Moving the Needle
The potential of philanthropy to impact positive social change has evolved light years since the inception of the Lovell Foundation more than two decades ago.
When David and Lura Lovell decided to establish a family foundation, they were motivated by the simple desire to “do some good” with their money. Today their daughter Ann Lovell has grown to be an influential philanthropist involved in issues around the globe. The foundation has always had a vision beyond writing checks to worthy causes. This is a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-involved organization.
From the beginning, Lura Lovell and the board of advisors realized how important it was to cultivate relationships with the people and organizations they would fund. Both Lura and Ann invested countless hours working together with nonprofits – sharing expertise, building relationships and exploring opportunities – before funding specific projects or programs.
This hands-on philanthropic leadership became the hallmark of the Lovell Foundation since its founding in 1994.
Opportunities Present Themselves
“We need to start finding our own solutions. How do we connect and build together and recognize that we can do it? It’s about hope – and with that comes possibilities that create opportunities,” Ann said.
“We also need to accept that real change happens slowly over time and takes a lot of work.” Ann likes to quote her great-aunt, Theodora Winton Youmans, an early suffragette who helped women gain the right to vote. In 1919 she said “the careless world will probably continue to think that women’s suffrage just happened, that it was ‘in the air.’ But we know that the changes in the opinions of society which made it possible are the result of ceaseless, unremitting toil.”
Since the Lovell Foundation was established there have been many advancements and new challenges. Lura wisely set broad parameters for supporting nonprofits that addressed issues she and David cared about personally. She has said, “A mission needs to be flexible – because things change and opportunities present themselves. Your eyes are opened to other needs.”
Ann said, “We have had the privilege of working with really bright people who are doing amazing things. There are incredible programs out there and I am lucky to know the people who lead them. What an opportunity to be part of that process.”
In this fast-changing world it is difficult to imagine what the challenges and needs will be in the decades ahead. That’s one reason Ann is focused on developing leaders across the generations and providing nonprofit organizations with the business acumen they need to survive and thrive, adapt and respond.
The best philanthropists are visionaries who invest in the people who create innovations and solutions for pressing social needs in their communities. We celebrate all the people we’ve worked with all these years; they did the real work. We are so fortunate to be able to support them.