Nurturing the Next Generation of Giving with Nancy Grayson

We’re able to do things together in ways we wouldn’t be able to individually.

When business and community members get involved in their communities – from their local schools to collaborative giving – wonderful things can happen. Nancy Grayson, the President of Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky has a deep belief in the power of giving – and plenty of strategies for how to do it as a company, as a family or an individual. There’s a chemical change in the brain that happens when you give – it feels good to do good.

How do we give people opportunities to get involved with students?

There are many established organizations that coordinate volunteering and community participation. But you can also strike out on your own, and contribute to your building or neighborhood. There are often little ways all-around your neighborhood to get involved in small ways – and that can be a good way to get your feet wet with volunteering and community involvement. Small actions are valuable and can ripple out into much larger results. Don’t let a fear of having too little, either in money or in skills, stop you from connecting with and helping others.

Teaching students how to give collaboratively.

There is a growing movement of programs available to encourage children in giving, and developing a passion for service. Nancy shares a number of programs, like the Magnified Giving Program, where students learn about non-profit organizations and are able to choose how to spend money collectively on things they care about. This is an exciting program that creates a framework for teaching young people how to work collaboratively to help others and solve big problems.

Focusing on what’s local and what’s in common.

There is so much going on in the world, and we have so much access to information from all around the world. Nancy talks about how to make connections and get involved in a really local way. School systems are a great way to do that. Nancy recently had the chance at Harvard University to talk to leaders of organizations from around the world, and see how they treated questions, even those from young people – with dignity and respect. Whether your work is local or more international in scope – the care and respect with which you treat people is the foundation for building a community. Mike has a story about how commonality can be found pretty much everywhere – but it’s easiest over a meal.

What role does religious community play?

As a member of the Episcopalian church – much of Nancy’s social life and early outlook on things were formed by her religious community. How a religious group thinks and talks about people of different faiths, and even questioning or exploring your own makes a huge impact on its members. Being involved in your church community gives you a chance to have a say in how your faith community engages with the world – and that can be very exciting, even beautiful. More can be done together than any one person can do alone.

The 410 and Give Where You Live

Nancy talks about the idea of Giving Circles, which are groups of people that come together, pool their financial contributions, and decide together where that money will go, and how they’ll use it to help their community. Two programs in the Northern Kentucky area are doing this for young professionals, and for busy people who still want to be involved in philanthropy.


Northern Kentucky Education Council

Horizon Community Funds

Alienated America by Timothy Carney

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