“Stories worth telling” — A new resource from foundation with storied past of its own

  • October 6, 2014
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I’ve been fortunate to begin getting to know Julie Rogers, who retired earlier this year from the Meyer Foundation in Washington, D.C. After spending 28 years at the helm of the foundation, Rogers has decided to put down roots here in Colorado.

One of the legacies Roger’s left to the D.C. region was her leadership in creating our colleague organization there, the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers.  She’s also been an active proponent of the nationwide Forum Network, which is made up of 34 regional associations of grantmakers with more than 5,500 participating organizations, making it the largest network in American philanthropy.

Like many foundations, Meyer has a story behind it that goes beyond the source of its wealth – in this case, investment banking. According to the foundation’s website, Eugene Meyer served under seven U.S. presidents and held positions ranging from head of the War Finance Corp., to chairman of the Federal Reserve to founding president of the World Bank. His storied past includes the 1933 purchase of the Washington Post, where he served as publisher and chairmen until his death 26 years later. Agnes Ernst Meyer, his wife, was an accomplished investigative journalist, literary translator, author and activist.

But the stories the foundation perhaps cares about most are those waiting to be told by the many nonprofits it supports. Rogers shared with me this just released publication on storytelling. With support from Meyer, it was produced by  Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication.

The “Stories Worth Telling” project follows the old newspaper editor’s adage of “show me, don’t tell me” by providing examples of compelling stories that have actually worked for nonprofits trying to increase fundraising and bolster outreach efforts.

The project was intended to benefit Meyer Foundation’s grantees. But it’s available for any nonprofit looking to turn its stories into great ones.