We have so many exciting initiatives in the works at the Boston Foundation that will, hopefully, benefit the greater arts community in Boston in the coming weeks and months, not the least of which is our alliance with Futurecity, which we shared in this recent blog post.
But sometimes, as we work toward the future it can be easy (for you and us!) to forget our past. So periodically, we're going to share with you our "There at the Beginning" stories about the 100-plus Greater Boston organizations for whom the Boston Foundation was there at the start with seed money, logistical or operational support, or all of the above.
With arts work on the mind, we thought in this post we'd share a quick origin story for the American Repertory Theater, an organization we helped find its way out of the starting gates.
When you work at a community foundation, there are two things you can always guarantee in December. Finance and fund administration gets busy with year-end giving, and communications gets busy with reporters calling to ask about year-end giving.
We don't mind either problem. Last year, a busy December led to a record year for donations to our Donor Advised Funds, which means likely another record year for donations to the community in 2013-14. And the year-end giving stories are appearing as well. One of them, titled "Where Charity Goes to Wait", focused on the donor advised funds being operated by large, otherwise for profit investment firms like Fidelity and Schwab, and ran in the Boston Globe Ideas section right after Thansgiving. It posited that billions of dollars invested in donor advised funds each year were sitting on the sidelines when they would have otherwise gone to nonprofits.
It's not an argument with which we concur, but it did raise interesting points about donor advised funds, and the difference between those funds at a foundation like TBF and elsewhere.
As we head closer to the inauguration of incoming Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, there are more and more people giving their suggestions as long-time Bostonians for how the new mayor should do his job. Indeed, the Boston Foundation will share our ideas for the new mayor as well over the coming weeks.
It makes sense - a city like ours is a complex entity, and we are fortunate to have a wealth of people and organizations who work on the challenges we face each day.
We're so blessed by this intelligence, that it is easy to forget another fundamental truth.
We don't know everything.