Seattle Culture

Publisher’s Note: The Power of Giving Back

Philanthropy doesn’t have to be complicated

By Jonathan Sposato December 29, 2022


This article originally appeared in the November/December 2022 issue of Seattle magazine.

The world is on fire right now. Now is the time to give back.

So said a good friend managing philanthropic funds at one of the largest nonprofits in the world headquartered right here in Seattle. At the new “Seattle” magazine, we’re on a mission to demonstrate that Seattle is already a world-class city where what happens here matters everywhere.

That cannot be more true than in the area of philanthropy. Yet, ironically, an entire class of younger high-income earners don’t know how to start. A question I get often out in the community is: “I want to do something, but I don’t know how!” This harkens to the beginning of my own tangled journey through the complex landscape of nonprofit organizations. How do you determine what causes are most important? Which nonprofit is most effective? And once you decide, how much should you give? Should you volunteer as well? Are all nonprofits created equal?

That’s what this issue is about. We’ve set out to provide in one place our definitive Greater Seattle guide on “How to Give Back.” We have imbued this issue with substance from many key bellwethers in the philanthropy space. These are the “quiet giants” in our area moving the needle on sheltering the unhoused, providing educational opportunities and tackling complex issues such as climate change and systemic racism. Some are household names, while others you would never hear about unless you are on the “inside” as a nonprofit board member. They are truly angels among us.

And world-class illustrator Ben Wiseman once again brings his considerable talent to our cover. As he has done so often for “Time,” “Newsweek,” “New York Magazine” and countless books, this issue’s cover is inspiring. It will also bring a smile to all who see it.

Whether you’re a seasoned philanthropist or just getting started, we hope this issue inspires your giving and helps to shape your lifelong journey of giving back.

About the Publisher’s Note Column

Publisher's Note is Seattle magazine owner Jonathan Sposato's highly subjective perspective on the issues that confront our community the most.  Jonathan's mission with the publication is to focus our attention on solutions, and to change the conversation in Seattle to an always hopeful, positive, and productive place.

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