HYANNIS – The annual Philanthropy Day on Cape Cod drew a sold out crowd to the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis on November 12.
The event is a day-long conference for non-profit professionals, volunteers and board members working with organizations of any size. Professional advisors such as attorneys, estate planners, financial advisors, accountants and others also attend.
Gerry Desautels, vice president of development for Latham Centers Inc. and co-chair of Philanthropy Day, said this year’s event was sold out with 575 registered attendees.
“This event is special because it gathers everyone under one tent. It’s sort of what I call ‘Switzerland.’ There are competitors there but we’re all there because we love the Cape and Islands. The event is about giving back to the community. Philanthropy isn’t just about money. It’s about giving time, resources and improving the world and society and the towns we live in, village by village, across the Cape and the Islands. Everyone gets that and is there to support a common goal and cause,” Desautels said.
Between the Cape and the Islands, there are about 1,000 non-profits, from very small ones run out of someone’s home to the largest organizations, like Cape Cod Healthcare, Desautels said.
“It’s a major industry,” Desautels said. He predicts that the future will bring more collaboration among the Cape’s non-profits and for profit businesses.
He pointed to some collaboration ideas, like cause-brand marketing, collaborating on an event or an initiative and encouraging employee volunteerism, which is said to result in higher rates of retention in their employees. “They feel more a part of the community and they feel supported by their employer to give more of themselves to the community,” he said.
A highlight of this year’s Philanthropy Day, according to Desautels, were youth sessions including one with the theme of Raising a Philanthropist. Youths from as far away as Nantucket attended the event.
Three awards were given out at the awards luncheon. Business of the Year went to Shepley Wood Products. The award was accepted by Tony Shepley on behalf of his employees.
The Student of the Year was Katie Curran, 16, of Sturgis Charter Public School. She is helping the youth of Cape Cod be both philanthropically and internationally minded, Desautels said.
The two Volunteers of the Year are Jill Roethke and Jim Pignato, co-chairs of Swim America Nantucket an event to raise money for cancer care on Nantucket.
Next year’s Philanthropy Day on Cape Cod will take place on November 10, 2015.