Gena Rotstein's blog

Life Lessons Learned - Saying Good-bye

Today I said to goodbye to my friend, my mentor, my cousin and my fellow Rotarian - Larry Ryder.  It has been an emotional morning, and as I write this post I am considering what I share about one of Calgary's and Alberta's business and community leaders.

Lately, I have been writing and speaking on legacy planning and how it isn't about your "mother's pearls, but rather her pearls of wisdom," as one friend told me.  Larry shared a number of pearls with me, as he did with the other business owners and community leaders and politicians. I could write about what he taught with regards to business and running my company, or what he thought about our mayors (depending on the year... heck depending on the day!), or how he convinced me to buy an Alberta PC Party membership.  But all of that seems rather irrelevant now.  

What I want to share about Larry Ryder is what he taught me about commitment to community engagement.

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Ice, Ice Baby - How an Ice Bucket video has impacted charitable giving

My opinion on the #ALSIceBucket campaign has been pretty strong.  In a piece I wrote for the Calgary Herald and other posts about slacktivism campaigns, I talk about the ripple effect of giving.  This is no different, except for this time the Ice Bucket Challenge was given to me.

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Where Disruption and Innovation Intersect

This week I am attending the Grow Conference in Whistler, BC.  The opening presenter, Brian Solis asked the audience – what is at the heart of your business?  The reason being, companies that focus on the social aspects of how they operate in the world are more successful than companies that only focus on the profit. Brian pointed out that innovation and disruption are mutually exclusive, but that new innovation can disrupt a market, just like disruption can lead to innovation.

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Banking on Shared Value: How Dexterity Ventures can help

Last June, Shared Value Initiative released the report called “Banking on Shared Value: How Banks Profit by Rethinking Their Purpose.” In this study, industry leaders explore ways for banks to create shared value, which happens when they yield business returns through their efforts to contribute to the health of the communities around them.

Banks are entering an age of change, where they have an opportunity to emerge from the financial crisis with a new outlook and strategy on how they can serve society. The report features the many different ways that leading financial institutions have embraced this new way of thinking – creating shared value and going beyond the smaller scale corporate philanthropy and CSR efforts of the past.

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Notes from Ray’s Desk: A lot has been going on

Every month Ray Stockford, Systems Analyst for Dexterity Ventures Inc., shares the latest tech updates to the Place2Give website and the technology solutions offered through Dexterity Ventures.

It’s here: We have fully launched DexterityVentures.com, which provides information about our technology products and consulting services, and also acts as a portal to all of our other offerings.

The big news: We beta launched myPlace2Give.com, a brand new tech offering from DVI. With MyPlace2Give you can create your own MicroFoundation containing a collection of your favourite charities. You assign each charity a percentage of the donations, weighting them according to what you care most about.

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Notes from Ray’s Desk: June means systems updates

Every month Ray Stockford, Systems Analyst for Place2Give, shares the latest tech updates to the Place2Give website and the technology solutions offered through Dexterity Ventures.

New products, new websites, and updates to system backend

Place2Give's 'Easy Donate' button: This new option will allow businesses, individuals and charities to easily insert a button into their website to facilitate donations to their favourite organization(s) directly from their own site.

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Row, Row, Row, Your Boat

Need: Cute Firemen - Calgary's response to the floodIt’s the first anniversary of the Southern Alberta Flood and we have been collecting the update stories on how our community has supported some of the front-line charities during and after the crisis.  Things have settled down, and organizations are getting back on their feet; we now have the space to look back and see what we learned and what we could have done differently during this crisis. (Photo credit: http://nothingbythebook.com/category/longer-essays)

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Notes from Ray’s Desk: How May Shaped Up

Every month Ray Stockford, Systems Administrator for Place2Give, shares the latest tech updates to the Place2Give website and the technology solutions offered through Dexterity.

There are a few new features and updates on Place2Give this month:

One of the things that we learned from our users is that having some more visuals around how the data is organized on Place2Give.  So we have now geo-tagged all 1.6Million charities, where they operate and where they are headquartered.  The search results can now be grouped by region and displayed on a map. The results are totaled per region (state/province), and if you hover your cursor above the region it shows the total results for that area. 

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Establishing your Legacy - Creating your Charitable Giving Plan

This week I will be presenting at Wink Calgary.  This is a lunch-time session where I walk a woman named Jane through her legacy planning and charitable gift strategies.  As I was thinking about how best to present the information in a condensed amount of time, and still provide enough information for individuals to be able to start the work on their own, or seek out additional resources as needed, I reflected on what my parents and grandparents have taught me.

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Notes from Ray’s Desk: GIVE-API V2.0, and a Sneak Peek at Motif Giving

Every month, Ray Stockford, Systems Administrator for Place2Give shares the latest tech updates on the Place2Give website and technology solutions offered through Dexterity.

The GIVE-API has been released and the following features are currently available:

  • Basic (keyword) + Advanced (charity size, charity type) search functions
  • Detailed charity information: from contact info to operating budgets to volunteer turn-over rates, numerous information points are available.
  • Charity financial data: Revenue, expenses, profit / loss ratio, liquidity, long term investments
  • Charity Project data: Project details, expenses, volunteer hours, salary cost, material cost
  • Access to Credit Card donation portal: USD + CAD options
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