The Power of Philanthropy: 2019 Year in Review

Category: News

As 2019 comes to a close, Benefactor Group celebrates the successes of our clients and colleagues and their accomplishments over the past year. 

Several Benefactor Group clients received notable gifts during 2019—some were the largest in the organization’s history. 

In November, Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego announced a landmark gift of $200 million from Ernest and Evelyn Rady. The investment, one of the largest gifts made to a children’s hospital, will help Rady Children’s Hospital reimagine the pediatric healing environment.

Also in November, the National 4-H Council announced a gift of $1 million from Andrew Bosworth, a 4-H alum and Facebook executive. His personal gift will expand access and engagement of 4-H STEM programming. 

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation funded several projects this year, including an award of $3 million to New York’s Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy in October. The funding will support new five-year capital projects as well as planning and operational support. 

The Wilson Foundation also helped fund a structural renovation project for the historic Belle Isle Conservancy in Detroit. The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory reopened this summer after a $2.5 million structural renovation project, $1 million of which was funded by a grant from the Wilson Foundation. 

The Cincinnati Ballet recently announced plans to build the Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance in Walnut Hills. The Valentines gave the Cincinnati Ballet $10 million – the Ballet’s largest gift ever. Combined with a gift from Rhonda and Larry A. Sheakley, the donations are the final pieces to the Ballet’s campaign to make the move possible. 

Our friends at the Akron Canton Regional Foodbank received a $1 million grant from the Stark Community Foundation, making it the largest grant awarded in the Foundation’s 56-year history. The grant will allow the Foodbank to construct and operate a new facility in Canton that is necessary to close the meal gap in its eight-county service region.

Several clients welcomed new leadership in 2019. Benefactor Group helped complete searches for executive directors at the Springfield Museum of Art and IBH Addiction Recovery Center, Senior Director of Development at Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, Charitable Giving Director at Friendship Village of Dublin, and more. Long-time colleague and client, Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, retired from the Global Fund for Women, capping off a celebrated career in social justice.

Our own colleague, AJ Casey, left Benefactor Group to become the executive director of Stonewall Columbus. We were happy to celebrate with AJ and Stonewall Columbus this spring on their newly renovated and expanded 15,000-square-foot community center.  

We also are watching with amazement as the sustainably built Pikes Peak Summit Complex — the highest ongoing construction site in North America — moves closer to completion. It’s not easy to build at 14,000 feet! Funded in part by a capital campaign, the project will replace the Pikes Peak Summit House and will create a facility that takes advantage of the inspiring views and natural beauty of Pikes Peak, “America’s Mountain.”

Finally, Norman Rockwell Museum mounted the first international touring exhibition devoted to Norman Rockwell’s iconic depictions of The Four Freedoms. The tour provides a rare opportunity to see Rockwell’s images together outside their permanent home in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms opened its six-city tour at the New-York Historical Society on May 25, 2018.

And many others are on the brink of notable successes that we’ll be able to share in the year ahead. As we celebrate our own milestone of 20 years in business in 2020, Benefactor Group is looking forward to another year of serving those who serve the common good©.