We believe art is the difference between merely existing and being truly alive.

The Spirit of Giving


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. —Margaret Mead

Students at Mt. Zion Elementary enjoy the Art to Go program.
Students at Mt. Zion Elementary enjoy the Art to Go program, funded by contributions to the Gibbes Museum’s educational programming.

In early November, I was fortunate enough to attend the Lowcountry Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals annual Philanthropy Day Luncheon. Over the years I have been to the luncheon, but on this particular day, I was overwhelmed by the “spirit of giving” that filled the room. Philanthropists, non-profit professionals, corporate sponsors, and foundations all came together to celebrate giving within the tri-county community as part of National Philanthropy Week. Events like these always remind me of why I do what I do. Every single person in that room believes passionately in the cause or mission of an organization. Most, in fact, support numerous causes. Yet, in that setting, we were all connected as we honored Marion and Wayland Cato, Trident United Way, General Dynamics, and Mr. and Mrs. Charles T. Cole Jr. for their wonderful philanthropic support. We learned from Blackbaud’s CEO Marc Chardon about examining the ways we engage with our donors. As Marc stated, donors today want to give more than money, they want a personal experience created through the give and take of information; they want to be part of the cause of the organization whether it be through advocating or volunteering.

Wayland and Marion Cato, and Gibbes Board Member Helen Pratt-Thomas, at the Gibbes Museum.
Marion and Wayland Cato, and Gibbes Board Member Helen Pratt-Thomas, at the Gibbes Museum. Photo by Carolina Photosmith.

We recognize that it is an uncertain time for non-profits as we face the near future and the possibility of potential charitable giving caps. While Americans do not make gifts for tax reasons only, incentives do encourage more giving. The true beneficiaries of these donations are not the generous Americans who make the gifts, but all citizens whose local communities, nation, and world are made better through the work of charitable organizations.

Marnie and Marc Chardon at the Gibbes Museum.
Marnie and Marc Chardon enjoyed the Art on Paper Fair at the museum this fall. Photo by MCG Photography.

As a new member of the Gibbes’ staff, I look forward to getting to know all of our members and supporters. Through your generosity, I am reminded daily of the importance of philanthropy. On my end, I will heed Marc’s advice to listen to you and to continually engage you so as to understand your changing needs and interests in relation to the work of the Gibbes. Additionally, I hope that you will continue to work on behalf of the Gibbes through your time, talent, treasure, and advocacy. Thank you for all that you do to support the Gibbes. Our organization is made better each day because of you. Happy Holidays!

Jennifer Ross, Major Gifts and Grants Consultant, Gibbes Museum of Art

Published December 10, 2012

Jen Ross and Donovan
Jen Ross and singer/songwriter Donovan. Photo by John Cusatis.
Related Content