Catholic Charities Embraces a Culture of Philanthropy

A culture of philanthropy

We can all share in a culture of philanthropy

A Culture of Philanthropy. Prior to my career with nonprofits, I had not heard this term.What is it and why is it important to me and to Catholic Charities of the East Bay?

Fundraising is essential for every nonprofit. There are many nonprofits that do it well – they have a fundraising model and database system, the right development staff, board participation, goals, leadership, and of course donors. But what separates the good from the truly great nonprofits that fundraise are those that, in addition to the essential attributes above, also have a culture of philanthropy.

When we think of philanthropy, words that come to mind include generosity, altruism, charity, kindness, compassion, and social conscience. A culture of philanthropy is where everyone in the organization embraces these words in their behavior and belief in their mission and acts as an ambassador for the agency. They can articulate the mission, the values, and the impact and difference their commitment and passion makes in the community. Philanthropy becomes every person’s responsibility, not just one department, and is integrated in everything they do. It is something you feel, hear, and see when you walk in the door or talk with an employee, a client, a volunteer, board member, or someone in the community. It is an energy. Through a culture of philanthropy, donors, our cherished partners, feel more engaged to and deeply connected with the mission of the agency. It allows us to build a stronger more trusting and collaborative relationship with our donors and we can share how we are truly making an impact with their contributions.

Conversations shift away from raising money to serving the mission. As such, the most important result of a culture of philanthropy is sustainability of the mission. After all, fundraising at its essence is not so much about raising money as it is about ensuring that the wonderful heart-felt work and positive impact continues. Imagine telling a young student that we can no longer provide mental health services for him or her or telling a new family from Afghanistan that we can no longer help them find an apartment, job, or enroll their kids in school because we no longer have the resources to continue the program.

Members of our staff at Catholic Charities of the East Bay

Catholic Charities of the East Bay staff

The board, staff, and clients we serve, our community, and our valued donors have entrusted in me the responsibility to ensure that our mission thrives well into the future and that we continue to move youth, families, and adults from Crisis to Stability to Prosperity.

At Catholic Charities, we are moving towards a Culture of Philanthropy to ensure the sustainability of our mission. Rome was not built in a day and while we have a ways to go to build a culture of philanthropy, we have taken many steps in the right direction.

One of these steps is our new Transforming Lives Tour where you can learn more about Catholic Charities and our programs. The tours are on the second and third Thursday of every month and begin Thursday, January 8, 2015 from 12 pm – 1 pm at our main office located on 433 Jefferson Street, Oakland. Please contact Debra Gunn at 510-768-3142 or

I would like to invite you to our Transforming Lives Tour. I look forward to seeing you there.

[typography font=”Give You Glory” size=”22″ size_format=”px”]Happy Holidays[/typography]