Philanthropy can be a daunting word. It often brings to mind big names like Bill Gates and his global outreach or Paul Allen’s state-wide initiatives. But anyone can give, in any amount, for the greater good. Two shining examples of such giving are the Newman’s Own Foundation, founded by actor Paul Newman, and The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound.

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Newman’s Own Foundation President and CEO Robert Forrester will be coming to Olympia on May 11.

Both organizations have passionate histories of community involvement and outreach. Since the 1980’s, they have not only raised money but encouraged others—no matter their financial background—to give as well. On Wednesday, May 11, the two will share a stage at The Washington Center in a conversation about giving and changing lives.

Norma Schuiteman, President and CEO of The Community Foundation, hopes the event will “inspire community philanthropy locally. To the extent that a community is generous, our community is uplifted; everyone can be a supporter of philanthropy.”

Potential donors are often unsure their small contribution will help. Anne Kirske, The Community Foundation Programs and Communications Manager, disagrees. “One of our favorite donors who started a scholarship program always says, ‘You don’t have to be Bill Gates.’ There are many ways to give to a community, when we work together we can make a serious impact, especially at home.”

Schuiteman agrees, “Each of us can support our community, every single gift makes a difference. It isn’t just large donors, its many donors.”

The Community Foundation’s funds benefit individuals, groups, and businesses across Thurston, Lewis, and Mason counties. Donors can choose to help with scholarships, the arts, environmental projects, historical preservation, or health care issues.

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Norma Schuiteman stresses that anyone can inspire community philanthropy locally. Photo courtesy: The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound.

At a reception preceding the May 11 event, interested attendees can meet grant recipients from all three counties. Afterwards follows a conversation between Schuiteman and Newman’s Own Foundation President and CEO Robert Forrester, friend and philanthropic advisor to Paul Newman. The evening will include video of Newman’s life and charitable works and a question and answer period with the audience.

This vitality is at the heart of The Community Foundation’s mission: “To inspire philanthropic efforts that enrich our communities. The Foundation manages charitable gifts from individual donors and businesses. The proceeds from these funds generate grants and scholarships today, while preserving resources for tomorrow’s community priorities.”

Tickets for Paul Newman’s Story: The Importance of Philanthropy in America Today are on sale now through the night of the event. You may purchase online or at The Washington Center box office. No additional ticket is needed for the pre-show reception.

Join The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound for a discussion on the importance of philanthropy courtesy of Paul Newman.  Photo credit: Newman's One Foundation.
Join The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound for a discussion on the importance of philanthropy courtesy of Paul Newman. Photo credit: Newman’s One Foundation.

Direct questions about the event or potential donations to Norma Schuiteman, or anyone at The Community Foundation offices, by calling 360-705-3340. Follow their Facebook or online events page for up to the minute news and events listings like their upcoming 20th annual Golf Classic on July 15.

More than 2,000 years ago philosopher Lao-tzu is credited as saying ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.’ The same is true of philanthropy, but with benefits touching lives for generations to come.


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