Education entry points explored through World War I point of view

Terrapin Advisors is collaborating with the World War I Museum to develop new entry points for arts education for museum visitors. Few people are aware of the important role art played during the First World War and the period immediately afterwards. 

Contact us if you would like to learn more about this highly confidential and classified initiative. 

Technology education is a key focus at Boston Roundtable

Last week, Terrapin Advisors hosted a roundtable of leading corporations to evaluate the needs of the incoming technology workforce, where scholarships are a critical priority.

The numbers tell us that scholarships have never been in greater demand. Consider these three statistics from Scholarship America:

  1. By 2025, our country’s workforce will need 11 million more postsecondary credentials than are in the current education pipeline.
  2. National student loan debt totals more than $1.2 trillion. That’s second only to mortgage debt!
  3. Low income students are 30% less likely to go to college, when compared with their high income counterparts of equal merit and talent.

So what can you do? If you are one of the millions of people in America who gives to charity each year, consider a gift of a scholarship as part of your portfolio of social impact activities.

Giving toward scholarships includes options for everyone. Here are a few ideas that the roundtable committed to sharing with the public through social media channels:

  1. Contact your alma mater to find out which college scholarship programs need a boost. According to Giving USA, more than 15% of annual giving each year goes to higher education. A contribution in any amount is valuable, whether that is $25, $250, $2500 or more.
  2. Get in touch with the team at the community foundation serving your region. The experts at the community foundation are among the most well-informed professionals in the country on philanthropy and how to connect donors to favorite causes in the community.
  3. Consider giving directly. Many families and social groups support each other by helping pay for kids’ college educations. Whether you are an aunt or uncle helping with a niece or nephew’s tuition or a family friend writing checks to pay for a student’s online courses, or you are contributing money to a scholarship fund for children who’ve lost a parent, you are making the future brighter for a student. These activities are not eligible for a charitable tax deduction under IRS regulations, but the spirit of sharing is a wonderful way to do good and support academic pursuits of young people.

Supporting the nursing workforce of tomorrow

Terrapin Advisors is happy to report that a group of its clients has been working together for more than 15 years to fund a nursing scholarship opportunity for graduating seniors. 

Today we heard from Sarah McKenzie, who received the group's first scholarship in 2003, when she graduated from Black Point High. 

"Without this financial support and the boost in confidence that came with it, I would not be where I am today. My passion for helping people came alive when I received the scholarship. I am now in my seventh year as a Registered Nurse at Black Point Medical Center, and I couldn't be more grateful." 

Maddox and Hilda Farha, representatives of Terrapin's client group that form this giving circle, are just as grateful. "Watching this young woman succeed has changed our lives," Hilda says. "Making this gift has enriched our lives beyond description."

Stay tuned for more stories of success from this terrific client group!

innovation in community health solutions

Terrapin Advisors supports key organizations that provide education and family-oriented outreach to promote health and wellness, especially to younger populations. Innovative strategies are a must; only through aggressive, bold innovation do we believe true progress will be made. 

Our firm has identified priority organizations for inclusion our community health solutions grant initiative. Selection is based on research, along with a rigorous dialogue and analysis around the following set of questions:

  • Does our support promote health and wellness to an identified, underserved population in the communities we serve?

  • Are the most talented people involved in making sure objectives are met?

  • Does the organization have any programs or events that teach health and wellness to a younger population? To families? Are new strategies deployed? Is the organization willing to take risks, piloting new projects with small, fast trials to fail and learn quickly?  

Organizations receiving funding include:

  • Children's Mercy Hospital
  • University of Kansas Hospital
  • Stowers Institute for Medical Research
  • Greater Kansas City YMCA
  • Ronald McDonald House

In addition to family wellness and healthier living, this grant making program also includes, from time to time, support for leading causes of national significance in health care. Pillars of excellence will continue to receive support, as described above.

 As is the case in evaluating causes to receive support, engagement is an important factor in selecting causes. The Brink Family Foundation’s team evaluates the following:

  • Does the organization offer community corporate executives an opportunity to meaningfully participate in the governance of the organization through a board of directors seat or other leadership position?

  • Does the organization create opportunities for increased visibility and impact of game changing companies in the marketplace?

  • Does the organization or event create opportunities for local business employees to participate in meaningful community engagement experiences, harnessing the enthusiasm of employee-led volunteer and fundraising efforts?   

success in the arts through a social impact pilot project

Terrapin Advisors is honored to work with the Brink Family Foundation. The Brink Family Foundation just released the results of its recent grant to support arts in schools. The Foundation funded a study called Color My World. Enjoy the summary of the terrific results. 


To extract perceptions about the value of social impact in driving loyalty to a brand, we recruited thirty-four women in the Greater Kansas City area with one or more children under the age of eighteen. They were asked to complete a 10 Ways to Do Good drawing and painting exercise with their children designed to celebrate the good the families were already doing—regardless of the causes supported. Following the exercise, mothers were asked to participate in a brief online tutorial about the 10 Ways to Do Good. 

At the conclusion of the study, we asked three questions:

1. “If there were products on the market today that helped you engage with your family in one or more of the 10 Ways to Do Good, would you be likely to purchase those products?”

85 percent answered YES, they would be likely to purchase those products.

2. “Are you likely to use part or all of the material in the survey to help teach your children or grandchildren, eighteen years of age or younger, about the 10 Ways to Do Good?”

100 percent answered YES. 

3. “Do you feel like you have a better mental picture of the day-to-day activities that are part of your overall social impact—how you are making a positive difference in the lives of other people?”

91 percent answered YES.

Wow. With numbers like that, it only made sense to go deeper with sixty-minute individual interviews with participants. And the results were equally powerful.

  • “I want a company to acknowledge my current situation as it relates to social impact.”

  • “I want a company to understand my need to educate my children about doing good.”

  • “I want a company to inspire me to involve my children in doing good.”

  • “I want a company to motivate me by making it easy for me to involve my children in doing good.”

Color commentary was equally illuminating. Here were a few comments from the mothers in the study:

“I would purchase products that help me reinforce good values and morals with my daughter. I’m a single mom, so activities that are fun for her and let me spend a few minutes reinforcing our family values are very helpful.”

— Marie, mother of one girl, age 8

“A company that can help me spend time with and interact with my family is a company I want to support.”

— Christa, mother of one girl, age 5, and five boys, ages 7, 9, 10, 13, and 14

 “I was surprised at how much good we are doing as a family. Sometimes you can get burned out doing the same things. The online survey reminded me that there are many ways my kids can be helpful and do good.”

— Kate, mother of one boy, age 4, and one girl, age 8



Healthier children through consumer lifestyle education

A group of Terrapin Advisors' clients are very interested in healthcare reform.

Healthcare consumption in America is a major problem. The United States spends significantly more on healthcare than any other nation. In 2006, healthcare expenditures totaled more than $7,000 per person, more than twice the average of 29 other developed countries. Still, the average life expectancy in the United States is far below many other nations that spend less on health care. More than 75% of health care spending is on people with chronic conditions. 

Furthermore, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of overweight children and adolescents in the United States has nearly tripled since the early 1970s. More than one in five children between the ages of 6 and 17 are now considered overweight. Childhood obesity has been linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and poor academic performance.

 None of this is a surprise; the issue of healthcare consumption is widely discussed. So is the issue of childhood obesity and its link to the chronic conditions that feed healthcare consumption over time. Hundreds of programs at nonprofits, hospitals and educational institutions claim to be addressing the problem. What programs, though, are actually working?   

 Studies point to programs that directly target the consumer, providing education about nutrition, diet and exercise. The challenge is getting the consumers to listen. Celebrity power helps, too. For example, in 2006, Rachael Ray launched a nonprofit organization called Yum-O! The mission of Yum-O! is to “empower kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking.” The Yum-O effort is often praised, even by professionals at academic medical institutions. Positive reinforcement appears to be more effective than negative reinforcement. For instance, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent proposal to limit the size of soft drinks received mixed reviews. The analysis of the ban’s projected effectiveness was even challenged by the scientists on whose research the analysis was based.  

This group of Terrapin clients is pleased to announce its Consumer Lifestyle Education Signature Initiative. Our board of directors has engaged a team of grantee organizations to build and implement a five-year plan to move the needle in this critical area of healthcare. Our grantees are the following:

1. PE4life

2. Share Our Strength

3. The Food Trust

4. DonorsChoose

5. Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Seeking creative nonprofit partners for community health initiative

Terrapin Advisors is helping two of its family office clients get the word out as the families are evaluating potential grantees for a new initiative to support community health priorities in creative ways. Potential investments include the following:

Examples of Grants

 A.  Fund efforts, in the major metropolitan areas where the foundations' offices are located, to bring supermarkets back to underserved communities. Interestingly, hunger and obesity are linked; lack of access to healthy food compounds the problem in underserved populations.

 B.  Fund school-based programs, in the major metropolitan areas where the families' offices are located, to improve nutrition, physical activity and staff wellness by training teachers to better address the needs of at-risk children.

C.  Fund specific teacher needs to support teachers in their unique opportunity to instill lifelong health and fitness habits in students through nutritional education, gym activities, yoga and even purposeful play at recess. Many schools lack the basic equipment needed to bring these initiatives to life. Sometimes simple things like balls, books and juggling kits, and even heart rate monitors, are things that would greatly assist teachers in helping their students learn about staying fit and healthy.

D.  Fund a community facilitator. The most successful physical education programs incorporate community involvement. The first step in enlisting community involvement is getting key decision makers and leaders in the same room and sometimes that simply requires a little bit of funding to pay for a professional to facilitate and convene the key players (community leaders, school leaders, parent leaders, funders) to bring a school-based program to an entire community.

E.  Fund outdoor playgrounds, especially providing access to children for whom playgrounds typically are not built. Playgrounds are usually designed for young, healthy kids. Only rarely are parks and playgrounds designed to serve the entire community, in every neighborhood, for children of all ages, demographics and abilities.

F. Support rural and disadvantaged communities’ access to digital healthcare tools by reaching families through the children. Web sites with personal databases, smartphone and Twitter apps for logging diet and exercise routines, pedometers, accelerometers and heart-rate monitors are often not available in rural settings because of the lack of access to technology. Rural and low income usage of the Internet is lower compared to urban and higher income usage. The digital divide is impacting healthcare. Teaching children to use the technology at an early age will pay dividends in the future.