Time, Money, Values, Impact

Make It Better Founder Susan B. Noyes speaks at Money, Values & Impact

Make It Better Founder Susan B. Noyes speaks at Money, Values & Impact (Photos by Erica Barraca)

We all have complicated relationships with money. We need it, but we don’t want this to overtake living our life well.

Fortunately, there is growing awareness that aligning our values with how we earn, invest and spend our money can allow us to earn greater profit as we also contribute to greater social impact that makes the world better too.

Impact Investing — to improve your finances and your philanthropy — is a growing, powerful, positive change agent for you and the world.

But there is one thing even more powerful and valuable: our time. Our minutes, hours and days are most precious indeed. That is why I am particularly grateful to our sponsors and our audience who attended March 1’s Money, Values, Impact event at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Thank you!

For those who missed it, please watch for the Powerful, Positive, Connecting content soon to follow from Make It Better. You can also read all of the live updates we posted from the event.

Make It Better President and CEO Francia Harrington with Money, Values and Impact speakers J. Steven Auston of Morgan Stanley and Kathy Roeser of The Roeser Group.

Make It Better President and CEO Francia Harrington with Money, Values and Impact speakers J. Steven Auston of Morgan Stanley and Kathy Roeser of The Roeser Group.

Pies provided by Mrs. Green's Natural Market

Pies provided by Mrs. Green’s Natural Market.

Random Acts of Flowers provided the centerpieces for the event.

Random Acts of Flowers provided the centerpieces for the event.

Make It Better Associate Publisher Michelle Morris with Money, Values and Impact sponsors Tony Perry and Anthony Perry of A. Perry Homes.

Make It Better Associate Publisher Michelle Morris with Money, Values and Impact sponsors Tony Perry and Anthony Perry of A. Perry Homes.

Money, Values and Impact guests read through the day's program.

Money, Values and Impact guests read through the day’s program.

Morgan Stanley's J. Steven Austin welcomes attendees to Money, Values and Impact.

Morgan Stanley’s J. Steven Austin welcomes attendees to Money, Values and Impact.

Kathy Roeser of The Roeser Group gives the Money, Values and Impact audience a month by month timeline for their finances.

Kathy Roeser of The Roeser Group gives the Money, Values and Impact audience a month by month timeline for their finances.

Annette Findling and Leslie North of Stonebridge Wealth Advisors

Annette Findling and Leslie North of Stonebridge Wealth Advisors spoke about insurance.

Tony Perry of A. Perry Homes talked about Home Trends and Solutions that Protect Wealth.

Tony Perry of A. Perry Homes talked about Home Trends and Solutions that Protect Wealth.

Susan B. Noyes with Hilary Irby of Morgan Stanley.

Susan B. Noyes with Hilary Irby of Morgan Stanley before the Garden Side Chat.

Perika Sampson of Morgan Stanley

Perika Sampson of Morgan Stanley

Forefront President and CEO Eric Weinheimer addresses the Money, Values and Impact audience.

Forefront President and CEO Eric Weinheimer addresses the Money, Values and Impact audience.

Make It Better Editor-in-Chief Genevieve Lill moderates a panel with Make It Better Founder Susan N. Noyes, Forefront CEO Eric Weinheimer and Make It Better President and Chief Strategy Officer Francia Harrington.

Make It Better Editor-in-Chief Genevieve Lill moderates a panel with Make It Better Founder Susan N. Noyes, Forefront CEO Eric Weinheimer and Make It Better President and Chief Strategy Officer Francia Harrington.

A Tribute To Skin Of Steel Founder Susan Steel

Susan Steel, of Glenview, died in January from melanoma. Most people diagnosed with late-stage melanoma, like Steel, live for a few months. Steel lived for more than a decade. That is big news in and of itself, but what is extraordinary and inspiring is the way Steel lived and what she accomplished as she endured brain surgery after brain surgery and drug trial after drug trial.

susan steel skin of steel

Susan Steel in 2014.

Steel very intentionally lived “with vengeance”—as an alternative to just “fighting cancer.” She did so by focusing her attention on helping others—her children, friends, future melanoma patients, the world. Her impact grew with each passing month because of this. The nonprofit she founded with others to raise awareness of, education about and research opportunities for melanoma—Skin Of Steel (SOS) —will live on with vengeance, too.

“Susan founded SOS to provoke revolutionary change in the treatment and prevention of melanoma, and by God that is what we are on the cusp of!” Board Chair Steve Sullivan declares. “She strategically partnered with people all over the globe to change the landscape of melanoma, and attitudes toward melanoma, and there will be no ‘end’ to her story. She may well have the most productive afterlife of anyone the world has ever known… Our team is resolute to open the world’s first ever ‘openly collaborative melanoma tissue bank.’” These audacious, laudable plans helped SOS win a 2014 Make It Better Philanthropy Award.

skin of steel make it better philanthropy award winner

Susan Steel (center) receives a Make It Better Philanthropy Award on behalf of Skin of Steel.

In 2005, Steel was a married international real estate fund executive and former competitive skier with two children, 11 and 13, when she was diagnosed with late-stage melanoma and given that dire prognosis. She launched into seek and destroy mode, finding every possible experimental program that could help her fight against the deadly disease at places like the National Cancer Institute in Baltimore.

By 2008, the first time I wrote about her, Steel had already endured seven brain surgeries and clinical trials. She described a Tibetan Medical Monk asking her a question that transformed her thinking from just “fighting” her cancer battle to “living with a vengeance.” This energized her life and got her focused on helping others. Steel giggled and called her determined actions “leveraging cancer.”

Steel traveled with every family member to help them pursue some dream. She launched a crew program as a way to give back to her cadre of gal pals who swooped in to help her and her family during her treatments. She wanted them to focus on learning a new skill and taking better care of themselves. She surprised herself by joining them, too. According to coach Hope Poor, Steel stated: “Rowing was one of my most defiant acts.” It was also a great success. The program blossomed into today’s formidable New Trier Women’s Masters which competes across the country.

Steel started SOS in Glenview, primarily to educate local youth and others about melanoma prevention. She spoke publicly, including to rotaries and PTAs, ran fundraisers, insured that NorthShore University HealthSystem had a robust pool of blood platelet donors. As years passed and she lived on, Steel sought out fellow melanoma warriors nationally, helped rewrite medical protocol, learned that researchers clamor for more tissue to do their work, and so Steel set her sights even higher.

According to Sullivan, Steel’s life work became “helping science unlock genetic biomarkers that may very well hold hidden clues for cures.” With laser focus, Steel built a coalition and a plan to fund four collaborative tissue banks across the United States, including one in Chicago.

In 2014, Pittsburg’s Woiner Foundation hosted a forum announcing that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center will be one of the Skin Of Steel tissue banks. This is the legacy that SOS continues to champion with a vengeance. Success insures that Steel’s legacy will transform life for melanoma patients and their families around the world in perpetuity.

By choosing to live with vengeance and help others, rather than just focusing on the fight she was destined to lose, Steel was able to live a decade longer than anticipated, help her children pursue dreams and grow into lovely adults, found a blossoming athletic program for women, inspire others to live courageously and with vengeance, and eventually likely transform melanoma research and outcomes around the world.

Thank you, Susan Steel. God rest.

Why I’m a Fan of The Chan Zuckerberg Gift and The Spirit Behind It

Mark Zuckerberg Priscilla Chan daughter max

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan with their daughter, Max. (Photo from Facebook)

“Our daughter and everyone in her generation should be able to live much better lives… The only way to reach our full human potential is if we are able to unlock the gifts of every person around the world… We have a basic moral responsibility to tilt our investments somewhat more to make that happen.” Mark Zuckerberg

If you haven’t yet done so, I encourage you to watch this two-minute video of Mark Zuckerberg, 31, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, 30, explaining why they launched the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (“Initiative”) with 99 percent of their Facebook stock (worth about $45 billion before last week’s market pull-back) in honor of the birth of their daughter, Max. Their goal is to “tilt investments faster” toward strategies that will ensure better education, healthcare and communities for all children in their daughter’s generation.

Big goals. Great goals.

In the video, Zuckerberg and Chan look and sound not like billionaires, but rather like quintessential millennials. They’re given the greatest gift of all—a child. In return, they want her and all other children in her generation to inherit a better world. Therefore, they “gift” 99 percent of their wealth in order to lift up 100 percent of the world.

Unfortunately, Zuckerberg is a target just by being his young, visible, uber-successful self. Of course, the world quickly responded with polarizing positions. The Guardian’s Michele Hanson quipped, “Could they not have given their money away without the sloppy letter to their daughter and the rest of us? Wasn’t that a bit show-offy? Isn’t $45bn rather too much for one family to have in the first place? And wasn’t it a bit measly of Facebook to pay only £4,327 UK corporation tax last year?”

Criticism also flowed off the system that allows vast wealth to vest in entrepreneurs like Zuckerberg, thereby giving them far greater power over philanthropic decisions and policy-making too. As Inside Philanthropy’s David Cameron writes, “While there are plenty of good people emerging at the highest levels of philanthropy like Zuckerberg and Chan, there are also less appealing actors. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine that… it was the Koch brothers who had pledged to use their entire fortune (of $85 billion) to shape the direction of U.S. society. The picture would look a bit different, right?”

I put “gift” in parentheses because what the Chan Zuckerberg’s actually did was place their stock in an LLC, with a pledge to reinvest any profits and an implication that they eventually will gift all of it to charity. According to The New York Times, the couple chose an LLC instead of a nonprofit structure because they want the flexibility to try ideas through for-profit businesses and the freedom to lobby on behalf of the most effective policies, as well as directly fund nonprofit best practices.

Confusingly, Forbes heralded their “gift” as an example of stock ownership transfer through a charitable donation that the rest of us can and should emulate. So, experts are confused about whether this “gift” is or isn’t a charitable donation, just as pundits are divided in their assessments of the wisdom of Chan Zuckerberg’s generosity.

I’m neither a charitable gifts expert, nor a pundit. But, as Founder and Publisher of Make It Better Media, I am a bit of an expert on demographics and the behavior of a well-educated, affluent audience.

As a demographic group, millennials expect mission, meaning and social good to be embedded in their work and everyday lives. They want maximum impact with their time and dollars. The Chan Zuckerbergs are a shining example of this.

But it’s not just millennials who are inclined to do good with their everyday lives. We’ve built a successful media company on proof that most people want to and will support good values if you make it easy for them to do so.

Zuckerberg was smart and lucky enough to launch a transformation in the way our world connects and communicates. I love that he and Chan can apply those insights and their billions to finding and supporting the most effective and efficient ways to educate every child, and provide them with good healthcare and safe, diverse communities. Hopefully, their LLC will allow them to skirt many of the traditional bureaucratic roadblocks to success.

As a society, we shouldn’t be bickering about methodology, rather we should appreciate all authentic efforts to move the needle forward for humanity and facilitate collaboration among all interested parties who bring expertise or resources to the table.

I like that Zuckerberg and Chan give themselves permission to try, fail and learn as they go. “It’s hard to [change complex systems] in the short term,” Zuckerberg states. “Like doing anything well in the world, it takes practice. In the projects that we will do in education, science, health, community building, we will learn lessons over time and hopefully get better and better.” That’s the winning attitude of a successful entrepreneur. And that is the attitude that will transform our world for the better faster, too.

Everyone wants their dollars, time and lives to create impact. The Chan Zuckerberg’s are in an enviable position with respect to impact. But please, let’s not let envy or frustration with current political, social or economic dynamics get in the way of celebrating their decision and its potential impact for all children in the future. Instead, let’s please celebrate the birth of Zuckerberg and Chan’s daughter and Initiative, and rejoice that they embody the millennial spirit.

As Chan says, “We need to ensure that the future is better than today.” This is our basic human yearning. Let’s please hold these idealistic new parents up as examples for all to follow.

 

 

 

Don’t Miss! Jim Hackett Talks Faith and Leadership

Want to be inspired by a successful life built on great values?

If your answer is yes, please join me on Friday, December 4 at Kenilworth Union Church at 7 a.m. to hear Jim Hackett speak on “Faith And Leadership.”

maureen and jim hackett

Maureen and Jim Hackett. Image courtesy of Inside IUPUI.

Hackett grew up in Winnetka and graduated from New Trier High School in 1972. He married his high school sweetheart, Maureen. Her influence kept their life together focused on serving others, even as they raised four children and Hackett charged through Harvard Business School and a spectacular career with a series of energy companies.

Most recently, Hackett served as Executive Chairman of the Board and CEO of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, one of the world’s largest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies. He also is the former Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, a board member and/or adjunct faculty member of multiple colleges, a board member of two Fortune 500 companies and a partner in the private equity firm Riverstone Holdings LLC. 

That’s impressive success indeed.

But what most intrigues me about Hackett are four other facts:

  1. He stepped back from the pinnacle of corporate success in order to pursue a Master of Divinity at Harvard University.
  2. He cites two high school English teachers as life changing.
  3. He calls Maureen the more inspiring member of their marriage.
  4. With Maureen, he endowed the Women’s Philanthropy Center at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

This is a powerful man living by powerfully good values.

The Hacketts live in Houston.  But they returned to the North Shore in 2013 when he was inducted into the New Trier Alumni Hall Of Honor.

Hackett proved to be an engaging speaker that night. So I’m delighted that he’s returning to discuss faith & leadership, confident that his message will inspire you and honored to be able to introduce him.

Please join me and be inspired too.  It’s a great way to start your day.

 

Christopher Knight – Consumate Make It Better Man – Joins Skin For Life 2015

Typically, we think of females as the Make It Better stereotype – multitalented, multitasking, creators of win/win scenarios, re-inventors of self, fundraisers. Rarely do we think of males the same way. However, there’s someone you probably know coming to Chicagoland to raise money for skin cancer research, who clearly earns the title “Make It Better Man” –Christopher KnigChristopher Knightht, child star of the Brady Bunch

Knight will share his peripatetic, curiosity fueled, multiple career, remarkable life story at Skin For Life 2015– benefiting The Skin Cancer Foundation – at the Deerfield Hyatt on May 28th.  This should be entertaining as well as rewarding.

Knight earned his childhood Brady Bunch gig despite being an extreme introvert.  He was even more interested in how things work, science and business than acting. So he’s also studied, worked or started businesses in geology, technology, home furnishings and dermatology (including  founding the world’s leading tattoo remover “Dr. Tattoff.”   He fit in a few reality tv shows in recently, too.skin for life

Dr. Amy Forman Taub, a dermatologist who founded the state of the art clinic Advanced Dermatology and skinfo Specialty Skincare Boutique in Lincolnshire and Glencoe, launched the Skin For Life fundraiser 5 years ago.  Using her heart and entreprenskin for lifeeurial spirit this way definitely proves Taub is a Make It Better woman too.

The energy, entertainment, inspiration and good intentions on stage May 28 should make your life a little better if you attend the 5th Annual Skin For Life.  Added benefit – you’ll be contributing to finding a cure for skin cancer too.

THE 5 Ps Of Effective Philanthropy

Effective fundraising made easy by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Make It Better:

Fundraise Like The Pros In Honor of National Philanthropy Day

Etymologically, “philanthropy” means love of humankind.

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, philanthropy means “the practice of giving time and money to help make life better for other people.”

However you define philanthropy or choose to practice it in your life, you can celebrate it this Saturday, Nov. 15 on National Philanthropy Day. This day is sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), which generates philanthropic support for a wide variety of charitable institutions.Philanthropy

The holiday is meant to recognize the great changes that philanthropy has brought to the world and to encourage people to work to better the lives of others. President Ronald Reagan officially proclaimed Nov. 15 as National Philanthropy Day in 1986.

Tips for Wise Giving (and How Make It Better Can Help):

According to the AFP, there are five Ps to wise giving: Passionate, Proactive, Prepare, Plan and Powerful.

Here is how Make It Better applies these five P’s to our philanthropic efforts. We would be honored to help your favorite nonprofit this way, too.

Power of PhilanthropyPassionate: At Make It Better, we support organizations run by people who are truly PASSIONATE about the work they do—whether they work to improve education, fight for social justice or save the environment. We believe the attitude behind an organization fuels its long-term success.

Proactive: Make It Better PROACTIVELY seeks organizations to partner with across the North Shore and the Greater Chicago Area that are working to grow their support network and spread their mission. We are always open to hearing from new nonprofits. You can connect with us through our website at makeitbetter.net or email our Philanthropy Editor, Maura Flaherty, at maura@makeitbetter.net.

Prepare: Once Make It Better decides to partner with your organization, we will PREPARE a contract called a media sponsorship agreement. This agreement allows us to learn as much information as we can about your organization’s history, mission and fundraising events and details your role as our partner.Prepare

Plan: Make It Better prefers to partner with an organization several months prior to important events or fundraisers so that we can PLAN the most effective editorial coverage around them.

Powerful: By planning which editorial coverage to use with your organization, such as placement on our Online Calendar of Events, Better Letter Sponsored Listing or in the Give Time, Things Support section of our magazine, Make It Better allows your organization to receive maximum impact and POWERFUL support from our readers and followers.

Make It Better Foundation Philanthropy Awards

PhilanthropistEach year, in honor of National Philanthropy Day, we announce the winners with a live-blogged roadshow. Please watch this year on November 14 through your social network.

Winners earn compelling fundraising content—videos, articles, connections—which brings to life their missions and proves that donated dollars are well spent. They also receive expert advice on how to use this content to improve their fundraising and grow their own network. We celebrate them at our annual spring gala—an Oscars-like, red carpet star moment.

PhilanthropistThis year, we also will celebrate the 2014 winners at our November 18th party in honor of the launch of our new site, the fifth anniversary of our magazine and new Chicago footprint. Better yet, this year’s winners will also earn proceeds from the Shop For Good section of our new site for an entire year. Please join us at the party- you can RSVP here.

Categories this year include:

Athletics

Education

Environment

Human Services

Most Improved Fundraising Award Social Justice

Audience Choice

Please watch for the winners on November 14 through your social media, come to our party November 18th, and look for ways our work can help you make the world a better place.

To learn more about our Philanthropy Awards, please contact:  Mindy Fauntleroy        Make It Better Foundation 847-256-4642 Mindy@makeitbetter.net

More on our PHILANTHROPY AWARDS PROGRAM

Every child deserves a good education, a safe, loving home and adequate health care. Every adult honestly trying to overcome difficulties and succeed in life does too. Many Americans believe this and want to help. They pay their blessings forward by starting or supporting nonprofits which help to accomplish these bold goals.

We love to identify, elevate and amplify nonprofits demonstrating best practices—as well as create connections and opportunities for collaboration. The more funders and effective nonprofits learn from and help each other, the faster every child and well-intentioned adult gets the help they deserve.Make It Better 2013 philanthropy awards

We started the Make It Better Foundation and our Philanthropy Awards to grow a network of venture philanthropists and social entrepreneurs as judges and sponsors of the awards (similar to the Academy of Judges for the Oscars) and to provide rocket-fuel support for the nonprofits they select.

Check out last years winners here. Please also subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on the awards for 2014.