Philanthropy West Virginia preaches “Power of Persistence” at annual conference

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Philanthropy West Virginia is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018.

The philanthropic leadership association held its 25th Anniversary Celebration at its annual conference in Charleston this past week. The theme of this year’s conference was “Power of Persistence.”

Philanthropists and foundation leaders from across the country came to the two-day event at the Four Points by Sheraton to speak and learn from to one another about that theme.

“I talked about the importance of trust and respect,” Nick Deychakiwsky, Program Officer of the C.S. Mott Foundation and Keynote Speaker, said. “The importance of research, collaboration and sticking to things over the long term. It comes down to the power of persistence.”

The C.S. Mott Foundation is based in Flint. Michigan as Deychakiwsky was one of five keynotes for the conference. Other keynotes include Tim Thomas, Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commissions, Gladys Washington, Deputy Director of Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, William “Pat” Getty, the retiring President of the Benedum Foundation, and Michelle Greanias, the Executive Director of PEAK Grantmaking.

“I’m thrilled to come to West Virginia,” Deychakiwsky said. “I’m thrilled to see how philanthropy works together and tries to be better in different parts of the country and I’m happy to see people are sharing and learning from each other. That’s the way they can give more effectively.

“Philanthropy is important because it’s a channel of the human impulse of us helping each other. Philanthropy really means love of mankind, but we tend to refer to it as when financial resources are transferred in forms of grants.”

Paul Daugherty, Philanthropy West Virginia President and CEO, said the focus of the conference is how foundations are partners in communities, how foundations have to work together on solving the opioid crisis, looking at community revitalization, education and others, as well as improving the business practices of foundations.

“Conferences like this make sure we stay up on current trend and laws,” Susie Nelson, Board Chair of Philanthropy West Virginia, said. “It also helps us to know how other foundations are responding to issues in our states.”

Nelson also serves as the Executive Director of the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley in Wheeling. She said there were many valuable sessions for leaders, directors and board members, but noted one specifically.

“The PEAK grantmaking sessions really made us take a look at the way we ask grantees for info and what we require with them,” she said. “It really made us take a good hard look of why we are asking certain questions of our grantee, and the burden we may be creating for them when they get a grant.”

This year’s Philanthropy West Virginia conference featured more than 150 foundations and corporate giving programs that support West Virginia’s nonprofit organizations.


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