Search millions of discounted books
Keith Swayne and Anne Swayne-Keir
In this episode we connect with Keith Swayne and Anne Swayne-Keir of the Swayne Family Foundation. Our conversation explores how philanthropy aides in creating equity in community beyond writing checks. They share the importance of multi-generational viewpoints when it comes to giving, the historical point of view of where we came from, how far we have moved the needle, and the present understanding of how quickly things change. We also celebrate the life and work of Judy Swayne, Keith’s wife and Anne's mother, and the founder of the Orange County Community Foundation.
Our public podcast service, paired with millions of discounted books curated into topic-themed collections, provides guidance and tools to support lifelong learning.
Keith Swayne, along with his wife, Judy, co-founded the Keith and Judy Swayne Family Foundation. Prior to retirement from his business career, he served as CEO of Case Swayne Co. a major developer and processor of specialty sauces and seasonings for the food service and industrial markets and the successor company, International Food Solutions, a subsidiary of BestFoods/Unilever. Since retirement he has remained active in the community, and business, serving on a number of private company boards and non-profit boards, including, most recently, as Chair of the Orange County Community Foundation Board of Governors.
Keith, in 1997, was a regional winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was recognized by the California Association of Human Rights Organizations for his work in the Human Rights field. He was named Philanthropist of the Year at National Philanthropy Day in 2019. He has received numerous other awards for his work in the non-profit field.
He has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Oregon and an MBA from UC Berkeley. He served as an officer in the Navy with duty in Vietnam. He was married 50 years to Judith, who passed away in 2014 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. They have two children and one lovely granddaughter.
Anne Swayne-Keir graduated from the University of Oregon in 1997, received her teaching credential from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California in 2002 and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine in 1998.
Anne has served as a trustee on the board of her family foundation, The Keith and Judy Swayne Family Fund, since 2007. Nationally, she has worked with Exponent Philanthropy Next Generation Committee and Resource Generation Family Philanthropy Planning branch for 2 years on the planning committee for the Creating Change for Family Philanthropy Retreat. She is a certified family foundation consultant trained at 21/64.
Anne developed a local chapter of EPIP, (Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy). EPIP Hawaii was a chapter of a national organization that through a social justice lens, developed new leaders to enhance organized philanthropy and its impact on communities. She co-founded, Next Gen Hui. Next Gen Hui was an organization that focused on bringing together young donors and trustees in Hawaii to share ideas and learn and implement progressive and innovative methods of giving that contribute to systemic shifts in local philanthropy. Next Gen Hui organized and collaborated with other funders on several initiatives: Kukulu Switchboard and Funder Hui. Anne currently serves on the board of two funder initiatives: Hoi’wai Fund and Funder Hui.
When Anne is not focusing on philanthropy, she enjoys volunteering her time to local nonprofits. She has served and is currently serving on the board of KUA, The Hawaii Arts Alliance, Hawaii Public Radio, The Merwin Conservancy, and The Hawaii Contemporary. Anne has presented on panels and workshops for the Hawaii nonprofit community and helped organize educational sessions for the annual HANO nonprofit conference.
Anne also enjoys her time with her 13-year-old daughter Linnaea, hiking in the Northwest and Hawaii, traveling, the arts, visiting the beach and reading.
"...when you're in a position of privilege and power, whether or not you want to face it or not, I think it is actually an obligation and a responsibility to use that space that you reside in responsibly and give back. If it's not with money, it's with how you live your life, how you interact with other people, how you're engaging yourself, maybe even the work you do."
Adjust Accordingly: Placing Equity into Practice is a series of discussions about personal experiences of inequity and how industries, organizations, and people are working to move equity forward.
Each conversation will highlight the challenges, opportunities, and strategies for confronting these issues in our communities while collectively progressing toward a more equitable future.
Produced with Orange County Grantmakers with support from Orange County Community Foundation.
Guests: Keith Swayne and Anne Swayne-Keir
Hosts: Jon-Barrett Ingels
Produced by: Past Forward
[00:00:02] Anne Swayne-Keir: I think the reality is we can only do so much. Hopefully, what we do, and the experimenting and risk-taking that we're doing within our foundation work will cause other people to think a little bit about what they're doing and ask some questions. Not like we really know completely that we're doing it right, but that we're challenging what has been traditional and really wanting to make more systemic change, and systemic change within the philanthropic community.
[00:00:33] Keith Swayne: I'm sure when I was younger, I wanted things instantly fixed and changed. As you get older, you realize you can't instantly fix things, but you have to keep working at it. A long time ago, I had to acknowledge I'm not going to change the world, but I can work at a micro-level in my community to bring about change in my community. I think if we all strive to do that, eventually we move the needle and things do get better. That has happened to a large extent.
“We come into this opportunity to give money into the community. We can be super engaged, but still, it's the people who are actually working on the ground that know the situation the best.”
[00:01:01] Host: Orange County Grantmakers and Past Forward present Adjust Accordingly: Placing Equity into Practice. A series of discussions about how inequity is experienced in life and work, and how industries, organizations, and people are working to move equity forward. This series was produced with support from the Orange County Community Foundation. In this episode, we connect with Keith Swayne and his daughter Anne Swayne to discuss their work with the Keith and Judy Swayne Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization supporting inclusion in the communities of Orange County and Hawaii.
We talk about the foundation's move toward trust-based philanthropy, what that looks like, and how it serves organizations that need the most support. They share the similarities and differences between their two regions of Hawaii and California in terms of need. And we celebrate the life and work of Judy Swayne and her passion for lifting up the community around her.
Let's start with a broad question, and it may come across as a really easy answer, but I hope that it's not. What role does philanthropy play in creating an equitable community in society? I know it has to be more than just, those who have give to those who don't.
[00:02:22] Anne: I was talking to my dad about this yesterday. For me, the first thought that comes to mind is the internal structure of philanthropy. It's not just, where we give money and what organizations that we're giving money to, but how we're operating internally and with the grantees. Do we have community members who are actually involved in the grant-making process, or do we have an advisory committee that's giving us insight? Because we don't really know. We need to learn that information.
We come into this opportunity to give money into the community. We can be super engaged, but still, it's the people who are actually working on the ground that know the situation the best. How are we investing our funds? Are we thinking about that? Is it contradicting what we're actually giving our money to? How are we communicating with grantees? Are we transparent? Are we vulnerable? Are we able to say, yes, we make mistakes and we're learning and we really want to learn from you? Is it a team effort or is it, I'm going to tell you where you should be using your money, and I will only give you that money for that particular thing?
Those are the questions that I have when you said that. That's what I think about a lot in terms of how we structure our giving. We're not even really close to what is ideal, but at least we're trying to ask those questions and move in that direction and learn from other people who are.
[00:03:54] Keith: I think I would add to that. I totally agree with Anne that we're on that journey. I think from the very outset in our philanthropy, we really wanted to try to get rid of this gap that exists between grantees and grantors. Like Anne said, to get closer to the community itself and learn from them as opposed to think we have all the wisdom and we know where to put the money and we know how to do it. I think both of us in our own ways are doing that.
She's doing it, clearly, in Hawaii. She's doing it. I've worked hard here to have connection with a number of the executive directors of the nonprofits themselves so that I can develop a personal relationship with them and better understand what they're trying to accomplish. All the things that Anne said, we're trying to move towards participatory grantmaking involving community members, and just make the whole process easier for grantees.
I think the nonprofit community is getting much better at wanting to learn more from the community directly as opposed to simply write checks and make grants. I think there is a movement to make it easier for grantees as well, not so onerous writing long reports after a grant year that nobody reads, for example. I think there's a trend to move away from that.
[00:05:17] Host: Like you said, Anne, the punishment for making mistakes and this punitive cloud that sits over, of like, "All right, I got to make sure that I do everything by the book."
[00:05:30] Anne: Right.
“I think they're uniquely different challenges in those regards, but in both places, you have an underserved population that's living in the margins and doesn't have a voice and has obstacles placed in front of them that prevent them from really having completely fulfilling lives.”
[00:05:32] Host: Anne, as you're in Hawaii, and Keith, you're in Orange County, I'd love to know from a philanthropic lens, what are some of the similarities between Hawaii and Orange County in terms of need?
[00:05:49] Anne: Well, they're two very different places. Dad, do you want to answer first or?
[00:05:55] Keith: Yes, I'll speak to it a little bit, and then you certainly can. I think that, just exactly what Anne was starting to touch on, we are distinctly different. Hawaii has had a very diverse population historically, but they also have roots that go back to colonialism in Hawaii. Orange County went from being a predominantly white agricultural community to a highly diverse county with many, many different ethnic groups and racial groups. Over my lifetime, the change has been dramatic.
I think they're uniquely different challenges in those regards, but in both places, you have an underserved population that's living in the margins and doesn't have a voice and has obstacles placed in front of them that prevent them from really having completely fulfilling lives. I think that's true in both places. The form it takes may be different, but it's present in both locations.
[00:06:55] Anne: In Hawaii, we have major issues around the Native Hawaiian population and what that means; from land conservation, from cultural practices, and the history there is a long history that isn't a very good history. In Hawaii, we have a lot of conversations, especially recently, of the decolonization of wealth, and what that means in Hawaii, and just that topic. There was a book that was written recently by a Native American man, I believe it was Decolonization of Wealth. It talks about just what that looks like, and how do we actually think about that in our philanthropy, how do we consider that history, and how do we incorporate that into our giving. There's a lot of other examples too, why it's different. I think, like my dad said, there are underserved populations in Hawaii, just like anywhere else, and there's always a need for philanthropy and assistance in the communities.
[00:07:59] Host: I'd like to jump into the most recent grants that were presented in December focusing on social justice. Keith, I'd love for you to help me understand this concept of trust-based philanthropy.
[00:08:19] Keith: Well, I may have my daughter answer that question [crosstalk].
[00:08:21] Host: Sure.
[00:08:23] Keith: Would you like me to speak to the social justice fund [crosstalk]?
[00:08:26] Host: Yes, please. Absolutely.
[00:08:29] Keith: Just a little background on our philanthropy, we started as a private foundation, and then a few years ago we changed to a donor-advised fund. We were finding naturally that our inclination is to look for organizations that are working to serve the underserved population. A lot of that is social justice issues. In Orange County, I began to think if we really want to have a big impact in Orange County, a lasting impact on social justice issues, we can't do it independently. We didn't have the breadth of understanding in the community to really understand all the issues as well as we should.
We had credibility, but not as great a credibility as we might have in some other form. That was really the rationale behind carving out a significant part of our donor-advised fund in Orange County and creating this field of interest funds specifically focused on social justice through the Community Foundation. They bring a better knowledge of those issues. Broader knowledge. They have a credibility and a stature as an organization.
Part of what I felt, and I'm sure Anne feels the same way that needed to be done, we need to call attention to social justice issues that need to be addressed, needs to be openly discussed. By forming this fund and housing it at the Community Foundation, we created a meaningful fund and we gave it stature and credibility. The hope is that we will attract other funders to join us in this quest. We made our first grant, which you probably already know, to 25 grantees. Back to your question about trust-based philanthropy and participatory philanthropy, the intent is to move how we give that money away to be more in the trust-based format and with community involvement in what we're doing.
I personally feel really good about the fact that we set up this fund because I think it is going to call attention to the issues in a more profound way, I think. Hopefully, we're going to attract some other funders to join us. I think we will.
“We're trying to build trust between the grantees and the grantors because we have a common goal. We're each trying to work to address a need in the community we live in.“
[00:10:53] Anne: I can share a little bit about trust-based philanthropies. These are two newer concepts for us and especially for me. The work that I've been doing in Hawaii, I have connected with people who are starting to have these conversations about participatory grant-making and trust-based philanthropy. There are a couple of projects that I'm working on in Hawaii where we're actually applying those. In doing that, I have had conversations with my dad saying, I think it would be a good idea for us to apply this to our work at the social justice fund.
Trust-based philanthropy, essentially there's a number of pieces to it, but it's really creating a more trusting relationship with the nonprofits. How do you do that? More transparency, eliminating the grant application process, if you can, moving in that direction, so it's really based on asking questions in person or by Zoom and really building that relationship with them outside of, "Oh, you need to complete this long, grueling application." Then the reporting out process could be a Zoom call or a-- Do we do site visits? I don't know. It depends. Sometimes it's over the top in what funders expect of their grantees to perform for them.
It's eliminating some of those very traditional aspects of philanthropy, being responsive, being open to suggestions from grantees like, how could we be doing this better? What would you like us to be doing? What organizations could we support outside of your organization too that would fit a bigger puzzle? Anyway, there's lots of components to it, but that's essentially very different from traditional philanthropy where it's, we have the money, this is what we're going to give you. It's very focused on a program and there are specific things that we want reported back.
Now it's more, if you have a general idea of how the board is made up in the nonprofit, the leadership that exists, then you're really supporting the organization. You're not supporting just a program, you're supporting the livelihood of that organization as a whole.
[00:13:11] Keith: That's a good point. We give general operating funds and have been doing that for some time. That's moved us away from program financing. It's the idea if an organization is strategically focused on areas that we think are important and that are important to the community and they're doing a good job, then we should fund them and let them figure out how to use that money because they're best able to do that.
I think another thing, and Anne touched on it in what she said, is it's really trust-based philanthropy is about trust. We're trying to build trust between the grantees and the grantors because we have a common goal. We're each trying to work to address a need in the community we live in. We're going to be much more capable of doing that if we're sitting at the table talking to each other about how to do it as opposed to having this gap with a lot of formality around it and comprehensive grant-making applications and reporting outs that are just burdensome and don't really accomplish a great deal.
“When you eliminate that strange, Wizard of Oz sort of thing really, and that we're just people, we happen to have the opportunity to give away money in the community, and it's an incredible privilege to be able to do it, and we need to have insight as much as possible from the community to do it effectively, when you remove that wall and you actually start having conversations with people as just another person, I think there's more magic there and the ability to create more change, in my opinion.”
[00:14:13] Anne: I feel like with smaller family foundations, grantees often don't meet the actual trustees that are on the board, so there's this, "Who are these people? Who are they as individuals?"
[00:14:31] Host: Shadow figures.
[00:14:33] Anne: Right. When you eliminate that strange, Wizard of Oz sort of thing really, and that we're just people, we happen to have the opportunity to give away money in the community, and it's an incredible privilege to be able to do it, and we need to have insight as much as possible from the community to do it effectively, when you remove that wall and you actually start having conversations with people as just another person, I think there's more magic there and the ability to create more change, in my opinion.
"...it's looking at diversity as an asset in the county as opposed to, somehow it's a problem because we have all these different ethnicities and races and they create a tension and burden on society."
[00:15:11] Host: When working with the community and looking at social justice and equity specifically, what determines the most need? Have you ever felt like something got missed or passed over or an opportunity to help was lost as there are so many things that need attention at the same time?
[00:15:36] Keith: How you determine the need, I would suspect that if you interviewed 10 people, you'd probably get 10 different answers as to what the need is. There's more need that can be readily addressed. We can't address every need that's in the community individually as an individual funder. I think if you can develop a focus within your own giving as to what's really most important to you, and we tried to do that with a social justice fund that in Orange County, it's looking at diversity as an asset in the county as opposed to, somehow it's a problem because we have all these different ethnicities and races and they create a tension and burden on society. Then focused on collaboration, bringing people together to address common issues, and then advocacy and being able to participate in the political and judicial process.
"My own personal feeling is I want to do what I can to make Orange County inclusive of all people regardless of their race, their ethnicity, their religion, or any other characteristic. For me, that's the need that I'm looking at. If the barriers that exist get in the way of that, how do we help eliminate them?"
For me personally, I've been involved with Orange County Human Relations Council since its inception. They deal principally with hate crimes and racial discrimination and issues around that. My own personal feeling is I want to do what I can to make Orange County inclusive of all people regardless of their race, their ethnicity, their religion, or any other characteristic. For me, that's the need that I'm looking at. If the barriers that exist get in the way of that, how do we help eliminate them? Then the barriers that exist just because of the fact that you weren't born white or you weren't born middle class where you can't get a decent education or you don't have access to healthcare or you can't find housing. All of those things are obstacles that I think deserve to have attention paid to. They are… I think philanthropy is really stepping up to address these things. I've certainly seen it in Orange County, but it's hard to say, is there some defined set of rules? Here's the priority. We're all going to set our priorities based on what we think is the things that are of primary interest.
[00:17:43] Anne: I think, for me, I agree with everything that my dad just said, but I also think about making sure that all communities have a voice and that they're heard. Providing space for that and resources for that to actually feel empowered to speak for themselves and what they need in their communities. That's something that we've been supporting with Latino Health Access, for example, and other organizations in Hawaii, underserved communities who maybe just feel voiceless and are intimidated by the process of actually testifying and speaking up.
"I think my entire journey in philanthropy has been all about, how do we dilute that power dynamic, and how we do it, and how we structure ourselves as a foundation, where we give, how we conduct ourselves in the community."
[00:18:26] Host: I'd love to know, how important is it to have this multi-generational point of view to ensure that things don't get missed or passed over. No offense to the older generation, but I think that there is a different point of view and a different perspective that younger generations, even younger than us, are going to bring to the table.
[00:18:50] Anne: When I got involved in philanthropy, my background was education, and I'm a former Peace Corps volunteer. I was familiar with philanthropy because of my mom, obviously, and the work that she did, but I never really imagined myself being in the shoes that I'm in right now. Initially, when I got involved, I really wanted to meet other young people that were joining their family boards. Just curious, is anybody else thinking what I'm thinking? Because the one thing that really made me uncomfortable was the power dynamic sitting in that space.
I think my entire journey in philanthropy has been all about, how do we dilute that power dynamic, and how we do it, and how we structure ourselves as a foundation, where we give, how we conduct ourselves in the community. I hope I've created some positive influences on our foundation. For me, it's been a really huge learning curve.
[00:19:53] Keith: You don't see me doing a thumbs down or anything like that [crosstalk]?
[00:19:56] Anne: Yes. Social justice for me, I learned about this fund called the Needmor Fund years ago when I first started and I thought, "Oh, it's so cool." The only community member. It's a family fund that was started, but community members run it. It's completely social justice-minded from how it's-- They completely walk the talk. When I heard about that, I thought, "We should really start thinking about not having--" We actually identified social justice as the fourth of four things that we were focusing on, women's issues, environment, youth, and then social justice, and I said, "We really need to infuse social justice and everything. It doesn't make sense to have it in one category alone."
Those conversations came out of me meeting other young people and getting involved in committees nationally through Exponent Philanthropy, Resource Generation was another great resource for me, 21/64, the National Center for Responsive Philanthropy. We joined the Philanthropy Promise, which is basically certain criteria that you have to follow. One being 50% of your funds go to underserved communities. You create an advisory board, which we did. It really pushes foundations to get out of the traditional box and move into, we're working as a team, we happen to have the resources, but we need to work together with the community. We have a long ways to go.
[00:21:34] Keith: We've come a long ways too.
[00:21:35] Anne: We have. We have come a long ways. I was thinking about your other question regarding, what areas haven't we focused on, or what have we overlooked. I think the reality is we can only do so much. Hopefully, what we do and the experimenting and risk-taking that we're doing within our foundation work will cause other people to think a little bit about what they're doing and ask some questions.
Not like we really know completely that we're doing it right, but that we're challenging what has been traditional and really wanting to make more systemic change, and systemic change within the philanthropic community, within foundations, how we look at our role, I think is really key. Otherwise, we're not going to be able to do the work effectively if we're not questioning our own role.
"I think our generation brings a historic perspective and can share with the younger generation, this is where we were. We certainly haven't gotten to the end of the journey, and I doubt that we ever will, but here is where we were, and here is where we are now, and here is some of the challenges that were faced then."
[00:22:28] Keith: I agree totally with what Anne says. She has brought an energy and connection in the community that I wouldn't have had in my age bracket, let's say. The other side of that is, I'm 82 years old. Anne is 47 or somewhere around there. My life experience is totally different and what I've witnessed. The civil rights movement was going on when I was in my early 20s. I was at Berkeley when a lot of that was going on. I had time in the service and had young guys serving under me that came from inner-city areas and were of color, undereducated. The opportunities for people that were marginalized at that time was minimal.
I think our generation brings a historic perspective and can share with the younger generation, this is where we were. We certainly haven't gotten to the end of the journey, and I doubt that we ever will, but here is where we were, and here is where we are now, and here is some of the challenges that were faced then. There is a little bit of, I'm sure when I was younger, I wanted things instantly fixed and changed. As you get older, you realize you can't instantly fix things, but you have to keep working at it.
A long time ago I had to acknowledge I'm not going to change the world, but I can work at a micro-level in my community to bring about change in my community. I think if we all strive to do that, eventually we move the needle and things do get better. That has happened to a large extent, but there's a long ways to go. The young generation, Anne's generation, and her energy and her enthusiasm about learning more about what's going on and new trends has been very valuable. I like to think that I'm reasonably receptive to that, even given the age difference.
[00:24:25] Anne: Well, young now. I'm aging out of the young category.
[00:24:32] Keith: Yes, you are. You're getting old.
[00:24:32] Anne: I believe I'm out of that category. I have a 12--
[00:24:36] Keith: Relative to me, you're young.
[00:24:37] Host: I am as well.
[00:24:40] Anne: I have a 12-year-old daughter, which I hope decides to get involved in this work as well. It will be really interesting to see the kinds of questions she might have for me and for my dad at some point about maybe we need to be looking at things even more differently. Every generation has something to offer. I'm the Generation X, which we're a little bit cynical and skeptical, right? I think I've been really fortunate to have a dad and a mom where we all share core values growing up. It was a pretty easy transition to get involved in this work because of that because we can work together and I think we feel pretty strongly about the injustices that exist and our responsibility.
[00:25:32] Host: I want to take this opportunity to talk about your mom and the legacy that she left behind and the incredible work that Judy did in support of her community, if we could just take a moment to celebrate that.
[00:25:48] Keith: Yes, I can comment on that. Judy had a career as a teacher, as an aid to a county supervisor, and then moved into philanthropy on a larger basis. She went to work for the California Community Foundation. As I believe the story goes, they were exploring whether or not they would move down to Orange County. I think the decision was they didn't want to at that time. Her decision was that Orange County needed to stop being the country cousin of LA County and we were entitled to have our own community foundation.
I remember when she came home and started talking to me about a community foundation, I had no idea what she was talking about. Within our own home, there was an education process that had to go on. As much as I was an entrepreneur in business, she was an entrepreneur in the nonprofit field, because she had the courage to go out to leaders in the county, get meetings with them, and talk about forming a community foundation and then get their support, active support, to help her put that together.
She put together a very strong board initially. I think it was around the idea that Orange County deserved to have a community foundation that would be an institution in perpetuity, that would address the needs of the county as they changed over time. I'm not sure she could have imagined it would be as large as it is as we're rapidly approaching, or maybe we passed it by now, giving away $1 billion and having assets well over $500 million. When you think about the start, I think she got a $2 or $3 million grant from the Irvine Foundation, was the start. She was a very tenacious, very determined, very focused lady. It paid off in putting that Community Foundation together and getting it on solid footing in the first 10 years. Then I think handing it off to Shelley, Shelley brought a new energy and vibrance to it and has done an outstanding job growing the Community Foundation to where it is today.
Just as a side note for me, I served on the board for nine years and had the opportunity to serve as chair, it was a complete cycle for me to go from, I have no idea what a community foundation is to now I'm the chair of one. I think Judy, if she were still alive, she would be chuckling if she knew about that. She gave her all to it. She was also a mentor to many nonprofit leaders in the county. There are a lot of fond memories of Judy and her influence on the Orange County nonprofit community. She was an inspiration to me. I'm sure that led to why I got as involved in philanthropy as I have, and I'm sure she was an inspiration to Anne as well.
[00:28:44] Anne: Yes. I think the heart and values that both my parents, my mom held closely, and my dad, really motivate me and inspire me. I look at it that way, that the work that I'm involved in is carrying on a bit of a vision of my mom. She was definitely a force, but more importantly, for me, she was my mom. As much as she was a presence in the community, she was also just a really good mom and role model for me.
Both my parents came from humble beginnings in a lot of ways. They benefited from things like the Boys & Girls Club, or my mom, her father was an immigrant from Sweden and her mother grew up in a Swedish family, but they were from the United States. Neither one of them had gone to college. I think I have a lot of respect and admiration for both my parents for how far they went considering where they started. I just feel really lucky to be involved in this work. Always have been.
[00:30:00] Keith: I think, in that regard, neither of my parents graduated from high school. My mother was an immigrant family from Russia. I think when I look back on it, I've been for the underdog all along in my life, the people that find themselves in the margins or don't have a voice. To be in a position where you can actively and impactfully do something about giving those people a voice and helping everyone have an opportunity to achieve to their full potential, even if it's in a small way, it's a wonderful position to be in. I'm very fortunate to be at this point in my life and still be engaged in doing these things.
"You can be a bystander and watch what's going on and complain about it, or be cynical about it, or ignore it, or you can engage and find a way to engage."
[00:30:43] Host: That perfectly leads me to my final question. Do you see charity and philanthropy as a moral imperative for those that have the means to be able to share? If so, how do you encourage those who are tenacious or lucky enough to have the means to become donors and to give back?
[00:31:13] Keith: Yes, that's a good question. Moral imperative is a little-- I don't know whether it's a moral imperative. I think people, it's not so much that if you've had success and you've built wealth, you have an obligation to give back. I think, in my view, it's more you have a choice to make in life. You can be a bystander and watch what's going on and complain about it, or be cynical about it, or ignore it, or you can engage and find a way to engage. Engaging could be if you've had good fortune and you have some wealth, it can be done with financial resources, but it can be done in a variety of other ways. As a volunteer, you can find a way to engage and make a difference.
I think it's more about there are a lot of needs in society, a lot of needs in our community, and you make that choice. You can stand by and watch it, not get engaged, or you can choose to be engaged. Everyone I meet, I try to encourage them to find a way to be engaged. For some, it's being a volunteer, and for others, it's creating a philanthropic fund and doing the kinds of things that we've done. I think we're doing a little bit of both. We're engaged on a one-on-one basis, and engaged in making grants as well.
We're a very fortunate country. When you look at what's going on in the rest of the world right now, the catastrophe in Turkey and Syria and the war in Ukraine and you see the good fortune we have in this country, I think there is an obligation to do your part to make sure that those opportunities are available for everyone who resides here and not just a few.
[00:32:57] Anne: My response to that is when you're in a position of privilege and power, whether or not you want to face it or not, I think it is actually an obligation and a responsibility to use that space that you reside in responsibly and give back. If it's not with money, it's with how you live your life, how you interact with other people, how you're engaging yourself, maybe even the work you do. I work with younger people. Younger people?
I guess, the next generation. Most of the people that I work with here in Hawaii have grandfathers or parents that started foundations. Their engagement really has a lot to do with their relationships with their parents and grandparents and whether or not they have a voice on the board. A lot of the work that I do is really encouraging people to speak up on their board. That's usually driven by a patriarchal grandfather or father who usually has the last word.
It's been interesting to see what has been happening as more and more trustees on older, larger foundations are starting to say, "Hey, have we considered this or have we considered this?" I think for the work that I'm involved in and the generation that I'm working with, I think there's potential for even more change as more people start to speak their mind about what needs to change.
[00:34:35] Host: If you would like to continue the conversation, visit Orange County Grantmakers at ocgrantmakers.org and the Orange County Community Foundation at oc-cf.org. To listen to more episodes and find books written by and recommended from our guests, visit pastforward.org or follow us on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you podcast.
Past Forward is a curiosity company dedicated to educational accessibility.