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I’m Going to Stanford

I’m Going to Stanford

I’m going to Stanford.  That is something I have always wanted to say, but actually have never applied knowing full well that my intellectual and financial capacity to attend was lacking.

But all of that is changing now.  Nothing has actually shifted in the area of my intellect or financial resources, but the world of technology has allowed me to sign up for a Massive Open Online Course better known as a MOOC at this previously out of my reach University.  I am even considering cheering for the football team and ordering a sweatshirt now that I am enrolled.

The course, Giving 2.0, is a Stanford University-sponsored online class taught by social entrepreneur, philanthropist and bestselling author Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen and is intended to teach givers of all ages, backgrounds, incomes and experiences to give more effectively.

The offering caught my attention because shortly after joining the team at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation I read Arrillaga-Andressen’s book Giving 2.0: Transform your Giving and Our World to gain a better understanding of what was on the minds of philanthropists as they made their charitable plans.  Quickly the book became a must read for most members of the Foundation Board and team.

At the Foundation we work with donors who are turning to us to help them make their charitable decisions in a meaningful and effective way.  Each one of them wants to make a difference in the world and they want to know that their contributions are changing things for the better.  Arrillaga-Andreessen’s teaching and writing on philanthropy coupled with her personal experience make her a fantastic guide as we work with Southwest Florida donors on issues that face our region.

Arrillaga-Andreessen is a Silicon Valley millionaire who advises and  strategizes with people like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in making their philanthropic plans, but I am pretty sure he has not signed up for the online course.  Her goal seems to be reaching philanthropists from every walk of life and showing them that they have the power and ability to create social change through strategic giving. I have a feeling I am going to have a lot of classmates as we work through the syllabus that includes developing a personal giving plan.

The world of giving is changing and just as the Stanford MOOC is dedicated to helping students develop a long term plan that optimizes all of their charitable resources, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation team is here to help local philanthropists shape those plans and provide the resources, information, and inspiration needed to change the world.  If you are looking for a way to make your charitable dollars more effective please email me at [email protected] .  I will get back to you as soon as I finish my homework.

Who knows, if I ace this class I might be headed to Harvard.

Sarah Owen
Sarah Owen

Sarah Owen, President & CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, leads a passionate and diverse team dedicated to driving regional change for the common good. The Foundation is committed to engaging the community in conversations and action that creates sustainable positive change and provides the funding to make those changes a reality. More