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News & Press: Institute News

December Message from the Chair

Monday, December 28, 2015  


2015 was a wonderful year for philanthropy, and a wonderful year for The Giving Institute.

As we begin to wrap up the holiday season and prepare for a new year, I’d like to take a moment to recognize our recent accomplishments and say thank you to everyone who helped make them possible.

Ted Grossnickle and Rachel Hutchisson are helping make our “BHAGs” a reality through governance and strategic planning. Derek Alley, Jennifer Richard, and Steven Birnbaum have intensified our focus on achieving our membership goals, while Lorry DiCecco, Rick Dunham, and Todd Levy have helped us ensure value for our membership investments. Paul Koreen, Richard Tollefson, and Cedric Richner have thoughtfully led our program and education efforts, and Wendy McGrady, Erin Shy, and Poonam Prasad keep our increasingly important public policy efforts at the forefront.

Our winter meetings were very productive and particularly invigorating – highlighted by a memorable dinner celebrating the Institute’s 80th Anniversary and Giving USA’s 60th Anniversary. While we were nostalgic about our past, we were even more empowered by our future, especially with the launching of our Planned Giving Society to benefit the Foundation. We capped off our time together with a remarkable and well-attended Gurin Forum, exploring the future of donor-advised funds. A huge thank you is owed to Aggie Sweeney for chairing and organizing the Forum this year. Additionally, thank you to Nancy Raybin and Hank Goldstein for their efforts in coordinating the Anniversary Dinner program. Thank you to George Ruotolo for organizing the 80th/60th Anniversary afternoon panel, and to David King for facilitating it. The entire Anniversary Committee is to be commended for its creativity and hard work. I am proud that we commemorated this poignant time in our history with education, awareness, and stimulating dialogue (while still having fun!), truly living out our mission to actively champion thought leadership that empowers philanthropy.

Last but not least, I’d like to thank Erin Berggren, Jean O’Brien, Sara Foley, Moira Twitty, and Rachel Walsh with Sentergroup for their service to the Institute and the Foundation.

I’d also like to thank each of you for the good work you do with your client partners day in and day out to advance philanthropy and create positive impact in the world around us. The year ahead holds tremendous potential for not only the Institute and the Foundation, but for our member firms, our clients and our industry.

I hope you and yours the happiest of holidays.

Jeffrey D. Byrne
President + CEO, Jeffrey Byrne + Associates, Inc.
Chair, The Giving Institute

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