December 17, 2009
As the holiday season approaches, families and loved ones are making their lists and checking them twice. Gift giving plays a significant role at this time of year and Americans share their time to volunteer, donate to their favorite causes and give gifts to friends, colleagues and loved ones. In November I had the privilege of attending the Northern New England Chapter of the Association of Professional Fundraisers Conference. The typical “how to” workshops were held which were most helpful with useful information, but the most impressive parts of the conference went far beyond these informative sessions. The dedicated professionals who work tirelessly for various nonprofit causes, their code of ethics and complete satisfaction in raising money for their organizations was what impressed me the most. This was imparted through the wonderful stories of dreams, visions and strategic planning, and most importantly, their work with devoted volunteers.
The annual awards dinner honored individuals, businesses and organizations whose efforts had huge impacts on their particular causes. These accomplishments were shared by those receiving the awards. The enthusiasm, joy and pure delight they conveyed through their success stories was heartwarming. One recipient talked about the meaning and origin of philanthropy. Philanthropy comes from the Greek philanthropos, combining two words: philos, or “loving” in the sense of benefitting, caring for, nourishing; and anthropos— “humankind.” Prometheus did not “love” the proto-humans individually, because at that mythical point in time, individuality did not yet exist—that requires culture. What he evidently “loved,” therefore, was their human potential—what they could accomplish and become with “fire” and “blind hope.” The two gifts, in effect, completed the creation of humankind as a distinctly civilized animal. ‘Philanthropia’—loving what it is to be human—was thought to be the key to civilization.
I came away with renewed hope and faith in our mission as FOKO continues its stewardship of the Kotzschmar Organ. We have many successes because of you, your commitment as board members, donors, concert sponsors and volunteers. The arts are an essential part of civilization and your philanthropic values attest to that. We, as the stewards of the Kotzschmar Organ, depend on philanthropia as we stay the steady course to maintain, grow awareness, develop programming and celebrate this national icon.
— Kathleen Grammer