In 1998, The Moniker Foundation was created as a way to simply give back to the community through supporting worthy organizations and post-secondary students. At this time Moniker was doing, if we were to place a label on it, “checkbook philanthropy.” “Checkbook philanthropy,” while sometimes viewed with a negative connotation, is spontaneous philanthropy – a response to an appeal for funding combined with personal values of what one deems to be a worthy cause.
Over the past 17 years, with specific attention to the last three years, Moniker has modified its philanthropic role in serving the community. In our hope to be more intentional, Moniker has made the shift towards “responsive philanthropy.” “Responsive philanthropy” is just that, responsive. Donors and foundations respond to formal requests, typically in a designated focus area. Our focus areas are two-fold - education and/or human services.
Moniker’s Structured Giving Program is an ideal representation of “responsive philanthropy,” in that organizations fill out a formal request and these requests are reviewed through a formal grant committee. This year has been the most rewarding year yet in terms of the diversity and location of the requests. As we finalize our review for our 2014-2015 grant recipients, we celebrate 26 requests from 7 different Colorado counties. Out of 64 counties, it may not seem like that much of an expanse, but for our family foundation, for the first time, we get to be more strategic in our grant making.
Yet, still being family oriented keeps an interesting dynamic at the table. We still value “checkbook philanthropy” as it provides a way for family members to explore the world of giving back through their own passions and values. Our Family Giving Grants Program supports the other side of the pendulum. Family members have the opportunity to act as the community chest for organizations that need resources more immediately. They also share a piece in the big picture, 30,000 foot view, of Moniker – further cultivating generational interest in the perpetuity of our family foundation.
So, while we have picked up the new world of giving back, we still remain tied to our roots. Our hope is to balance “checkbook philanthropy” with “responsive philanthropy” in an attempt to keep our family foundation flexible yet intentional.