More February 6, 2009

Food for Thought – 2008 Top Donor

Greetings from the Windermere Foundation,

The Windermere Foundation raised $1.5 million in 2008! Although donations were down, the over-and-above donations exceeded the transaction fee revenue for the 9th consecutive year! Approving the many requests that the Foundation receives gets tougher as donations decrease and the heartbreaking and deserving requests for help continue to grow. For the first time in my 10 years here, I had requests for milk money, gas vouchers and feminine hygiene products. I received several phone calls from the public asking for assistance where the call was prefaced with, “I’ve never had to ask for help, but….” Gulp. With so many families struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads, my hope is that all of our generous agents, owners and staff continue to see the importance of the Foundation’s work.

Speaking of generous donors, I was reading an article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy that included the top donors in 2008 and while I was awed by the amounts donated by a single donor or family, I was also struck by the list of recipients. Colleges, Universities, Museums and Libraries were the big beneficiaries. And while they are important recipients, I wondered why more dollars weren’t given to social service organizations that would be able to help the above mentioned families. But…that’s for another day!

As I’m sure you’re wondering who the top 2008 donor was, I think it’s only fair that I share that info with you. Leona M. Helmsley topped the list donating a whopping $5.2 billion. Yes, billion! As for the recipient? A foundation will be established with the mission to aid dogs. WHOA! Now, I am a HUGE dog lover, but c’mon! I wonder if Ms. Helmsley was still here, and received a phone call from a mom asking for feminine hygiene products for her daughter after being denied these basics at her local food bank, if she would have been persuaded to donate maybe just a billion to a cause that will help struggling families…and their dogs.