Thanks to EF and NetApp for the invitation to the Silicon Valley Philanthropy Day awards luncheon. It was inspirational to hear from so many organizations and people who are making significant changes in our community through their philanthropic efforts. Leah Toeniskoetter was awarded Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser for her work with Valley Medical Center Foundation. An avid bike rider who has completed 5 Death Rides, Leah raised funds for Turning Wheels for Kids, providing bikes for children who cannot afford them. In her acceptance speech, Leah highlighted three critical elements for success:
- Fundamental belief in the mission
- Dynamic leadership – leaders who motivate others
- Support of others – people and also employers who create a culture of giving
Of course, all of those critical elements require excellent communication skills. And, speaking of excellent communication, Hannah Nguyen and her cohort from Pacific Autism Center for Education’s Youth Leadership Committee, were the audience-favorite speakers. They won the award for Outstanding Philanthropic Youth Organization and gave an acceptance speech that was articulate and elegant. The youngest of the award recipients, they were the most well spoken.
Robert Grimm won the top award for Silicon Valley Community Foundation Outstanding Philanthropist. Bob’s approach, described as ‘philanteer’ combines philanthropy and volunteerism. Where he puts his money, he also puts his time; most notably “The Garage” that morphed into The Tech Museum. His talk of all the organizations in which he is involved was motivational.
Thanks to Association of Fundraising Professional Silicon Valley Chapter for honoring these Philanthropic Leaders. In the month of Thanksgiving, I have gratitude to all those in our community who share with others.