From the Editor

March 2009




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From the Editor






From the Editor archives:


March 2009: Priceless Philanthropy


April 30, 2008: Looking Back, Looking Forward


March 20, 2008: Small Deeds Matter


February 1, 2008: Anticipating Super Tuesday


January 20, 2008: What's in a Name


December 18, 2007:  The Story of Stuff


October 8, 2007:  Collaboration: Doing More with Less


September 7, 2007:  Winds of Change


August 1, 2007:  A Way to Collaborate


July 12, 2007: Laying a Foundation


June 4, 2007:  Let the Turf Wars Begin


May 1, 2007:  Building Lives


March 27, 2006: Opportunity Expo, May 1, 2006, Cape Cod Community College


March 14, 2006:  Ideas on Sustaining Cape Cod's Water and Open Space


February 23, 2005:  Sustaining a Volunteer Center


February 7, 2005: The Pulse of Progress at Cape Corps


December 2004:  Volunteering to Sustain Cape Cod


October 2004:  The World Series


May 2004:  The Cape Cod Center for Sustainability Brokers Successful Partnerships among the Cape's Nonprofits  


April 2004:  Building the Wealth of the Cape


August 2003:  A Knuckleball of an Idea





Main Street, Bourne, and Buzzards Bay

Priceless Philanthropy—It's the People Involved

We define "sustainability" simply as maintaining and improving the quality of life of a region. Here on Cape Cod, the nonprofit sector is at the core of activities that enhance our quality of life. Nonprofit organizations make up a significant component of our local economy: they operate year-round, employ thousands of Cape residents, serve thousands more, and strive each day to do more with less. In this economy, these capabilities are more important than ever.

If you are in some way connected to one of Cape Cod's nonprofit organizations, an event planned for March 12th to be held at the Cotuit Center for the Arts is worth attending. Well-established Cape nonprofits including the Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation, the Cape Cod Foundation, the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, capeAbilities, and the nonprofit consulting firm Copley Raff, Inc., are working with David Chase of Chase Solutions to present a program focused on how we can weather this roiling economy.

The event will connect people whose experiences and backgrounds are well versed in the nonprofit world. The panel includes several individuals whose insights are invaluable. Each has worked to achieve significant accomplishments.

Bob Dwyer of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History ( has injected his high level of energy and commitment to revitalizing the museum. For more than fifty years, the enthusiasm and dedication of the museum's extended network of volunteers have been the key resources on which it has established a natural history museum and a nature education center, and it has acted as an exemplary steward of 300 acres of museum-owned land and adjacent conservation property. The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History has long been a preeminent organization in its field.

Larry Thayer of capeAbilities ( has poured incredible creativity and innovativeness into the rebranding of the organization. Watching the development of the farm on Route 6A that now grows crops sold in local restaurants is to observe the flowering of effort by an extended network of people. In addition, capeAbilities provides a range of support services for people with disabilities including job training and placement, housing, transportation, and therapeutic services.

Maggie Van Sciver of the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod ( continues to build an organization committed to Cape Cod's arts community. The yearly open-air concert by the Boston Pops is as fresh with each Cape performance as if it's being presented for the first time. And at the same time, with each year, the benefits offered by the Arts Foundation continue to expand deeper into our arts community. As the regional arts agency for Barnstable County, the Arts Foundation supports and serves individual artists as well as Cape Cod's cultural organizations, museums, archives, performing arts groups, and arts-oriented businesses. 

Larry Raff's work at the Copley Harris Company, now known as Copley Raff (, focuses on helping nonprofit boards to improve their organizational effectiveness. His company has thought long and hard about how best to chart a course through these difficult economic circumstances. And the breadth of the clients they've served across a range of operational, philanthropic, governing, recruiting, and staffing concerns is very deep. Check out the backgrounds of the sixteen consultants presented on their Web page,  Cape Cod Healthcare is one of their success stories.

Tom Mundell of Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation ( can confirm the benefits of the expertise that Larry Raff's organization has provided. And he's then able to suggest how an organization receives good advice and implements it constructively. In doing so, Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation effectively secures funds to support and administer two acute care hospitals, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility, an assisted living facility, a home health service agency, ambulatory care centers, and community health services and programs. Overall, Cape Cod Healthcare employs 4,500 people and is supported by more than 450 physicians.

Elizabeth Gawron of the Cape Cod Foundation ( has been working to connect donors and organizations on the Cape for several years. She's pushed persistently and tactfully to encourage our Cape-based nonprofits to improve their competence as they strive to expand their capacity. For twenty years, the Cape Cod Foundation has linked community resources with community needs. In so doing, it now manages more than 170 individual charitable trusts that distribute the income from their funds to local nonprofit organizations and institutions.

Senator Rob O'Leary's career cuts across several sectors. In addition to his role as our state senator, Rob has taught history at the Mass Maritime Academy and Cape Cod Community College. He's been at the center of several community organizing initiatives over the years including the formation of the Cape Cod Commission and the charter that established Barnstable County's representative legislature, the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates. Rob is now working in the Senate to establish a planning framework for offshore waters. And key to each of these initiatives has been the need not only to define and recognize a public problem but also the need to build consensus that leads to implemented solutions.

David Chase of Chase Solutions ( will moderate the discussion. As a successful entrepreneur and active member of community efforts that enhance our quality of life, such as the redevelopment of the Kennedy ice skating rink in Hyannis, David will make sure that the discussion leads to actions that can be taken now within the capacity we have.

Apart from the insights this group of people can offer, those attending the discussion will benefit from the conversations and opportunities to share experiences with their peers. The cost is reasonable, and there are scholarships for those concerned about even this small outlay of funds.

As I look at the event and think of those who will be present, I realize that much can be gained from the insights to be offered. Each one of our nonprofit organizations has suffered financially this year. And to all of us, these times are cause for worry.

Nevertheless, the real loss that I've felt this year is not financial. Over the past few months, we've lost three people whose commitment and life activities on the Cape have been significant cornerstones of the community we've built. Most recently, David Cole. And before David, Pat Butler. And before Pat, John Creney.

These three people offered their expertise and resources of energy and knowledge. If you knew one or more of them, you know of what I speak. And if you did not know them, it's worth reading their histories and local contributions. They represent the type of commitment that many others have also made throughout the years to enhance the Cape's quality of life. Think of Dexter Leen, Grace Grossman, Paul Lorusso, and many others. The list is long.

From their stories, as well as from those of many others who have lived here, it's clear that the single resource we need to get through these difficult economic times is the support and commitment we each bring to the effort within the capacities we individually possess.

I hope you'll attend this event on March 12th, which you can learn more about by going to the following link: The setting at the Cotuit Center for the Arts ( is warm and inviting. The day will be time well spent. 


Allen Larson

Editor of the Larson Report and president of the
Cape Cod Center for Sustainability