I was very fortunate the past two evenings to take part in a couple of terrific gatherings as part of the Venture Philanthropy Partners family.  As I’ve written before, VPP is a terrific philanthropic organization that is the brainchild of Mario Morino, the “Godfather of Philanthropy” in the greater Washington, DC area.  He co-founded VPP in ’99 with Raul Fernandez and Sen. Mark Warner.

On Wednesday evening, VPP held an event at the Monocle in Capitol Hill.   The event featured a “Conversation on the Hill with Senator Warner.”   As those of you that have heard him speak can attest, Sen Warner is a terrific and motivating speaker.   He led a terrific discussion about his first 60 days in office; the differences between being a US Senator vs a Governor; the nation’s economic crisis and several other intriguing topics.  Also, it was terrific to hear thought-provoking questions from several of DC’s leading business executives that were in attendance – as well as the responses from Sen. Warner.

Then, earlier tonight, VPP held a Speaker Series event with Matthew Bishop, author of “Philanthrocapitalism” and New York bureau chief of The Economist.  Mario led the discussion with Matthew, then opened it up to questions from the VPP family.  Again, this was a thoroughly intellectually-stimulating hour.  Bishop shared anecdotes from his interviews with Bill Gates, Ted Turner, Warren Buffet and others.

To me, the key takeaway, as noted in previous blogs, is that in these turbulent economic times, we can’t forget about the importance of philanthropy, community service and “giving back” to others.   One can 1) donate time, 2) donate money, 3) donate time and money or 4) do nothing.  A majority do nothing.  Many can’t donate money now due to the rough economic period we’re going through, but one can certainly donate time.  There are many, many people that need our help.  So, if you can donate time to help others, it will be greatly appreciated by those that you are helping.  And, it will give you a good inner feeling, too.

Thank you to Mario, Raul, Mark, Jack Davies, Carol Thompson Cole, Eleanor Rutland, Tim Wierzbicki and the whole VPP family for showing us the way.   VPP is a fantastic organization and I’m proud to be a member of the VPP family.  If you’re interested in learning more, pls go to http://www.venturephilanthropypartners.org.   Peace.