Philanthropy is wide awake in Tacoma! No Rip Van Winkle here

“In photo at left, Jamie Chase Tacoma played host to a special woman on Thursday. Dorothy Ridings, past president for the League of Women Voters and current president of the Council on Foundations, spoke at The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation’s nineteenth annual celebration held at the Tacoma Club. The event to celebrate philanthropy was the last place I expected to hear praise for and concerned analysis of technology.The theme of her speech, Rip Van Winkle’s twenty-year nap, pointed to the nineteenth anniversary of Tacoma’s foundation with praise that our community did not sleep. Using this vehicle, Ridings shed light on many unfounded judgments against technology and its young employees and entrepreneurs.This is a whole new era of philanthropy, said Ridings. There has been a sea of change including technology, wealth, visibility, new players, new outreach and new collaborations.Technology was a factor in most of the changes. Ridings cited reports showing half of the biggest foundations were created since 1980. The Gates Foundation was one of the six organizations cited. Ridings praised the philanthropy of young people and clearly spoke to the many critics of generation X.They are wrong, said Ridings. More young people volunteer than vote. They act where they can see results. Ridings said the younger generation is one of the most philanthropically active. She discussed the new distribution of wealth to young high-tech employees and entrepreneurs and explained the creation of new opportunities for giving among their demographic. Citing author Paul Shervish, Ridings claimed a recent one hundred trillion dollar transfer of wealth.Online newsletters were credited for increasing the visibility of community foundation and other non-profits while inciting new outreach and new collaborations. Recommended newsletters include the Foundation Center, Philanthropy Roundtable, Nonprofit Xpress and COF’s.Ridings was critical of one new technology. She described a donation process that separates the giver from the community.I am concerned about online giving, said Ridings. It causes individuals to give alone.Donation Depot is a local company viewed by many at Pacific Lutheran University as philanthropic in nature. The university has signed an exclusive agreement with Donation Depot for its alumni to make online donations through the company’s web site.Online giving is just one more tool in PLU’s fundraising toolbox, said Matt Ashworth, Vice President of Donation Depot, who graduated from PLU. We certainly don’t want to deter the face-to-face contact that makes philanthropy special, but statistics show that more and more young adults are conducting business online. That means that providing donors with a safe, easy way to donate online will become more and more important in the future. I’m very happy that we’re able to help our alma mater offer this service. We are involved in PLU’s future and want others to be as well.Ashworth said that the Internet also plays a role in linking nonprofits with physical volunteers. In addition to secure online giving, provides a volunteer matching service, which allows nonprofits and universities like Pacific Lutheran University to post volunteer opportunities in an online database that can be seen by anyone with an Internet access. In 1999, community foundations nationwide claimed thirty billion dollars in assets. This figure is up 20 percent from 1998, doubled since 1995 and tripled since 1994. Each week in Tacoma, I hear many claims that technology companies don’t give enough to the community. It is refreshing to hear a credible voice shed new light on the topic. Even the young entrepreneurs at Donation Depot break the mold in America’s #1 Wired City to address Riding’s one technology concern. As the company brings volunteer opportunities and convenience to philanthropy, I predict a dramatic increase in the assets of charitable organizations like community foundations. About Jamie Chase: Jamie Chase is the vice president of public and investor relations for COntractQuest, a developer of wireless and PC-based workgroup tools and online communities for associations. They are located in downtown Tacoma. About is a complete online giving community whose main focus is to educate consumers on the financial and tax benefits of charitable giving. In addition, they offer online services that make researching charities, finding volunteer opportunities, and donating to charity easy, safe and fun.Visitors to the site can scroll through 32 pages of state-wide charities. With one click on the charity’s name–from churchs to little leagues, universities to health organizations–readers can find out why a charity was established and what benefits it offers. For example, a featured charity on the DonationDepot website this month is Friends of Rainier Jets, organized to fund and promote girls fast-pitch softball in urban areas to compete in local, regional and national tournaments. Online donating is safe. They use secure payment methods such as BBB Online and SSL 128 bit encryption. DonationDepot’s service is free for all donors and all US 501(c)3 non-profit organizations. They can be contacted at: 253/593-4483, or visit their website at: “