Guest commentary: Brenda Tate ...

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We Americans are generous people, but we don’t always plan and balance our charitable portfolio like we do our investments.

We drop coins into a bucket at the mall entrance or give a few dollars when asked, often wondering if we’re really make a difference at all. With so many needs to meet, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

I would rather choose a few organizations that fit our values and priorities, and then confidently make substantial donations over the long term — like investing in a blue-chip stock.

Before choosing, I go through a check list and ask myself does the non-profit:

1. Have personal meaning for us?

2. Address the deepest needs?

3. Embrace complexity?

4. Spend money wisely?

5. Balance short- and long-term change?

6. Make a genuine impact?

7. Appear in a non-profit rating service like GuideStar.org?

Against that background, I suggest The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida.

We have a vision to enhance the quality of life for women and girls of the community through innovative philanthropy.

The mission matters.

In its short history, The Women’s Fund is making an impact. Currently, The Women’s Fund is focused on strategies to address human trafficking and boost economic stability for women.

I was a single mother in the 1970s. Juggling parenting, multiple jobs and school consumed me for years, as I admired the women’s movement from the sidelines. Now it’s time to step forward, honor the women who came before us, be role models for our adult children and grandchildren and give forward.

The Women’s Fund is a great platform to strategically invest in solutions to complex issues.

I know philanthropy is supposed to be altruistic but the truth is, I’d rather be involved in a cause that inspires me, challenges me to grow, and adds deep meaning to life.

Now that’s something to celebrate.

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