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Sheree Meredith Legacy Planning | LAYC66
Episode 661st March 2023 • Seasoned Women Serious Business • Isabel Alexander
00:00:00 00:28:36

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About Sheree Meredith

Drawing on over 40 years’ experience in the philanthropic and not-for-profit sectors, Sheree provides support to individuals, businesses and foundations who want to make a difference through their philanthropy.  Utilizing a mix of tools and discussion, clients are helped to clearly articulate the Why and the Focus of their philanthropy - then develop a creative and strategic plan for achieving their goals drawing on the wide range of resources that each of us have in our lives.  

Sheree Meredith provides support to individuals, organizations and businesses who want to make an impact through their philanthropy.  Rather than starting at the end with “so what charity do you want to write a cheque to?”  Sheree starts at the beginning – helping to identify the values and issues that create your vision and objectives, exploring a broad range of resources that can be drawn on and creating a customized philanthropic plan that will have impact and inspire.

Sheree brings to this work over 40 years of experience as a leader in the Foundations, non-profit, and education sectors.

She holds a Masters of Social Work degree and has earned the designations of Family Enterprise Advisor (FEA), Certified 21/64 Trainer and Myers Briggs specialist.

Sheree is recognized for her warm, engaging, and thoughtful approach in working with individuals and organizations.  She has presented workshops and key notes to numerous audiences.  Most recently, Sheree has led in launching the Women’s Philanthropy Education Forum, a platform where Canadian women can learn and explore trends, issues and approaches that will enable them to create their own personal philanthropic strategy.

Sheree lives in Hamilton, ON.  She is an active member of her community and avid traveler, quilter, and reader.  Sheree is the delighted mother of 4 adult children and 4 grandchildren.

https://www.shereemeredith.com/

Linkedin

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheree-meredith-238b8a26/

Excellent example of a Giving Circle and how I met my guest on the show today:

https://100womenwhocareburlington.com/

Check out this episode about Philanthropy :

https://lift-as-you-climb.captivate.fm/episode/sewing-for-living-in-bali

And get ideas about how you can make a difference – locally, regionally, or internationally through Rotary:

https://www.rotary.org/en/about-rotary

Not sure what philanthropy means:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philanthropy

Philanthropy is a form of altruism that consists of "private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life". Philanthropy contrasts with business initiatives, which are private initiatives for private good, focusing on material gain; and with government endeavors, which are public initiatives for public good, notably focusing on provision of public services.[1] A person who practices philanthropy is a philanthropist.

The word philanthropy comes from Ancient Greek φιλανθρωπία (philanthrōpía) 'love of humanity', from phil- "love, fond of" and anthrōpos "humankind, mankind".[

Education, study, research – changing the world for the better with institutions like: The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is the world’s first school dedicated solely to the study and teaching of philanthropy.

https://philanthropy.iupui.edu/about/founding.html

Living her Legacy while she is alive to influence and impact it! 

Mackenzie Scott 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacKenzie_Scott

Mackenzie Scott (née Tuttle, formerly Bezos; April 7, 1970)[1][2] is an American novelist and philanthropist. As of December 2022, she has a net worth of US$27 billion, owing to a 4% stake in Amazon, the company founded by her ex-husband Jeff Bezos.[3] As such, Scott is the third-wealthiest woman in the United States and the 35th-wealthiest individual in the world.[4] Scott was named one of the world's most powerful women by Forbes in 2021, and one of Time's 100 Most Influential People of 2020.

Forbes reported, "the unrestricted and ultimately more trusting nature of Scott's philanthropy is the exception, not the norm in their world."[40] The New York Times noted that "Ms. Scott has turned traditional philanthropy on its head... by disbursing her money quickly and without much hoopla, Ms. Scott has pushed the focus away from the giver, and onto the nonprofits, she is trying to help."[51] Scott stated she believed "teams with experience on the front lines of challenges will know best how to put the money to good use."[37][52] According to a report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy, slightly more than half of the 277 nonprofit organizations surveyed stated that their grant from Scott has made fundraising easier, with some saying they are able to use it as leverage with other donors and the large gift "has enabled organizations to focus funds where they were most needed to achieve their mission."


Women are changing how we think about money and the research shows:

http://www.barbarastewart.ca/richthinking.html


About the Host:

 

Isabel Alexander

Your Next Business Strategist and Transformation Catalyst

 

Dynamic, a self-made entrepreneur who overcame obstacles with an unrelenting positive nature, a farm girl work ethic, and a conscious choice to thrive rather than survive, Isabel Alexander cultivated an award-winning, $10+ million global chemical business and grew it from dining room table to international boardrooms.

Isabel’s strengths include the ability to initiate and nurture strategic relationships, a love of lifelong learning and talents for helping others maximize their potential. An inspiring speaker within both industry and community, she is a driving force behind those with the courage to follow her example of thriving against the odds.

With 50+ years of business experience across diverse industries, Isabel is respected as an advisor, a coach, a mentor, and a role model. She believes in sharing collective wisdom and empowering others to economic independence.

 

Founder:

Lift As You Climb Movement (www.facebook.com/groups/liftasyouclimbmovement)

and

Chief Encore Officer, The Encore Catalyst (www.theencorecatalyst.com) – an accelerator for feminine wisdom, influence, and impact.

also

Author & Speaker ‘Who Am I Now? – Feminine Wisdom Unmasked Uncensored’ (www.IsabelBanerjee.com)

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/isabelalexanderbanerjee/

 

Thank You for Listening!

It means so much that you listened to this podcast! If you know of anyone else who might find this show valuable or entertaining, please share it on your favorite social media platform.

If you have questions about this episode, please send me an email at Hello@TheEncoreCatalyst.com

 

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Transcripts

Speaker:

My guest today on the podcast is Sheree Meredith, and although Sheree is right

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here in Ontario, Canada where I am, her impact, her influence, and her

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resources are relevant to everybody at any age, anywhere around the globe.

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I just loved connecting with Sheree and getting to know more about her

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and discovering that her 40 years of experience and leadership in the

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foundations, not-for-profit, and education sectors have culminated in her purpose,

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which is helping individuals really identify the values and the issues

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that create for them a personalized, meaningful, philanthropic plan.

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Sheree works with individuals and organizations and corporations

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to help them map it out so that it's really relevant.

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Her credentials are extensive.

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The details will be in the show notes and also the link to Sheree's website

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where she provides a lot of resources that I think you'll be lifted by.

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One of the things that really intrigued me on her website is the resource that she

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has, helping you to create the cornerstone of your legacy, and additionally, the

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seven steps to creating a giving circle.

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I didn't know until I talked with her today that anybody can create

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a giving circle anywhere, of any size of any theme, of any impact.

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So without further ado, welcoming our guest, Sheree Meredith.

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And I just know you're going to learn a lot today.

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It is gonna be a great conversation.

Isabel:

Welcome again everyone.

Isabel:

I hope you've had a fabulous week, and I am delighted today to bring to you another

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new resource, new connection to me.

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But I feel like I've known her forever because we have so much in common,

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including vocabulary because we were talking offline about being catalysts

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and lifelong learners and women that are continually looking to expand our impact.

Isabel:

So today, please welcome to the Lift As You Climb podcast, Sheree

Isabel:

Meredith from Ontario, Canada, and Sheree has a business called Sheree

Isabel:

Meredith Consulting but wow, there's a whole lot more to her background.

Isabel:

I've invited Sheree to be here today to help me really clear up the mystery,

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the intimidation, perhaps around the word philanthropy, and how each of us

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as individuals can find the right way to make a difference, make a contribution,

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create the legacy that is really aligned with our own values and interests.

Isabel:

So please welcome Sheree.

Isabel:

Good morning.

Sheree:

Good morning, Isabel.

Sheree:

Thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest.

Sheree:

I appreciate it.

Isabel:

Well, I'm really delighted that, and this is another thing

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that I think is wonderful.

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We talked a little bit that women have this fabulous ability to build communities

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and collaborations and share connections and so it is, through one of my other

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guests on the show, Lisa Bilodeau with 100 Women who Care Burlington, the

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Giving Circle, that I became aware of, Sheree and her work and what she is

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doing to help us all kind of figure out at this time in our life, like really...

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How do we create a difference?...

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And not feel like we just don't have enough resources,

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or we don't know how to begin.

Isabel:

Sheree, please talk to me a little more, about what we were sharing earlier about

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like how does somebody figure out, how to get started and , what really is aligned

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with their own values and place in life.

Sheree:

Absolutely and this is something that I could talk for hours about so you

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can redirect me as we go, and I'd like to start with that word, philanthropy that

Sheree:

you mentioned, Isabel, because it's a very old word and I think it's a lovely word.

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Some people think it's old fashioned and we should get rid of it,

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but, I'm hesitant to do that.

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It really means love of humankind.

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And I think instead of getting rid of it, we should modernize

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it and really use it well.

Sheree:

When I start talking about philanthropy, often people start by

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saying, I'm not a philanthropist.

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And I'm sure in their mind they have a picture of honestly, old, wealthy,

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white men who've given millions, have their names on buildings, and

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have done some phenomenal things.

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But the average person would say, that's not me.

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They're very different.

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They have more money, they have more power.

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They're men.

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There's lots of reasons why people say I'm not a philanthropist.

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So what I've been trying to really help people think about in my work, and this

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is paralleled, I think in the field of philanthropy at the moment, is a real

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broadening of how we think about it.

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And also, shifting of some very traditional structures that

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have been in philanthropy and one is that shifting of power.

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The donor had all the money.

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The recipient was the charitable person who had to be grateful and

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kind of do whatever the donor wanted.

Sheree:

And all of that has been shaken up a lot recently.

Sheree:

But the other thing, and I think another very positive piece is that people are

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saying philanthropy is about making a difference in something you care about.

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Maybe that's a social issue.

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Maybe it's improving the environment.

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Maybe it's sustaining good things that you valued in your community

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that you want the to be there forever.

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We all have those things that we value.

Sheree:

And part of the philanthropy angle that I take is, I'd really love for us to

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move away from that charitable model of giving back and helping the disadvantaged.

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And that sort of, "I have.

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You don't."

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kind of notion.

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We all have gifts, we all have things.

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And the notion rather that, It's part of being a, citizen in a civil

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society to contribute and shape the world of the future, right?

Sheree:

So when you think of philanthropy that way, it's important to

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really think, well, it's much more than writing a check, right?

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How do you make a difference in an area that's important to you?

Sheree:

There's so many more ways of doing that.

Sheree:

So the first step is figuring out what is important to you and what do you value?

Sheree:

Sometimes people go to advisors and they're given a values checklist and they

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check off five, and then you're done.

Sheree:

I think it's more important to think about the things that have been important in

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your life, the stories, if you like, the people you've admired, what's created

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positive change, positive things in your life, and begin to build that.

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And likewise, the things that concern you.

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What do you worry about in the world?

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And we have so many complex things to deal with.

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There's such a range of possibilities, but really figuring

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out if you can narrow it down.

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What is the issue or area where you really feel very strongly that you

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would like to make a difference?

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And then I encourage people, if you like to put that at the center of

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a wheel, their philanthropy wheel.

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and some people even create a little vision statement

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that I would like to do this.

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And then I encourage people to think about all of the resources, all of

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the things in their life and their, including their talents, their own,

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capabilities, that could be drawn on to make a difference related to this.

Sheree:

And that's where it becomes much more than a check, and it becomes, accessible

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to all of us at any point in our life.

Sheree:

I'll give you an example.

Sheree:

I was working with a young woman once who had a very senior, professional

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job, young kids, had an hour commute to work and she said to me, Sheree,

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I honestly don't have an ounce of money, strength, time, whatever,

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to do anything philanthropic.

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And I, we talked a little bit more and she was saying, you know, about

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environmental issues and whatever.

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So I said, well, do you talk to your kids about those?

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And she said, oh yes, we do this, this, and this, and I teach them that

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and environmentally we're doing this.

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And I said, you are making a significant difference there by what you're teaching

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your children and creating a generation that will be more responsible stewards

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of the environment, and that's worth more than a hundred dollar check.

Sheree:

That is a really important thing that you're doing right now.

Sheree:

So is that philanthropy?

Sheree:

Not in the traditional definition, is that making a difference

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in something you care about?

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Yes!

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Hugely!

Sheree:

So when you look at that wheel and all the possible areas, it's

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important to look at your finances.

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Increasingly now, people are looking at their investments.

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Where is my money invested?

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Is it aligned with what I care about?

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Or am I being concerned about one thing, actually investing in

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companies that work against that.

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That whole, or could I bulk up my investments to support

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one area more than others?

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So there's that part of.

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The money side too.

Sheree:

There's your time and some of the traditional things of doing

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volunteer work, but also there's your networks and so how do you mobilize

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your book club, your workplace?

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People who run small businesses have an excellent opportunity to align

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some of their, corporate social good with their personal values or their

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values of their employees, your neighborhood, your children's activities.

Sheree:

For each person, the things around that circle will be

Sheree:

unique, but they're extensive.

Sheree:

All of us have opportunities that way.

Isabel:

I really like that perspective that you put on it, Sheree.

Isabel:

Thinking of it's not just about do you have a lot of money or some money

Isabel:

that you want to donate somewhere.

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I love the fact that each one of us have, what I'd call a currency of influence.

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They are connections, our personal connections, our business

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connections, all of our network.

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, and how do you bring that to play besides selling them a raffle

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ticket or something for a charity.

Isabel:

Right?

Isabel:

, I love the fact that you're helping us to redefine our relationship with the

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word philanthropy; where it used to be almost an anonymous transaction, write

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a check and the money goes somewhere.

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Particularly, I think there are some, many of us that had kind of a bad

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taste in our mouth with some charities when we found out how much of the

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money we were giving, what percentage was going to administrative costs.

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And as you say, maybe you.

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It was a different act.

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It was like I, I would've thought before that I needed to give

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a check to one of those larger branded charitable or fundraisers,

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Now, I'm feeling I have an opportunity to get really relatable

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t o my personal values and whether it's in my community or as you say,

Isabel:

like I have nine grandchildren, how my legacy can be impacting them

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around awareness and, perspective on how they can make a difference

Isabel:

just by their simple daily actions.

Sheree:

There's a lot of research.

Sheree:

If I can interject there about what you're exactly, to your point is

Sheree:

Isabel and also some of what tend to be gender differences between women's

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philanthropy and male philanthropy.

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And there's pretty solid research, from the LILLY Family Institute, of

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women's philanthropy in the US and also from a woman named Barbara Stewart

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out of Canada who does, research annually looking at women in money,

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so a whole range of topics and.

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They all talk about how women tend to approach things a little differently

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and want to understand, and so take a little bit more time sometimes to

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understand the complexity of things.

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And I, I think when you think of women's traditional roles in family and

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child rearing and all that, they have a pretty solid understanding things

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aren't just black and white ; that there's complexity, there's situational

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differences, and women tend to take the time, the research tells us to

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understand that, and to then will take risks in how they deploy their resources.

Sheree:

And we're seeing some of that right now with some of the high profile

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philanthropists, people like Mackenzie Scott, who's just given away millions

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and millions of dollars, and she does the due diligence, or her people do

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the due diligence in term determine the organization is, solid and doing

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their job and then gives them money.

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She doesn't try to control where that money goes.

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She gives them supporting operating money and it's that trust, right?

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So women are more comfortable, often like trusting that.

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Women also, have a greater opportunity these days than ever they have in the past

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historically, because they're controlling more money, they earn their own money,

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they're acquiring it through divorce.

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They're managing their elderly parents' money.

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They also are the key people for teaching children and grandchildren.

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So it's actually a really critical role that we're playing and has bigger

Sheree:

opportunity to make a difference.

Isabel:

You're inspiring me to put you on the spot here on the air and ask,

Isabel:

since International Women's Day is coming up pretty soon, I would love

Isabel:

it if you would come back and talk more specifically on that women and giving

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and the power that we have to influence.

Isabel:

That is the grandest form of lifting and climbing.

Isabel:

And let's talk specifically about some of that research and data and share that it.

Sheree:

I would love to do that.

Sheree:

Can I give an example, Isabel that I use?

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A nd for some people who are sitting out there trying to picture this wheel

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with all this, and I should say that, I can, share that tool with people if

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they're interested and they can go to my website and I'll email it to you

Sheree:

. I often use the example of a

Sheree:

in Hamilton was, a big reader.

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Loved books.

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Books had always been part of her life growing up.

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And it came to her attention that down in the north end of a city where people

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are more economically challenged, that a lot of those children had no books.

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A lot of them were from new Canadian families, and so their parents

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may not be as literate in English.

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So there, there were all sorts of things related to reading and

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accessing books, as well as the joy and the benefits of reading.

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So she decided she would donate money to the school and, help

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support an afterschool program.

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But then she also started to think about what are the other ways and

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who else could she bring into this?

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And she developed a whole network of doing things.

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One, she rushed off to her book club and got others interested

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because they of course were all shared that passion, right?

Sheree:

She spoke at her Rotary Club and got them engaged.

Sheree:

She realized that there were a couple of the little book Free

Sheree:

Book Libraries um, um, down in the north end that were always empty.

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So she and her daughter, went about keeping those full.

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So she would take books from her own house, from her neighborhood,

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from her friends, and move books down to another neighborhood.

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It just snowballed.

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Then she began thinking, I've heard of the Dolly Parton

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Foundation that gives books.

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Could we make application?

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So it got bigger and bigger and it was meaningful, it was fun!

Sheree:

And there is research that says philanthropy helps keep you healthy.

Sheree:

It's good for you in that you feel positive, you're making a difference.

Sheree:

And for women, you're often connecting with other people too.

Sheree:

Writing a check's a very lonely kind of thing to do, but the engagement

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of others with something that you all care about, doing things where you

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can see you're making a difference and it's a model for others.

Sheree:

The research also shows that doing and talking about it with your children and

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grandchildren, is good for them too, and raises children who believe that they

Sheree:

have a commitment and an opportunity to make a difference in the world.

Sheree:

And I think personally, we're all struggling with that a bit these days.

Sheree:

The issues are so complex.

Sheree:

Covid has made everybody feel a little bit more isolated and probably disempowered

Sheree:

and that we need to reengage, if you like, and to find the joy in that.

Sheree:

So again, that's a very simple example, a very local example, but you could take

Sheree:

that around any interest and begin to have some fun with it too, as a model.

Isabel:

I just I couldn't have planned this out.

Isabel:

This is entirely synchronicity that what everything you just spoke about.

Isabel:

Part of the reason that I refined the format of this podcast to, to showcase

Isabel:

people like yourself, who were out there actively making a difference and

Isabel:

creating new paths forward for others to do so, was about the isolation that I

Isabel:

was noticing for people during, after, post Covid, and there was a focus on

Isabel:

purpose instead of pandemic the word on people's minds seemed to be purpose.

Isabel:

Like 'What's it all about Alfie?"

Isabel:

was one of my recent topics.

Isabel:

My first interview on this season was with a woman who started the

Isabel:

Pajama Program in the US which was about storybooks and pajamas for

Isabel:

disenfranchised children and the importance of that and the ripple

Isabel:

effect and how Oprah became involved.

Isabel:

They've touched the lives of seven and a half million children and growing.

Isabel:

It's that women coming together.

Isabel:

Yes, yes.

Isabel:

The community, the human connection.

Isabel:

And then my next episode is a woman in Rotary in Bali, Indonesia.

Isabel:

And how she and her Rotary group, came together to teach sewing and crocheting

Isabel:

to local women to provide income from them so they could work from a home.

Sheree:

The stories go on, don't they though?

Sheree:

It's not that men don't do these things, but there are some patterns

Sheree:

that have been typical over the generations of how women do things.

Sheree:

I bet everybody listening to this could probably, if I said to them,

Sheree:

so if you had something that needed to be done in your community, you

Sheree:

know the three people you would call that would make it happen, right?

Sheree:

Women get things done, and whether it's something for their children's

Sheree:

school or rallying meals for the person who lives next door, who's just had

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surgery or whatever it is in our lives.

Sheree:

And so, it's a drawing on that kind of thing that really makes

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the fabric of society strong.

Sheree:

You can read all the research about how we've become, more distant as

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a society and we don't have social connections, but you have to build

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those and, everybody begins to build theirs and then we add those together.

Sheree:

It's like an impressionist painting, . It does make a difference to the big issues.

Sheree:

All the small dots make the big painting.

Sheree:

I think it's really important that we be a bit more, - I'm not a big user of

Sheree:

the word intentional - but I think that we need to take all those opportunities

Sheree:

we can right now in our society to make sure that people feel engaged.

Sheree:

I know a lot of people feel very stretched, p hysically and

Sheree:

emotionally, financially right now.

Sheree:

, and so, you don't want it to be one more thing, but I think there is scale

Sheree:

and sometimes injecting something positive into that really stressful

Sheree:

life really is refreshing, right?

Sheree:

And so it's a matter of finding the right thing and the right amount of things.

Sheree:

I want to mention one more thing because again, I'm here in Hamilton,

Sheree:

Ontario, and there's a woman here by the name of Amy Cross who developed

Sheree:

this amazing thing called Gender Fair.

Sheree:

It's largely in the US but it's an index of businesses, and she developed this

Sheree:

whole system of rating them on their gender related policies and practices.

Sheree:

So, again, you think of how much of the family finances that women control

Sheree:

the spending, and when you're buying something, you can go on this index

Sheree:

and compare companies about how they are rated on gender related policies.

Sheree:

So everything from their personnel policies to how people show up in their

Sheree:

advertising; a ny number of things.

Sheree:

And so you can make choices on spending.

Sheree:

If gender equity is something you're interested in, you can make choices

Sheree:

on what you buy that will support that issue that you care about.

Sheree:

We all shop every day for something.

Isabel:

Thank you.

Isabel:

I would appreciate an introduction, to her.

Sheree:

Yes, she'd be an interesting guest.

Isabel:

Wonderful guest.

Isabel:

And I'd also like to get the details and I will include in this episode, show notes

Isabel:

and transcript, your contact information, and also any other organizations that

Isabel:

you recommend, for people to, consider and evaluate because it is about

Isabel:

personal choice and personal connection.

Isabel:

I know you have, an important engagement and a hard stop coming up soon, but before

Isabel:

I let you go, I want the commitment that we can get to do this again, but

Isabel:

also just to sort of bring it down I think we've put out a lot of ideas and

Isabel:

possibilities for people to consider.

Isabel:

Not doing anything is a choice, and not knowing what

Isabel:

to choose can also be daunting.

Isabel:

But I believe that you have a tool or a resource that begins

Isabel:

to help people "Get a picture".

Isabel:

Could you talk a little bit about that today and how my

Isabel:

audience can, take advantage of what you're offering with that?

Sheree:

Absolutely.

Sheree:

So I do have a tool that walks you through the process of beginning

Sheree:

with thinking about what's important to you and some of the more deeper

Sheree:

questions to ask through to beginning to map this out and then, refining

Sheree:

that down to where you want to start.

Sheree:

It doesn't tell you what organization to invest in.

Sheree:

It doesn't tell you whether you should make, gifts of stocks or whatever.

Sheree:

It's not that end.

Sheree:

It's the upfront end, which I think is often overlooked.

Sheree:

It's the key to being meaningful and key, I think, to having impact.

Sheree:

So people can get that tool, through my website.

Sheree:

You just need to express your interest and I will send it to you.

Sheree:

I also offer workshops online or in person periodically, so if people want some help,

Sheree:

either in a group or individually, cuz having someone ask you those questions,

Sheree:

facilitate that discussion can be helpful.

Sheree:

Some people just need the tools.

Sheree:

So both are options through my website.

Isabel:

I most definitely will provide that information to everybody.

Isabel:

And just to clarify, so Sheree, would you offer your c onsulting or coaching

Isabel:

to individuals as well as groups that might be interested or companies as

Sheree:

well?

Sheree:

Yes, absolutely.

Sheree:

I'm really happy to do workshops for a group too.

Sheree:

I was talking to a woman's service club the other night and they were

Sheree:

having trouble figuring out where they wanted to put their flag in

Sheree:

the ground around this bigger issue.

Sheree:

Access to education, I think is one their bigger issue for women, s o even

Sheree:

a group like that, helping them walk through that process and narrow down

Sheree:

their strategy ... It's almost like strategic planning for a group like that

Sheree:

because those kinds of decisions can be very difficult for a group to make.

Sheree:

Sometimes it starts at the end, well, we could give to this organization

Sheree:

or that, as opposed to really building from the beginning, and

Sheree:

then getting to a meaningful end.

Isabel:

As Simon Sinek highlighted for us, if you don't start with the WHY,

Isabel:

it's very, very difficult to do that.

Isabel:

Alright.

Isabel:

Sheree, thank you very much.

Isabel:

This is the beginning, I believe, of what we can share with everybody

Isabel:

and hopefully we've ignited a few sparks and at least inspired some

Isabel:

curiosity to learn a little more.

Isabel:

And maybe Miriam Webster will redefine the definition of philanthropy with our help.

Sheree:

Thank You so much.

Sheree:

It's been a pleasure.

Isabel:

Thank you.

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