Dealers in Hope

Domestic Partnership Raises Legal Issues

Health Watch: It’s Not Your Father’s Cancer

Women Refine Their Charitable Giving

Corrections or additions?

This articles were prepared for the October 6, 2004

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Survival Guide: Website as a First Date

The American viewer has an itchy trigger finger. Television producers

claim they must capture the average viewer’s attention within four

seconds or he will switch channels. Web designers are finding an even

smaller window for capturing today’s fast-paced browsers. And this

despite the fact that the web has become the primary in-depth resource

for everything from physical to fiscal health advice.

How to design for quick capture and long term content — and still keep

an eye on profit — is the subject of “Creating a Website That Gets You

Noticed,” a free seminar taking place on Thursday, October 7, at 10

a.m. at the College of New Jersey. Call 609-989-5232 for more

information.

This program features David Krumholz, founder and president of

Princeton Junction-based Strand Management Solutions, a computer and

Internet consulting firm. Aimed at startups to mid-size firms, this

talk is part of Trenton Small Business Week and is sponsored by the

Small Business Development Center at the College of New Jersey

(www.tcnj.edu/~smdc.).

A true cyber veteran, Krumholz has witnessed and help guide a quarter

century of rapid developments in both data systems and online

communications. A native of the Bronx, Krumholz began his college

career as an aspiring engineer and ended up graduating from Pace

University with a major in accounting and information studies. Working

his way to the rank of comptroller of a large engineering firm, he

soon discovered that “I could find nothing enjoyable at all about

accounting. So I left.”

Fortunately, the young unemployed accountant had always kept his hand

in the burgeoning field of computers. After helping out a few local

firms, he took the entrepreneurial plunge and founded Princeton

Junction-based Strand Management Solutions in l978. His firm designed

websites, wrote software systems, and installed custom hardware. Back

then, the Strand expertise was sought out mainly by large firms, such

as Citi Group and PSE&G. But now Krumholz notes a change: “As machines

get 100 times more powerful every five years and increasingly smaller

businesses see technology’s opportunities, we add smaller and smaller

clients to our list.”

The website is like a first blind date; a fact which tends to petrify

most designers. The site makes the initial impression on a person with

whom you desperately seek a relationship, but about whom you know

absolutely nothing. Should I dress my site with these flashy product

pictures? Will my potential customer think I’m too glitzy? For

Krumholz, the answers lie in considering a few underlying themes

before worrying about catchy stylistic techniques.

Forget art. Behind every website lurks a website designer. It is only

natural for this individual or team to feel proprietary about their

creation. But when the designers begin seeing themselves as artists

and their product as “my baby,” Krumholz warns, you are going to have

trouble. Changes will become impossible to achieve.

While your website may have artistic qualities, remember that it is

foremost a profitability tool that needs constant sharpening. For this

reason, Krumholz refuses to list clever, eye-catching techniques for

luring customers onto the screen. “Being noticed is not necessarily

the same as being pretty,” he explains. “The sites that win the design

awards seldom give the viewer the most solid content.” And it is

content that turns a reader into a buyer.

Watch and learn. Probably the most frequent website error Krumholz

sees is the failure of business owners to learn from their sites.

While most companies now are avidly analyzing marketing data from

their websites, they fail to study the web-traffic patterns. The same

measuring techniques that profile what kind of clients are buying —

and not buying can just as precisely show why they are entering and

using your site.

Comparing your site with competitors’ may provide an overall picture

of what outside links and word placements are the most enticing to

your customer base. Analysis of traffic within your site shows what

specific information people are seeking and at what point they are

leaving.

Tailor to the sale. Should you really be leaping into e-commerce at

all? Krumholz says maybe not. Certainly a website holds endless

potential. It can inform browsers of the need, instruct about your

product, offer encyclopedic links, aid old customers, take new orders,

complete sales, and besiege its owner with more marketing data than he

could ever dream of — or desire. But does this scatter-shot,

all-in-one website suit most firms? Does it aid sales? Build client

loyalty?

“Even the biggest retailers — Macys, Home Depot, Bloomingdales — with

limitless funds to invest in their sites, make less than 10 percent of

their sales on line,” says Krumholz. Keep new product listings and

order forms on your site. But placing a greater emphasis on swift

trouble-shooting solutions will help retain that all-important

existing customer; and providing thorough product instruction will

help draw new clients into the shop. These pre-technology tactics may

net more business than an aggressive presence on the ‘Net.

It’s a matter of vision. Facing the prospect of limited online return,

it may be best to design your site as an integral part of your in-shop

sales, rather than making it merely an electronic, redundant method of

taking orders. For example, the busy sales person in-house has only a

few minutes at most to explain a new product. Yet the company website

can arm potential clients with reams of information so that he enters

the store ready to purchase.

Tailor to the customer. Technology now has made individually-targeted

advertising affordable in several media. With the natural interface

between rapid market demographic analysis and digital printing,

businesses can now send out ads by E-mail that target each’s

customer’s personal taste. Car dealers are informing specific patrons

that they have a good stock of late model, red station wagons, with

mileage between 1,000 and 25,000 miles. That exact ad may go to only

one individual, who can now check into the dealership’s website and

record his change in preferences, or gain more information.

This precise targeting represents a larger initial outlay, but a great

overall savings in the ad budget. For the patron, it cuts down on the

ad-annoyance factor that develops when he’s blanketed with

non-applicable advertising.

Yet while Krumholz has witnessed a great deal of technological

development for business in the last 25 years, he does not see any

plateaus on the horizon. “I don’t see the computer change pace slowing

down in the future,” he says, “because the product is information and

unlike the telephone or airplane, information is a much more dynamic

thing that can be processed in ways of which we have not yet dreamed.”

— Bart Jackson

Top Of Page
Dealers in Hope

Ask any CEO what he seeks in young executives and he will invariably

answer “leaders.” In most cases, this is a lie. What most CEOs really

want is managers. President Nixon defined this profound difference by

noting that management is prose and process. Leadership is poetry and

direction. One envisions today; the other, the day after tomorrow.

Both are crucial.

Yet however much sought after and analyzed, leadership retains a

mystical quality. There lurks some elusive essence which circumstance

and character bring to the surface. The process of luring this essence

forward is the goal of “Leadership and the Executive Mind,” a two-day

course held on Friday, October 8 and Friday, October 15 at 9 a.m. at

Mercer County Community College. Cost: $175. Call 609-586-9446. Bena

Long, founder of Mind Movement, instructs the course, which, she

notes, is designed for people in all levels of business.

From her girlhood in Bridgewater, Long was well steeped in business

and competition. Her father owned several retail stores and employed

his daughter regularly behind the counter. When not at the shop, she

as a competitive gymnast, learning, as she puts it “the real value of

a focused mind.” She holds a bachelor’s degree in international

politics from Rutgers (Class of 1991) and a master’s inmanagement and

intercultural relations.

Long put her intercultural training to work for Fed-Ex, Canon, and

other large firms by training executives who had been recently

transferred to the United States. She developed programs to help them

and their families adjust both on and off the job. “It was here that I

learned that most business decisions are easy,” she says. “It’s trying

to employ them without any conflict that takes skill.” Three years

ago, Long started Mind Movement, a consulting that specializes in

helping executives to find that skill. Her approach embodies a blend

of several Asian philosophies, the teachings of Yoga masters, and the

more Western Dr. Phil Nuernberger, developer of strategic intelligence

skills.

Americans love action. “If you don’t know what else to do — throw a

fit. “Do something!” hollered our much lauded General George Patton.

And such is the atmosphere that fills our plants and board rooms. We

want the decisions made now. We want a plan — any plan — just so long

as it’s in place by Tuesday. In such situational environments, it is

all most of us can do to manage — to put out today’s fires. Leadership

— that art of encouraging both resources and an enthusiastic staff

toward — well, that is left to those few, gifted souls in less chaotic

situations.

But Long insists that each of us has that capability to go beyond — to

become a leader. It is a process that begins not with action, but with

a mental, psychological, even spiritual, delving to bring forth inner

resources. You need not wait for circumstance to call it forth, you

can mine your capabilities with personal training.

Banish distraction. We have all felt that still, calm spot in our

minds that reflects all issues clearly and allows decisions to be made

simply. Ironically, it usually comes to light after the decision is

made. We finally know we have chosen the right bride, career, or car

and then we feel great. Worries are relieved and we are ready for

action, assured that our next choices will also be correct.

Alas in most of us, this brief glimpse of our leadership spot all too

quickly clouds over with daily distractions and our incisive

capabilities are skewed by other factors. Long invites us to reclaim

that leadership mentality by first analyzing our motivating

distractions.

“If you are constantly scared of being fired all the time, of being

humiliated, or outcast,” she says, “these emotions will govern your

choices.” The same with personal needs and greeds. Once you find these

distracting motivators, you can begin to remove their layers, and

access that clear, uncluttered part of your mind. It’s not

particularly esoteric, just analytical. Attack it as you would any

business problem.

Is it really instinct? Once you have found your own motivators, it

will become easier to discover them in others. It was said of John D.

Rockefeller that he could just stare at a man and know exactly how

much he would pay for a barrel of oil. Long says that these leadership

and negotiating gifts, which we so often chalk up to “instinct,” are

frequently nothing more than powerful listening and interpreting.

“The same process that allows you to access your own clear decision

spot can help you see the motivations in others,” says Long. “Once we

stop talking to ourselves, and truly put our attention on the

individual with whom we are dealing, he will usually make himself

plain.” Often people reveal themselves by things left unspoken. But

you can pick up on such signals if you have rid your own mind of its

own inner chatter.

Lead yourself. The very term “leadership” conjures images of armies of

willing souls following you in the direction of your pointed sword. We

see it basically as getting others to do what we want. But the human

is a very clever animal. To follow, he must make sure that the leader

truly knows precisely what he himself wants, and that this person will

lead him on a path of his own best interest.

In the world of business, a worker’s own best interest usually entails

the fulfillment of his varied capabilities. Employees want to do what

they do best, and they want to succeed. Long sees a business leader,

therefore, as the hub of a wheel. He provides the vision and

opportunity for each individual to fulfill himself. And if he does it

well, the employee never feels managed or led. The vision provided is

exemplified in the leader’s own daily dealings. Simply, a good

business leader lives his own creative vision. It is plainly

understood and he need not convey it by clever techniques.

Shoot from the hip. Despite a continuos deep-thought process, Long’s

leader is not some aloof, contemplative character, who slowly ingests

data and finally reacts. Instead, she sees the leader as a practiced

gunfighter. Amid incredible frenzy, he is able to get off six quick,

accurate shots that get the job done while everyone around him is

paralyzed by angst. While managers are doing things right, the leader

is doing the right thing.

“Think about that gunfighter,” says Long. “How did he get to the point

where he could make the right choice so quickly and with such

certainty?” This is an ability which we all have, she insists. It just

needs to be dusted off and developed.

Yet for those who still crave the advantage of certain techniques to

make the subtle fist of leadership felt within their company, it’s

helpful to learn from the past.

Napoleon defined leaders as dealers in hope. He said that a good

leader possessed the art of making others work to their fulfillment,

rather than wearing oneself out. And finally, he suggested; “Work with

your ministers twice a week — once with each of them separately, once

with them altogether in council.” Not a bad business plan.

— Bart Jackson

Top Of Page
Domestic Partnership Raises Legal Issues

The Domestic Partnership Act that was signed into law earlier this

year gave legal status to many couples who had eagerly awaited it for

many years. The bill, however, as is the case with many laws, has

opened up as many questions and legal issues as it has solved. “The

(domestic partnership) situation in the United States is in a state of

flux,” says Stephen Hyland, a Pennington attorney who specializes in

helping same-sex couples make their way through the murky waters of

the new law.

Hyland partners with Merrill-Lynch to hold a free seminar, “Financial

and Legal Planning for Domestic Partners,” at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday,

October 12 at the Triumph Brewing Company in Princeton. Assisting

Hyland at the seminar are Stephen Woods, Neil McKeon, and Nancy

Herlihy of Merrill-Lynch. The investment company is “one of the few I

know about who have put together a financial package specifically for

domestic partners,” says Hyland.

When Hyland entered law school he had no idea that he would end up

specializing in domestic partnership laws. He has only practiced law

for the past eight years, since graduating from Southern Texas College

of Law in 1996. He entered law school “as a 40th birthday present” to

himself, he says. He had worked as a software engineer and planned to

specialize in Internet law.

He keeps up with his computer skills by working on his website,

www.NJdomesticpartnership.com. But after opening his practice in

Pennington he found that “the dotcom boom was ending” and focused on

other areas of law, including work with several area schools. He has a

personal interest in the Domestic Partnership Act. He is currently in

a long-term relationship.

Hyland has written a book, “A Legal Guide for New Jersey Domestic

Partners,” that aims to help same sex couples understand the new law.

“I thought it would be fairly simple when I started,” he says, “but it

is over 200 pages.” The book, as well as a number of articles he has

written on the issue, is available on his website.

There are four main areas of concern for domestic partners, says

Hyland: health and insurance, inheritance laws, financial planning,

and separation.

“There are still significant protections in a marriage that are not

available even to registered domestic partners,” says Hyland.

“Domestic partners still only get protection in a few areas.” Most of

these rights and obligations depend upon the couple becoming

registered, he addds. Upon registrering, the partners are given copies

of an official Certificate of Domestic Partnership, with a New Jersey

state seal. The act also recognizes partners who have registered under

other states’ domestic partnership laws, so that couples do not need

to re-register in New Jersey if they have proof of registration in

another state.

One of the most important issues to many long-term couples is the area

of health insurance and healthcare decisions. While the new law does

require the State of New Jersey to offer health insurance to same-sex

domestic partners, private companies are only encouraged to do so,

Hyland explains.

Hospital visitation, another area of special concern to many couples,

is also addressed by the act. “Domestic partners now have the same

visitation rights the hospital gives married spouses,” he says.

Hyland advices same sex couples that health issues, including hospital

visitation rights and the right to make medical decisions for an

incapacitated partner, need to be spelled out with additional

documents.

“Most couples should have agreements drawn up and available, such as a

health proxy, a visitation document, and a medical power of attorney,”

he says. If a couple is traveling out-of-state “they should take the

whole lot with them in case something happens,” he says.

Even with the documents, it may be difficult for same sex couples who

need hospital care in another state. “Some states are more open to

reciprocation than others. Some states are openly hostile,” he says.

The State of Virginia, for example, “prohibits recognizing civil

unions and domestic partnerships.”

Inheritance laws are an area where the Domestic Partnership Act is

particularly tricky, says Hyland. The new act grants domestic partners

some, but not all, of the benefits married spouses receive.

“Certain taxes apply to domestic partners, while others do not,” he

says. The New Jersey Inheritance Transfer Tax, a tax on gifts made

between individuals as a result of death, does not apply to registered

domestic partners. In other words, they will no longer be required to

pay that tax. However, unlike married spouses, domestic partners will

be required to pay New Jersey estate taxes. This is often particularly

important in the case of jointly owned property such as a home. A

married spouse is not required to pay tax on the deceased partner’s

half of the jointly owned property. A domestic partner is required to

pay the tax.

Even with the Domestic Partner Act it is still very important to have

a will. “Without a will the probate judge must follow the state’s laws

regarding determination of heirship and disposition of the person’s

property,” he says. With the exception of the state of Vermont, Hyland

notes, same sex partners are not considered heirs in any state unless

they are specifically designated in a will.

Good financial planning is essential for everyone, but it is

particularly necessary for domestic partners, Hyland says. Getting a

financial power of attorney is one of the first steps domestic

partners should take. A financial power of attorney designates someone

who will manage some or all of your financial affairs if you should

become unable to do so yourself. The document does not allow that

person to make medical decisions, which is why both types of documents

are needed. Since federal income taxes are not affected by the New

Jersey law, financial planning is “a must” for domestic partners “with

fairly substantial assets,” Hyland says, “because domestic partners

can’t file jointly on their income taxes, there can be considerable

complications.”

The final legal area new domestic partners need to consider is

separation. While no one wants to think about the possibility that a

relationship will fail, particularly just as it is beginning, it must

still be considered. “Domestic partnership now has a legal status and

it must be terminated in court, just like a divorce is,” Hyland says.

But just as in inheritance laws, the laws of divorce do not

necessarily apply to domestic partners. “In marriage, the rules of

equitable distribution apply, in domestic partnership what happens is

up to the judge,” he says. Distribution can be particularly

complicated for couples who have been together for a long time, says

Hyland. “It is pretty hard to determine who owns what when everything

is mingled together.” Often, couples will designate that assets they

owned before the relationship will remain the property of the original

owner, but it is best, he adds, to think carefully about just how

these issues will be determined if the relationship ends.

It is obvious that for many same sex couples the New Jersey Domestic

Partnership Act isn’t perfect. Some will claim it doesn’t go far

enough, while others believe it goes too far. The one fact everyone

can agree on is it that in many ways it has complicated many already

complex laws.

— Karen Miller

Top Of Page
Health Watch: It’s Not Your Father’s Cancer

Cancer will strike one out of three Americans, and, for reasons not

yet fully understood, that rate will be slightly higher for people

living in central New Jersey. “Cancer is not going to ignore us,” says

Dr. John Baumann, “so we had better not ignore it.”

Baumann, head radiation oncologist at the University Medical Center at

Princeton and principal in Radiation Oncology Consultants of New

Jersey, moderates a panel on colorectal cancer on Wednesday, October

13, at 7:30 p.m. at the Merrill Lynch Conference Center. The event is

part of a series of lectures on common cancers, underwritten by the J.

Seward Johnson Charitable Trust. It is held for the benefit of those

who are dealing with the disease, those who have survived the disease,

and those who want to know how to reduce their risk of developing the

disease — or of catching it at its earliest stages.

Baumann talks about the terror often associated with the very word

“cancer.” It’s not as bad now as it was a generation ago, when

doctors, patients, and their families were loathe to even speak the

word, and when many thought it best to keep the diagnosis a secret —

even from the patient himself. There is more openness now, but fear is

still present, and is often out of proportion to the prognosis, and to

the treatment experience.

Baumann points out that there is little panic when the diagnosis is

any one of a number of other diseases. “I know people who are

miserable from arthritis,” he says, “yet it doesn’t strike terror.”

Certainly cancer is to be respected, but some of the fear that it

inspires is often way overblown. “The feeling of terror reflects a

general lack of understanding,” he says. In addition to causing

needless anguish, the fear is dangerous because it can keep those who

suspect that they have symptoms from seeking treatment — treatment

that may well be far more mild than their runaway imaginations

envision.

Bottom line, says Baumann, “this is not your father’s cancer.” The

science of detecting, treating, and curing cancer has advanced

tremendously, and continues to do so all the time. Furthermore,

treatment is generally not as arduous as it once was, thanks in large

part to new ways to significantly decrease side effects. Nausea, for

example, was once one of the most miserable side effects of some

chemotherapy treatments. In the beginning of his career Baumann saw

“strong Marines” cry as they battled through chemo-related nausea. But

now, he points out, “our ability to control nausea is remarkable. You

may be mighty tired, but you may not have the constellation of

symptoms.

“I have a 90-year-old aunt who has been receiving chemo for 10 years,”

says Baumann, “and it doesn’t interfere with her life.” Many people,

whether treated with chemo, radiation, surgery, or some combination of

the three, continue to work and play pretty much as before. Others

have a harder time of it, but in most cases, cancer treatment is

easier to take than it was a decade ago. Because that is the case,

treatment can also be more aggressive. Larger doses of chemo are often

better tolerated because of pharmaceutical advances that blunt side

effects. Larger doses of radiation are possible because of

technological advances that allow for precise targeting of a tumor.

Baumann argues that the full arsenal of the most advanced cancer

treatments is available close to home for central New Jersey

residents. A reason for the cancer seminars, in fact, is to showcase

that expertise. He says that he is fully aware that many Garden

Staters, often transplants from New York or Philadelphia, tilt toward

the big cities when they need care. But, he points out, any number of

first rate doctors have also migrated to central New Jersey from the

big city cancer centers, and are providing care close to home.

Baumann himself came to his Princeton practice by way of training in

Boston and in Washington, D.C. A Princeton University graduate (class

of 1973), he attended Harvard Medical School and did all of his

medical training in Boston. He went on to become chief of radiation

oncology at Walter Reed in Washington, D.C., where he also served as

the Surgeon General’s consultant for that specialty. In 1985 he took

on the challenge of helping to design the J. Seward Johnson Cancer

Center at Princeton Hospital.

A resident of Hopewell, Baumann is married to Marcelline Baumann, an

active volunteer who has served as president of the hospital

auxiliary, and as a trustee of the hospital. Their son, Brian, is a

graduate of Princeton University, where their daughter, Marcelline, is

now a student. Baumann’s father was a builder in the Maryland area and

his mother is a dietitian.

The cancer education lecture in which Baumann is set to participate is

the 20th in a series that has been going on for 10 years. The topic of

this lecture, colorectal cancer, is especially important for the whole

community because this is a slow-growing cancer that is generally

easier to detect in its earliest stages than are many other cancers.

With this cancer, screening is especially important. The Harvard

Center for Cancer Prevention states that up to 75 percent of new cases

could be avoided with a healthy lifestyle and regular screening.

The screen most often associated with this cancer is a colonoscopy, a

scan that begins at the end of the large intestine and goes up to the

lower end of the small intestine. Done with an internal scope, it

strikes fear into strong men. “I was scared to death before I had my

colonoscopy,” says Baumann. While it is generally possible to be

sedated during the test, and to sleep peacefully through the whole

thing, he chose to be wide awake, and was amazed at the experience. He

recalls that the test was over before he knew it. “‘If that’s all

there is to it,’” he exclaimed, “‘do it again!’”

Anyone who still fears the test has a relatively new option. A virtual

coloscopy, performed externally, is completely painless and requires

no sedation. Baumann quotes recent studies that have found the

procedure to be as good at detecting cancer and pre-cancerous polyps

as the standard colonoscopy. One advantage of the older test is that

polyps generally are removed as it is performed. If they are found

during a virtual colonoscopy, a standard one will be performed to

remove them.

Because colon cancer proceeds slowly, a colonoscopy generally is

performed only once every five years. In addition to screening, anyone

who wants to up his chances of avoiding the disease should adopt a

lifestyle of “moderation in all things,” says Baumann, who advocates

moderate exercise, a sensible diet — and an end to cigarette smoking.

Prevention is a big topic at the upcoming seminar. Anyone with a

question, whether on keeping the disease at bay, or on the best

treatment options, is encouraged to come prepared to ask it.

Participants write their queries down during the lecture and the

doctors on the panel gather them up and then provide answers.

“The questions are wonderful,” says Baumann. “We get the most

challenging questions.” The Q & A segment comprises about half of the

evening, and in his opinion is “the best part of the whole thing.”

It sure beats ignorance.

— Kathleen McGinn Spring

Top Of Page
Women Refine Their Charitable Giving

“Women have historically had an impact on volunteerism and giving, but

not necessarily in their own name,” says Nancy Becker, chairperson for

the Second Annual Women and Philanthropy Conference. Becker is a part

of a group of New Jersey women who want to make other women more aware

of their importance and influence in contributing to charities.

“Making a Difference in Your Community” is the theme of the

conference, which is “designed to encourage and educate women on the

issues of philanthropy.” It takes place on Wednesday, October 13, 4

p.m. at the Merrill Lynch Hopewell Corporate Campus. Cost: $95. To

register call 732-939-8102.

Dana Reeve, wife of actor Christopher Reeve and trustee of the

Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, is the keynote speaker for the

conference. She discusses her personal journey through philanthropy

and her experiences with her husband in establishing the paralysis

foundation. Several other New Jersey women also lead workshop sessions

at the conference. Marge Smith, nonprofit consultant, discusses “Time,

Talent & Treasure,” specific ways to better understand and utilize the

important resources that volunteers bring. Ricky Shechtel, executive

director of the Sierra Foundation, discusses how to teach youth about

charity and giving in “Youth & Philanthropy.”

“Tools of the Trade: Giving 101” is the topic of Barbara Rambo,

executive director, Council of the New Jersey Grantmakers. Jennifer

Hauge, deputy director of Pro Bono Partnership talks about finding

“the right fit” when choosing to serve on a nonprofit board. Lynn

Lerardi and Ann Reichelderfer lead a discussion of “Planning Your

Giving.” The closing speaker is Kathleen DiChiara, president and CEO

of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.

This is the second conference on the topic to be held in New Jersey.

Arlene Stephan, executive director at Capital, has been involved in

both of the conferences, the first, while working for the Rutgers

Foundation, and now through her work with Capital.

This year’s conference has been moved to the evening to attract more

working women, she says, pointing out that “women have become a focus

of philanthropy efforts in recent years because they are not just the

holders of wealth, but the generators of wealth.”

Women who inherited their money are often still influenced by their

fathers and husbands in making their charitable decisions, while women

who have “created their own wealth” are more comfortable making those

choices on their own. But women often still give in the same way their

mothers and grandmothers did; by writing dozens of small checks to a

variety of organizations and charities throughout the year. This

“impulsive giving” does not allow them to have the same impact on a

charity that “more strategic giving” does, say Stephan and Becker.

The conference also has a session on passing on the concepts of

philanthropy to children. Children need to learn at an early age to

“give back to the community,” Becker and Stephan say. Parents and

grandparents are very important in instilling these ideas in children,

and teaching through example is one of the easiest ways to show

children about charity. “We are a wealthy country. Most of us can

afford to give something to help someone less fortunate,” says

Stephan.

Another good approach for helping children learn about giving to the

community is through organizations such as the Girl Scouts. “The focus

of the Girl Scouts has changed,” she says. “It’s not just about

earning that cooking badge. They put a lot of focus on community

service.”

Women have often led the way in charity, but it has been behind the

scenes. There are numerous stories in every state of women stepping up

and creating homes and shelters for children or abused women, or

helping to start food banks. The way women volunteer their time and

donate their money “is often very generational,” says Stephan. “But we

want women today to think more strategically about their money and

what they do with it.” Men, she says, “think more about making an

impact, while women want to see the fruits of their collaboration with

other women by working in groups.”

Philanthropy, adds Becker, “is not just Andrew Carnegie giving away

millions.” It can be at any dollar level. It also involves

volunteering time and talent to church or community. “We want anyone

who ever writes a check to a charity to feel they can come to the

conference,” says Becker, adding that men are also welcome. “If you

want to make a significant impact you have to concentrate your

efforts,” she says. Stephan suggests several strategies women should

use to “turn checkbook philanthropy into something more meaningful.”

First. Educate yourself about your own financial resources. “It is

very empowering to know what you have, to make your own decisions, and

to manage your own money.”

Second. Get good advice. Get in touch with a top quality financial

advisor and communicate with him or her what it is that you want to

achieve through giving, and how best to accomplish your goals. There

are a number of approaches that maximize every dollar earmarked for

charitable giving.

Third. Educate yourself on the charities you are interested in. Come

up with a strategy for your giving. Think about what you have and how

you want to give it away. That will help you to think strategically

and not impulsively about your giving. It will help you make more

meaningful choices.

Fourth. Learn how to give gifts in a better way. If you have $1,000 a

year to give, consider giving it to only one or two charities, not two

dozen.

Finally, Stephan advises, decide what you are passionate about and put

your money there. Is it your church or a local arts program or a food

bank? Determine the program or project that you feel you — or your

community — cannot live without. That is where your money should go.

— Karen Miller

Corrections or additions?


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— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

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