Foundations bring internationally recognized speaker to Vero Beach

VERO BEACH – Forty philanthropists from various walks of life gathered on Monday, Feb. 28 to learn the qualities and habits of the most successful philanthropists in America and how those concepts can be applied on a local and regional level.

The presentation featured internationally known author and philanthropic consultant, Leslie Crutchfield, a senior advisor with FSG Social Advisors. The luncheon was hosted at John’s Island by the Indian River Community Foundation with support from The Robert F. and Eleonora W. McCabe Foundation and Rossway, Moore, Taylor & Swan.

Crutchfield spoke to the group about the research she conducted for Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Changed The World, a recently released book she co-authored with John Kania and Mark Kramer. The book provides a blueprint for individuals, philanthropists and foundation leaders to increase the impact of the charitable activities.

“Philanthropists are uniquely positioned to meet the challenges of our increasingly interdependent world,” Crutchfield said. “The most impactful philanthropists go beyond check writing and traditional volunteering to leveraging their charitable assets to improve society.”

In addition to Crutchfield, two local philanthropists shared their own experiences with becoming involved with transformational philanthropy within Indian River County. Ellie McCabe, president of The Robert F. and Eleonora W. McCabe Foundation spoke about founding the Mental Health Collaborative of Indian River County and Ray Oglethorpe, former president of AOL Technology, explained his work to address the national literacy crisis through The Learning Alliance.

“The key is finding your personal passion and then learning everything you can about what is happening in that area,” said McCabe. “My journey to help improve the mental health continuum of care has not been an easy road, but it is the most meaningful thing I have ever done in my life. Writing a check would have been easier, but not nearly as effective as my personal involvement.”

Kerry Bartlett, Executive Director of the Indian River Community Foundation, said encouraging conversations such as this are an important part of strengthening the role of philanthropy in Indian River County. The Community Foundation has been using a variety of speakers over the last two years to help donors view their charitable giving not just as an obligation, but as an investment in the future.

“When donors begin to think of philanthropy as an investment, they begin to expect results and accountability which strengthens our community’s nonprofit sector,” Bartlett said. “The Community Foundation offers services for philanthropists interested in this type of charitable investment.”

The Indian River Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides donors with flexible philanthropic tools to achieve their current and long-term charitable giving goals. The Foundation currently manages over $8 million in charitable assets, the majority of which are held in donor advised funds. For more information about the Indian River Community Foundation, contact Bartlett at or (772) 492-1407.

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