmother, to preserve the historic whaling town of New Bedford, MA.

Marc's move to Blackbaud in 2005 was due to his interest in helping philanthropic organizations be more successful worldwide. We are glad he not only chose helping non-profits, but also that he's with Blackbaud. He shared insights about clients making important contributions to our society.

As a leading fund raising software developer, Blackbaud has pioneered tools to help organizations develop long-term relationships with donors and currently has 19,000 customers in 56 countries. Blackbaud began as a developer creating payroll software for independent schools. The company's Target Analytics division conducts research and publishes the Quarterly Index of National Fundraising Performance as a service to the non-profit community. A particularly alarming trend is that the number of people giving is down 2% per year with the number of new donors down 6.3% per year. Research is being done to figure out the cause and the impact on non-profit organizations. One concern is younger generations are not engaged by traditional fund raising. They tend to think, act, and even acquire information differently than previous generations.

Marc shared five key trends of concerns. 1) The needs of individuals in all countries continue to go up, while government is doing less to address them, 2) Globalization is causing a proliferation of fund raising organizations, such as addressing breast cancer with 600 organizations, 3) Donors are becoming more skeptical. They want to know "who" they are giving the money to and they also want to know "where" it is going and "how" it is going to benefit, 4) Generation Y isn't reached by traditional fund raising methods and there is a great deal of concern with ways to get their attention, and 5) Changes in technology are affecting fund raising just as they are others.

Marc indicated that when he talks with executives in the philanthropic community, they express concern for at least 3 of the 5 trends. More research is being done to understand who has the capability to contribute, the type of gift they might give, and how to best approach them. A "Planned Giver," who typically leaves money to a non-profit in their will, has a vastly different profile from a "Major Giver" who might donate a significant amount of money at one time. Blackbaud is working to not only provide the tools to contact and develop relationships, but also better ways to understand how to work with them.

The questions high-lighted some great reasons for having Blackbaud in our community. One comment related to the number of people who worked at Blackbaud at one time and had started other businesses. Asked where they source their employees, Chardon commented, "While Charleston is a great place to live, we do need more of a high-tech industry to make it easier to attract mid-level individuals."

Submitted by Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Committee

January 11, 2008

BB&T Charleston Food + Wine Festival 2008

January 8th: We were very lucky to hear from our own Angel Postell, Festival Director of Charleston Food & Wine Festival and fellow Rotarian. Having been involved in the Festival since it began and now in charge of the entire weekend, she was the perfect person to let us know what to expect this year.

First, for those that aren't familiar with the festival, a little background may help. The purpose of the BB&T Charleston Food + Wine Festival is to highlight and celebrate Charleston's extraordinary culinary history and culture. Some goals of the festival are to establish a world-class food and wine festival which supports funding for various culinary charities; to educate students and the general public about the historical significance of Lowcountry and southern cuisine styles, resources, products and recipes; to provide educational opportunities for students of all ages to learn from the various programming and efforts taking place during and around the Festival; and to preserve the components of Lowcountry and southern cuisine evident in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Festival will be held Thursday, February 28th through Sunday, March 2nd. There are over 50 events throughout the weekend that offer a wide array of entertainment. Key events include: Opening Night Party, Sip and Stroll, Bubbles and Sweets by Charleston Magazine, Lowcountry Gospel Brunch and BBQ, Blues and Brew. Most events will be in Culinary Village, designated the official hub for the Festival.

Postell highlighted some of the changes that this year's Festival will offer. First, there is a new ticketing system. Everyone will have a badge for each event they sign up for. Be sure to go to the website for more information, but this new system should make it easier to purchase and keep up with tickets. Culinary Village has been redesigned. They have doubled the space, but the number of vendors participating is the same. So, lots of room for everyone to comfortably move around.

Postell encouraged all Rotarians to get involved in the Festival. It is such a great way to support our community and show others not from the Lowcountry all that it has to offer. Some ways to help are to become a sponsor, volunteer, buy tickets, donate goods and/or services, promote the Festival by word of mouth, or provide an on-line auction item for charity efforts. Auction items will be available on-line two weeks prior to the event.

The Festival is a great place to have some great food, great times and is a fun way to support your community. Remember, by supporting the event, you are helping raise money for the culinary programs at College of Charleston and the Culinary Institute of Charleston along with helping to feed the homeless. The Festival donates all leftover food to Crisis Ministries to help them help the homeless. For more information, please go to http://www.charlestonfoodandwine.com./

Submitted by Darby Hand, Keyway Committee

January 6, 2008

Francis Marion Hosts Holiday Luncheon

December 18th, 2007: Rotarians celebrated the holiday season with a festive luncheon in the Carolina Ballroom at the Francis Marion. Our sincere thanks to Steve Dopp and all the staff at the Francis Marion for hosting this special event. The hotel was beautifully decorated and the food was outstanding. We were treated to holiday music by Rotarian John Tecklenberg and ensemble, who have been playing together for 22 years.

We also had a special visit from Paul Harris (well, almost). Joseph Stukes, who is a retired history professor and Florence Rotary Club stalwart, rendered an extremely realistic representation of what Mr. Harris would have discussed if he were addressing our club in 1947. The bottom line remains: "We profit best if we serve the best."

However, pictures tell the best story of this fabulous event. Please look on to see pictures of yourself and friends enjoying the holidays.