Love Giving Well

Love Giving Well


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Mark Petersen has learned philanthropy in the process of leading a private grantmaking foundation. It has been a pilgrimage with mountaintops and valleys, high-impact grants and dead-end disasters. He parallels a personal account of a physical pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago alongside his philanthropic journey to create a sense of momentum and intentional movement toward a shared destination. Each of the thirty-five chapters leads with a short journal entry from the author's month-long pilgrimage along the Camino del Norte and Camino Primitivo in Spain.  
Mark uses compelling stories to vulnerably shares fifteen years' worth of failures as well as successes in his journey of philanthropy. Along this journey he developed practical steps for reviewing grant applications and achieving goals for philanthropy. He advances the values of transparency, mutuality, and collaborating with others to achieve common goals.
The vision of philanthropy espoused not only includes charitable impact but suggests the giver can be transformed in the process. The book offers a window into how people of faith struggle with giving, humanizes the mystique of a philanthropist, and provides grantmakers with tangible tools in their efforts to be both shrewd and faithful.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781532601866
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 03/28/2017
Pages: 236
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.54(d)

About the Author

Mark Petersen (BA, MDiv) is the CEO of Stronger Philanthropy, a Toronto firm created to serve major donors with administrative services and as a granting hub for high-impact charitable projects. He is the second generation of a leading Canadian faith-based foundation, which over fifteen years resulted in 2,500 grants totaling $38 million. Mark also hosts the Stronger Philanthropy Podcast in which he interviews grantmakers and grantseekers about giving well.

Table of Contents

Foreword Lorna Dueck ix

Introduction xiii


1 Surprised by philanthropy 3

2 A countercultural journey 9

3 Motivations behind giving 14

Structure and process

4 Starting with good intentions 25

5 Setting priorities 33

6 The need for a clear strategy 38

7 The need for structure 43

8 Formal but flexible processes 47

9 The power of site visits 53

10 Dashboard indicators 57

11 Assessing projects 66

12 Making grant decisions 71

13 Creative responses 75

14 Evaluating progress 80


15 Building charity capacity 87

16 Examples of capacity building 93

17 Funding creativity 102

18 Taking risks 108

19 Examples of innovation 115

20 Beginning in isolation 120

21 Becoming stronger together 123

22 Creative collaboration 129

23 Journeying with beneficiaries 133

24 Learning in community 139


25 Becoming proactive 145

26 A call for greater openness 152

27 Patience required 159

28 Choosing to trust 166

29 Becoming responsive 170

30 Nurturing accountability 174

31 Presence, the most generous gift 178

32 Granting dignity 183


33 An invitation to transformation 191

34 Transformed by philanthropy 196

35 A philanthropy on pilgrimage 201

Acknowledgements 207

Learn More about Stronger Philanthropy 209

Bibliography 211

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Love Giving Well is the compelling story of a reflective man leading a foundation to examine the consequences of the way it supports Christian ministries. Petersen presents us with an inspiring vision for charitable giving that really makes a difference. Fundraisers will learn how to approach foundations more effectively and individual donors will learn how to shift from transactional to transformational giving." 

—John Pellowe, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Council of Christian Charities


"I can recommend scores of books teaching the mechanics of philanthropy and the same number for those that are inspirational. What distinguishes Love Giving Well is Mark's being an artisan and craftsman of philanthropy. Through years of both practice and inspiration he has taught me and others how to approach philanthropy as an art to be valued and learned for the joy of excellence. In other words, this book captures both the prose and the poetry of giving."

—Fred Smith, President, The Gathering

"St. Paul tells the early Christians: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' Was this a teaching they held dear? Mark Petersen suggests that Christians of all ages should. How should Christians think about their giving as essential to their discipleship? Mark has thought through these questions with admirable rigor and reminds us that our giving should not only be generous, but competent and effective, for which he provides practical advice born of experience. To paraphrase St. Augustine: 'Take and give!'"

—Raymond J. de Souza, Senior Fellow, Cardus; Editor-in-Chief, Convivium

"What a strange and wonderful combination of experience and expertise. Mark Petersen, former missionary in the developing world with a spiritual care and leadership focus, and son of entrepreneurial parents with a passion for philanthropy, ends up as the director of the private family foundation that gives away multi-millions for social good, on two separate occasions walks The Camino across Spain, and then births a book that blends it all together with poignant observations, winsome stories, and an intoxicating passion. In a culture that is confused about whether to follow heroes or succumb to the democratization of everything, this book offers the image of the faith-filled pilgrim plodding through the bumpy world of philanthropy with an incisive clarity. A gift."

—Rod Wilson, Consultant; Pastor; former President, Regent College, Vancouver, Canada


"Mark Petersen has thoughtfully, reflectively, prayerfully walked The Camino as a pilgrim. He has also actively participated thoughtfully, reflectively, prayerfully with charities in their work of making a difference in the world which is God's world. To read about either of these journeys of faith would be a privilege and a gift but to read how Mark has intertwined them in word, action, and life is a blessing and the setting of an authentic path for us all. In this very creative book, the story of Camino journeys is brought together with the story of the Bridgeway family foundation and both their clearly articulated priorities for the funds that they share and their learnings along the donor journey. With an emphasis on capacity-building and innovation and the nurturing of the ability to see opportunities to inject creative capital into a charity at a particular moment in its history, Mark Petersen has written a very valuable book for donors and charities and those who recognize the joy and the Gospel imperative to give from what we have received. A 'Buen Camino' of Life to us all!"

—Karen Hamilton, General Secretary, The Canadian Council of Churches


"This book is desperately needed within the places where donor fundraising and philanthropy intersect. In Love Giving Well Mark Petersen moves beyond the transactional to the journey of giving and receiving in which partnership and growth is nurtured. He puts a face on the donor and receiver calling for a new way of relating. It is not easy but Mark knows what he is talking about. He has lived it. This book is a must-read for anyone working in the area of fundraising and those whose generosity is mirrored in their philanthropic endeavors."

—Gary Nelson, President and Vice Chancellor, Tyndale University College & Seminary

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