Built to Last — 2017 Year-End Update

Our annual meeting is upon us.

This means sifting through proposals, following up on tips from the smart folks in our network, and thinking about how our resources can best be used. This means a lot of back-and-forth on the phone and email, banging our heads against the question that all of us ask this time of year: How do we make good on our promise to change the world just a little bit for the better?

First, here’s an update on where we’ve been. We are 25 years into this. And it feels good to say we have invested well over $2 million, at a steady clip of almost $100,000 a year, to causes near and dear to our hearts—and yours. Starting with a donation from Bobby in 1990, the Furthur Foundation has walked a wide path with groups working on everything from wolves to toxic waste, migratory birds to bank boycotts, music education to marriage equality.

What makes this possible is people like you. Each step of the way, friends have pitched in as best they can. Why? Because they like the way we work. All volunteer, minimal overhead—every penny goes straight to the people doing the work. This means almost all the heavy lifting at Furthur, from the lawyer who keeps us legal to the financial adviser who handles donations of appreciated stock (and makes sure you get that tax deduction), to the accountants, researchers, and social media mavens—they are all in it for the planet.

They also like the way we think. Working together for 25 years means we have a lot of experience, a wide network, and a deep bench. We know a good cause, a good strategy, and a good team when we see it. We stay up on the issues, watch where the dollars go, and pick winners, as best we can.

Enough about us. What about you? What might a partnership with us look like? For some, it’s as simple as making a donation through our Facebook page. For others, it’s sending a check (mailing address to the right). For still others, it’s providing a gift of appreciated stock, which not only provides value to Furthur Foundation, but also significant tax benefits to donors.

However you may choose to support us, we are truly, deeply, profoundly grateful!

Thanks for all you do…


Fresh Family Thinking

Scanning for good opportunities to do good, recognizing social change entrepreneurs, and providing focused support at the right moment (and then getting out the way) is an art and a science. Like any investment strategy, it requires a combination of experience (pattern recognition), instinct, and basic research and networking.

The Furthur Foundation wants to pass this practice on to friends and family (so we started with family).

When Andre Carothers suggested we bring in our kids (or the relational equivalent), the room lit up. Bobby and Natascha in particular. Monet, Chloe, Trevor and Gabriel were on hand a month later to begin the process of looking at projects and thinking through how to be of service.

It’s all in the family…

The best part was watching all the veterans try to explain their thinking to the teenagers. It turns out we had lots of different approaches—all synced up, after a quarter-century of doing this together, in a way that was basically invisible, particularly to us. — Mountain Girl

The teenagers had opinions, it turns out. Powerful ones.

Says Andre, “I brought a project I thought would be well-received, and I made the case to the group. There was some polite back and forth, and then Monet said, simply and directly, that she didn’t get it, and she didn’t think her friends would either. She preferred doing something much more direct. Gabriel agreed, and then Trevor fell in line, and we realized that they were right.”

Fresh eyes, fresh thinking. We are back on our toes again, it seems.