Dorothy Batten is passionate about philanthropy. Through the DN Batten Foundation, she supports efforts that empower those who lack resources for well-being and initiatives that preserve and protect nature and animals around the world. Additionally, her iThrive Games venture develops innovative approaches to improving mental health among teens.
Closer to home, Batten wanted to make a meaningful difference in her own community and partnered with the Community Foundation. Since 2010, she has provided significant support for the Foundation’s discretionary grant-making program.
Batten’s approach with the Foundation includes three components: 1) funds that are administered independently through the grant tracks; 2) a separate, independently managed annual fund for the community (the Batten Family Fund); and 3) a donor-advised fund for larger and/or one-time funding opportunities.
Why has the Community Foundation been a good fit for you in achieving your philanthropic goals?
My giving has evolved over time, and I have developed different tools for philanthropy, one of which is giving through the Community Foundation. I have tended to focus on more global issues, but I also wanted to have an impact in the community. That’s where the Community Foundation comes in — they are a wonderful resource because they really know the community and what issues are the most important, and who’s poised to have the most impact in our community.
What have you been able to do for the community through the Foundation that you wouldn’t have been able to accomplish otherwise?
No one donor can solve a community’s problems. One of the greatest things about working with the Community Foundation is that for every dollar I give, they can hopefully get other donors and other community members to partner in funding specific initiatives. Each issue is like a puzzle. The Community Foundation can find different people to address different parts of these complex challenges, and together we can develop ways to solve the problem in a more unified and impactful way.
What advice would you give to current or potential Community Foundation donors?
I’ve learned it’s important not to give in a vacuum. You want to appeal to your heart and your passions, but at the same time, you want to be an informed donor. I would really like to see donors with donor-advised funds trust the Foundation to use some of their funds to give to the community in a more collaborative way. If everyone did that, just think of the impact we could have on the community.
So, we need a community convener like the Foundation that can bring everyone together and tackle issues in a multidimensional way. If we can identify donors who are interested in solving similar challenges, and each donor is willing to address one piece of these complex issues, whenever a funding opportunity comes up, this group of mission-aligned people can be more impactful.
Photo by Monica Pedynkowski
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