The Carnegie Corporation named the 2022 recipients of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy during an August 3 the Chronicle forum. Among the winners was Stacy Schusterman, who joined the Chronicle editor Stacy Palmer for a wide-ranging discussion that included Regan Pritzker, co-founder of the Kataly Foundation, and Anne Earard, a former Carnegie Medalist and founder of the Marisla Foundation. During the forum, titled Women Philanthropists: Leading the Way for Change, panelists shared the lessons they learned while leading their family foundations. They discussed whether recent global crises have changed their giving and talked about the power of philanthropy to improve people’s lives. Read on for highlights of the conversation or watch the full session below.
During the pandemic, says Schusterman, presidents of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, the group has pursued new approaches, such as giving more to individuals, but many of the key areas of its founding have remained the same. Founded by her parents in 1987, the foundation primarily supports criminal justice reform, education, gender and reproductive equity, Jewish and Israel causes, efforts to strengthen suffrage, and charitable works. charities in the family’s hometown of Tulsa, Okla. Schusterman is a businesswoman who spent a decade running her family’s oil and gas exploration company and later co-founded a real estate investment firm and a clean energy company.
The pandemic and other recent events, says Schusterman, show how quickly societal systems that are vital to people and a well-functioning democracy can be weakened or threatened. For example, says Schusterman, the pandemic has shown the importance of access to paid time off and childcare assistance, as so many women have had to leave the workforce to care for sick loved ones. or vulnerable. Moreover, the reversal of Roe vs. Wade this summer highlighted the link between women’s control over decisions to have children and their ability to fully participate in the economy. Additionally, the racial reckoning after significant police killings of people of color in 2020 has exposed flaws in the criminal justice system, and efforts to reduce people’s access to the vote could jeopardize democracy.
“We’re really doubling down on all of those things by joining collaborations and listening to communities and getting their feedback on how we can work more collaboratively with them to help solve the issues that affect those communities the most,” Schusterman says.
“We take a long-term approach by providing multi-year general operating grants to our grantees so they can be more nimble in addressing these issues.”
Anne Earhart says her giving hasn’t changed much since 2020 because she and her small team of staff felt it was important to continue supporting current grantees through difficult times – even groups that have had to change. guidance or found themselves unable to carry out their missions. Sometimes when charities change what they do, the foundations that support them will stop supporting them because of that change. She didn’t want to do this.
Marisla has paid special retreats for the leaders of the nonprofits she supports so they can learn from each other how to respond to unprecedented challenges, Earhart says. “The focus was on self-care and how to deal with the enormous stress they were under trying to keep their organizations going and their staff going.”
An heir to the Getty oil fortune, Earhart supports marine conservation, energy and climate programs, efforts to reduce toxic chemicals in the environment, and health and social service groups through Marisla . The foundation has supported, among others, Nature Conservancy, Oceana and the Resources Legacy Fund.
Regan Pritzker, an heiress to the Hyatt hotel fortune, said advocacy is an especially important aspect of many of the grants she helps lead through her family’s Libra Foundation and her own Kataly Foundation. Much of the grants from both go to social justice nonprofits that are primarily led by people of color, and many of these groups have started 501(c)(4) offshoots, which can be more actively involved in politics than a traditional one. 501(c)(3) charity. As for her own political gifts, Pritzker said she’s been away from it for a long time.
“I resisted being a political funder for many years because of the unsavory feeling of being a wealthy person disproportionately influencing politics,” Pritzker said. “But I learned [from working with advisers] that you can be a political donor in ways that strengthen grassroots organizing and transfer that power to the organizations you support.
Schusterman says wealthy donors should give as much as they can now instead of waiting until their senior years, and they should give multi-year general operating grants. Earhart agreed that providing general, long-term support is the best way for donors to make a difference.
“I want organizations to do what they do best and not spend their time fundraising,” Earhart said. “I consider keeping the lights on and the rent paid is the best way to support these organizations. It might not be very sexy, but it’s important to let them do their thing.