The Group

Donors and individiuals who work with foundations (as staff, consultants, etc.).

The Program

We read Maimonides' "Eight Stages of Charity" and the poem "Mending Wall" by Robert Frost. We intended to discuss the walls that exist between givers and receivers. We held it at a restaurant in a private room.


It went well, but our attendance was skewed in the direction of staff of an association of grantmakers instead of donors themselves. Nevertheless, we began with the question, What walls do we like and not like? Most people got very personal and did not go where we thought they would go (namely, the walls between givers and receivers -- due primarily, again, because we did not have the audience we thought we were going to have). I wish we had spent more time talking about which perspective in the poem (the narrator or the neighbor) we most identified with. We transitioned to Maimonides by asking, Are the eight stages in the right order?

Next Time

I would use the same texts again, but ensure that we had a more diverse set of perspectives in the room. I think our original premise -- a discussion about walls between givers and receivers -- could indeed work with these readings. I'd like to try it again.

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