Sunday, October 29, 2017

Living Mindfully in the Digital Age

In a digital world, we suffer from a wealth of information and a poverty of attention. Distracted by the constant feed of brain stimuli, we forget what it means to inhabit our lives. We look without seeing as we multitask through the day, depriving ourselves of the gift of being present.


Listening to Jon Kabat-Zinn, Daniel Goldman, Richard Davison and Sharon Salzberg, thought leaders in the field of mindfulness, I shut down my phone to shut off the world and listen deeply to wisdom shared by Arianna Huffington, Jewel and others at Wisdom 2.0's Mindfulness in America Summit.

Be Here Now is my favorite mantra yet it it the lesson I am prone to forgetting. Even harder to master is the Buddhist core of compassion practice, to begin by being compassionate with myself. We are here also to care for our selves.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

How Women Lead in Philanthropy

“We are all more capable than we could ever imagine or admit to. We need to make sure that we are using that power now, and not waiting for a different time or when we’re more ready. We’re ready now. We need to do.” ~ Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg

When my husband, Russ Berrie, died in 2002 my philanthropic journey took a lonely turn. The gift of that harrowing loss was life-saving as it gave me the opportunity to embark on a lifelong learning journey that I could never have imagined.

Finding my voice as a woman in philanthropy, discovering other women who shared the wisdom of experience with me, learning by doing how philanthropy expresses who you are in how you give, taught me leadership lessons that no philanthropy guru could ever impart.
Rebecca Gratz painted by Thomas Sully, 1831

The landscape in relation to women and philanthropy is shifting. While women today own one-third of America's private businesses and control more than 51% of the wealth in the United States, the perception exists that "women don’t give big donations" and "women have to ask their husbands before they can give money."

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Fourth of July

Langston Hughes' poem stirs memories of the American Dream - what America used to be, a country of immigrants who made it the great nation it is today.

O, let America be America again
The land that never has been
— The land that never has been
yet— And yet must be—the land
where every man is free.
The land that's mine—the poor
man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME—
Who made America, Whose
sweat and blood, whose faith
and pain, Whose hand at the
foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty
dream again. 


*NPRLin-Manuel Miranda has released an incredibly striking and stylized music video — really more of an impressionistic mini-film — for the song "Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)" featuring K'NAAN, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC and Residente.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

She-roes: Power. Wisdom. Compassion. Wonder.

In 1941 when female superheroes were rare, Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston, a psychologist who invented the lie-detecting polygraph machine. Conceived as an out-of-the-box superhero, She triumphed over evil with feminine virtues of wisdom and compassion. "Sired" by an Amazonian queen, imbued with powers from the gods, this "She-ro" brought Greek mythology and feminist values to fight for peace, justice, and equality.


The only female comic book character with stories continuously published for the past seventy-five years, Wonder Woman's longevity is a testament to her global appeal as an icon of woman power. Generations of girls resonated with her message of empowerment to become fearless women.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Breaking Our Hearts for Humanity

"One of the most important things I’ve learned in my work is that you have to let your heart break. When you connect with people who are suffering, you have to force yourself not to turn away from their pain, but to share in it, and carry it with you, wherever you go. Because, in time, that pain hardens into strength, into conviction - and it motivates us to act. " ~ Melinda Gates


Philanthropists are lovers of humanity. In the practice of philanthropy, we are exposed to the brokenness in the world and are given the opportunity to repair what we can. We cannot heal everything but if we can transform one life, we can save the world.


Discovering what it is we want to repair is the starting point of the philanthropic quest. We lead with the heart and develop a mission and strategy around our passion to create the change we want to see.