BIG Philanthropy

What will be philanthropy’s “new story?”

About October 31, 2007

The Blog Name: Philanthropy Out Loud was the original name of this blog. Then I remembered something. Don’t be fooled, “BIG Philanthropy” is not about large piles of cash but rather about philanthropy done BIG. What inspired me to use this term and what does it mean anyway? A book called Living Big by Pam Gout which encourages the reader to take a leap and embrace their extraordinary life. What if philanthropy chose to live Big? What if it assumes fully the mantle of risk-taker and dreamer, seizes the day, capitalizes on opportunities, and comes into its own ripeness? Philanthropy is an art. Let’s embrace the creative and visionary spirit of the arts and use it to begin to write a new chapter in the story of philanthropy – one that models authenticity and honors the inherent joy of giving. Philanthropy was created to do big things. And there is simply too much suffering in the world for it to live little.

My bio: CJ Callen is Executive Director of Changemakers, a national public foundation that advances values, policies and practices to increase transparency, accountability and effectiveness in philanthropy. She brings to her work twenty-five years of nonprofit experience and an extensive background in public policy advocacy and grassroots community organizing.

As Director of Programs at Northern California Grantmakers, she was responsible for overall planning, integration and assessment of the organization’s professional development, organizational effectiveness, public policy, and family philanthropy activities. As Senior Program Officer at the Tides Foundation, she developed and implemented grantmaking programs and built relationships with a diverse group of grantees, institutional funders, and donors. As a consultant, she provided technical assistance and creative advice to foundations and nonprofits. At The San Francisco Foundation, she managed an initiative of collaborative projects working to reform systems affecting children, youth and families. As a public policy advocate, she founded a citywide youth organizing group, Youth Making a Change (Y-MAC).

CJ is a former board member of Women & Philanthropy. She currently serves as a member of the Public Policy Committee of the Independent Sector and as a member of the Advisory Board of the Foundation Center’s San Francisco Branch. CJ received her JD from Stanford University and her BA in political science and philosophy from New York University. She currently lives in San Francisco with her husband Jeff, feline companions Roxie and Zoey and Cleo the wonder dog

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3 Responses to “About”

  1. 49Alnhgtlng Says:

    AS you say, Philanthropy is an art, but the arts have taken a back seat even within the philanthropic community. People would much rather give to health and human services, schools or churches. They are much more predictable. The arts are not. People are afraid of the arts becuase of the bad press it has received over the last few decades. The arts are about the unfamiliar, people don’t like strange things.

    But, if people can get over their fear, they will find a much brighter tomorrow. They will be able to perceive and become much more aware of the ailments of society.

  2. cjcallen Says:

    I could not agree with you more. The arts inspire and restore us and philanthropy should do more to support the arts than they currently do. I once tried to develop and arts and social change initiative but my colleagues in the field thought it “frivolous.” Perhaps one day we won’t have to fight so hard to make the case for funding the arts — I sure hope so. What inspires me and keeps me going in this tough social change world: poetry and film.

  3. 49Alnhgtlng Says:

    Yes it is unfortunate that people do not see the benefits of the arts. Not only are they are integral in providing problem solving skills but they help to open our eyes and teach us about balance, value, process and patience. The teach us about centrality, organization and the beauty of repetition. The arts are essential to communication and support commonalities within our communities. By becoming aware we understand our being, and our place in the environment. John Dewey called it Aesthetic Consummation, Maslow called it Self Actualization and Csikszentmihalyi calls it Flow.


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