If ever there were a person who understood philanthropy, it's Betsy Mangone. She has worked in the realm of charitable giving from all sides. Before her retirement in 2009, she was Vice President of the Philanthropic Services Group for The Denver Foundation. Prior to that she was in the major gift and planned giving field for 26 years. During that time she served as Vice President of the University of Colorado Foundation and President of Mangone & Co., a consulting firm that advised philanthropic families, colleges, and universities, and nonprofit organizations in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Even in retirement Betsy serves on The Denver Foundation Board of Trustees and chairs its Philanthropic Services Committee.
Betsy, what does philanthropy mean to you?
It's about investing in a much greater understanding of our community and its needs in a way that I, you, nor anyone else can understand or accomplish alone.
I was asked by [former President and CEO] David Miller to come work for The Denver Foundation. The reason I agreed was I believed in the mission and felt that I could identify with it. Once I began here, I got to know the staff and to see how excellent they are. I got to know donors and learned that they are the most thoughtful and resourceful people; their motives are always to do the very best they can to contribute to the community and nonprofits.
What inspires you to be charitable?
I think many of the reasons I am inspired to be charitable are the same that inspire everyone: the opportunity to help causes and people who are not as fortunate and to make a difference. But I have begun to realize that this opportunity is not only reserved for a few. Growing up in Pennsylvania, I saw the work my mom did as a devout volunteer for the Clearfield Orphanage. She did not consider herself a philanthropist. but was.
How has charitable-giving influenced your family?
We have a family fund -- my husband, Peter, and our two children, Jamie and Jason. We've had wonderful conversations regarding who we would like to support and why, and have allowed our children to select the charities we contribute to over the years.
Any examples you can share?
Yes. We supported the Red Rhino Orphanage in Africa because my son climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. He noticed that the guide who led his group climbed in men's dress shoes because he didn't have gym shoes. As an orphan, he couldn't afford them. That image made such an impression on my son that he wanted to help.
What have you learned about philanthropists that you can share?
I've learned that most people who give don't do so because of tax or legal benefits. They give because they feel they are making a difference. I like to talk to them about supporting the organizations they believe in without negatively impacting their own estate and financial goals. There are so many ways to structure gifts to benefit donors as well as the organizations.
When we use the word philanthropist it's not about how much you give, it's just that you give. When you do, you're a philanthropist!
Are you ready to make a difference with your giving?The Denver Foundation helps generous people like you to make a difference in our community and beyond.We can help you create a personalized fund to accomplish your philanthropic goals. If you have questions, contact Kelly Purdy with the Philanthropic Services Group, firstname.lastname@example.org
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