MaryGrace Rendina is the Senior Project Director at Moonridge Group, a philanthropy consulting firm that advises funders, individual philanthropists and family foundations seeking to strengthen their philanthropic impact. As a Las Vegas native, MaryGrace is dedicated to giving back to her community. She graduated from the University of Nevada Las Vegas with a degree in History and a minor in Marriage and Family Therapy. During her time at UNLV, she continuously volunteered with the Torino Foundation, local schools tutoring, through Alpha Delta Pi and traveling abroad to help tribes in Costa Rica. All her lived experiences have deepened her love for philanthropy and volunteerism.
1) Moonridge Group is focused on strategic corporate giving in order to make a strong social impact. Can you explain what strategic giving means?
Moonridge Group is focused on strategic giving for all funders, including corporations, foundations, and individuals. Strategic giving refers to a deliberate and intentional pathway to creating and sustaining positive social impact all while making a difference in the lives of others. The common goal when adding strategy behind giving is to create and maintain positive change by addressing issues in the community thoughtfully. Strategic giving is not just about charity or giving back but rather it is a notion that to be able to create a world we are happy to live in, we need to be able to identify goals and then work towards leveraging our dollars to achieve actual change for our community. There are many components that go into strategic giving that we like to emphasize at Moonridge Group, a few being utilization of data, philanthropic collaboration, and reviewing the return-on-investment made with charitable giving.
2) What kind of impact can strategic giving make on communities it serves?
Strategic giving can progress a community while making significant deep-rooted impact. When we approach giving strategically, we often get the chance to see long-term sustainable favorable change, improved social development and increased community resilience.
3) What are the challenges Southern Nevada faces that are most in need of philanthropic support?
For the past several years, research has shown that there are many, with the top two being education and healthcare, which includes both physical and mental health.
4) What would you say to someone if they want to get involved in philanthropy and giving, but doesn’t know how to start?
I believe when we perform acts of kindness and generosity, we, as a society, can be fulfilled and take on a healthy life. The most important thing to know when engaging in philanthropy is that it looks different for everyone. Oftentimes philanthropy can be defined as the act of donating money, however it can also look like donating your time, offering up your skillsets and knowledge in specific areas that could benefit the community partners and volunteering. So first, understand your passion and what resonates with you. Secondly, research the non-profits that have missions that align with your passion. Volunteer first and then contribute financially to the non-profits you believe in and want to progress their mission. Moonridge Group, through its Greater Good Council, Nevada Corporate Giving Council and Next Gen Philanthropy Group are great resources for anyone wanting to engage in philanthropy or deepen their footprint through giving. We provide community leaders and philanthropists with knowledge and insights to develop strategic philanthropy programs that address pressing issues in our State and drive positive impact while accessing the knowledge and insights of best-practice leaders, developing levers to effectively measure the impact of their programs, and reviewing statewide data and statistics to accurately assess the needs of the community.
5) This year's Philanthropy Leaders Summit is on September 15. Why is this event important to the community? What can businesses, family foundations and corporate funders take away from this event? Who will be there?
Although we have many meaningful projects within Moonridge Group, our Philanthropy Leaders Summit is one of the most worthwhile for me and has been a labor of love. Attendees have the chance to gain valuable insights from dynamic philanthropic leaders, learn about best practices and trends in giving, and network with like-minded individuals who all have a heart of giving back in worthwhile ways. The Summit ultimately enhances the impact of philanthropic efforts in our state and beyond no matter the capacity in which one can give.
Knowing the important role the Summit has played in the community over the past 12 years by bringing together over 500 corporate funders, family foundations, and individual philanthropists to collectively explore the future of giving leaves me in awe. Visit us at www.philanthropyleaderssummit.com to learn more about the event and our incredible lineup of speakers this year.
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