Posts written by “Joop Rubens


Mandela’s Vision and Everyday Heroes

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How do we accept a world without Nelson Mandela? There are few other human beings who embody the “love of humanity” to the extent Mandela did. He was the ultimate philanthropist. Even though we all knew his incredible life was coming to a close, accepting a world without this wonderful man is hard. We are left with memories of a courageous life we followed and admired from afar. We saw a man walk out of prison defining reconciliation and forgiveness. We [...]

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She Is Our Child

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John Mulwa and Anna Munini met 59 years ago at a dance. After John finished secondary school, they were married. Together they raised seven children, while farming maize and beans on two acres of land in Nguluni, Kenya. Eighteen years ago their daughter Esther left her baby, Joyce, in their care. Esther later died of complications from AIDS. John and Anna unconditionally committed to raising Joyce, who was born with disabilities preventing her from walking and speaking. Despite their devotion to Joyce, [...]

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Meet Bella, our Youngest Donor

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“It is Fun to Share!” Nine-year old Isabella Parks, or ‘Bella’ as she likes to be called, lives in Half Moon Bay. She is just another fourth grader, who loves horses, her dog Lola, and who wants to become a vet. Except, this young girl is intent on changing some of the inequalities she sees around her. She is also Firelight’s youngest donor, which is why I invited Bella and her parents, Andrea and David, to come down to Santa Cruz for [...]

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It’s About the ROCI: Return on Conference Investment

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I used to question the value of conferences. They are expensive when you add up the flights, hotels, meals – Isn’t that money better spent on programmatic work that directly serves our grantees? As foundations we rightly and continually scrutinize our administrative expenses. We owe that to our donors and grantees. Over the years however, I have come to recognize the tremendous value of a well-organized conference. Ultimately, grantmaking is relationship building. The obvious relationship is the one between the grantor [...]

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Tools of Engagement

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Miami is wonderful. It’s also where the 2012 COF Family Philanthropy Conference is happening. Although we are only one day in, I can safely say that traveling from California was well worth it. The setting is gorgeous of course, and I’ve been posting images of the harbor, the art deco buildings on my personal Facebook profile. But in the end I’m here for the inspiring sessions and the wonderful collegiality I always find among fellow grantmakers. A particular session that stood out today [...]

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