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N&V: Do you think there's some synergy there for fundraising
among the different Scripps institutions?
Colwell: Well, I think it helps from the fundraising
standpoint because our donorswhether they be individuals
or corporations or foundationshave interests that are
multidimensional and across the board, across the spectrum.
I guess you might say we have a little something for everyone.
If we have an individual who's interested in the research
component, we have one of the world's finest biomedical research
institutions. If the interest is in direct patient care, we
offer programs and services of the highest quality. If they're
interested in technology, we are on the cutting edge. So there's
a synergy from the standpoint that we appeal to a broad audience.
In terms of the synergy among our fundraising efforts... I
don't know. Scripps Chula Vista Hospital is going to have
a different constituency than TSRI. And TSRI's going to have
a different constituency than Scripps Hospital in Encinitas.
So I don't know that there are any real synergies from a functional
operational standpoint. But Scripps is an institution that
has broad appeal.
N&V: In terms of the donor base, the local donor
base, do you think that there's competition from other, similar
N&V: Maybe there's a kind of donor fatigue for someone
who is already heavily involved with another nonprofit...
Colwell: Well, you know, it's interesting
that you mention donor fatigue. We worry about that all the
time. We worry that philanthropy has plateaued and that the
pool of private revenue sources is drying up. But statistics
don't back that up. I think every year for the last 30 years,
the total giving in this country has increased. In fact, I
think the giving totals, while they're not out for 2001 yet,
will show a dramatic increase in charitable support. It will
reflect a shift, perhaps, from some of the more traditional
recipients to more of the social-service and crisis-relief
efforts. But nonetheless, people continue to give. It's amazing.
How many times have you seen an individual provide a significant
amount of support to one organization and then two years later
go on to support another organization? I think the interests
of the philanthropic community in San Diego County are diverse.
I don't anticipate that changing. We have many donors to Scripps
that support other charitable organizations, as well as other
health care organizations. Our real job is to inform our donors
and the people who may want to consider Scripps as a potential
beneficiary of their philanthropy about what we're doing here,
what our mission is, what our vision is. Where do we want
Scripps to be five years from now, ten years from now? And
what's it going to take to get there? And we want to make
people feel proud of Scripps and that it is worthy of an investment.
N&V: Do you see philanthropic dollars going the same
way as, say, venture capital dollars, as we are in a recession?
Colwell: Not really. People don't give for
taxes. They don't give to get a write-off. That's an added
benefit. And it certainly is something they consider in determining
what types of assets they contribute, when they contribute
them, and how they contribute them. But declines in the market
historically have not impacted philanthropy in a significant
way. Now, we may see people from some of the newer companies,
some of the high-tech companies, the dot-comswhere there
was enormous, almost immediate creation of wealth, and then
a reduction in thatusing this time to recover and to
retrench. But, the true givers in this country do not stop
giving. They give because they believe in what you're doing,
they believe in your vision, and they want to make an investment
in that. They don't give because their stocks are up 20 percent
this year, or because they need a big write-off.
N&V: You came to Scripps after September 11, but
do you think that relief efforts for that crisis will drain
donations from other nonprofits?
Colwell: It will in the short run. I did a
study on this, and there have been numerous studies, as you
might imagine, since September 11 on the impact that this
tragedy will have in philanthropic support. If you look back
in history at crisesOklahoma City, the assassination
of JFK, Pearl Harborwhat you'll find is that overall
charitable giving spiked upwards, between five and seven percent,
nationally. There is, temporarily, a shift from the traditional
recipientshigher education, health careto more
of the human service, social service providers. But the spike
in overall giving, two, three, four, ten years out, doesn't
correct. It stays up there. Over time, within a period of
two to five years, giving shifts back to the traditional recipients
of the majority of philanthropic support, the greatest of
which are religious-based organizations, but health care and
higher education are right behind. So our short-term prognosis
for giving in the health care industry is probably not optimistic,
but our long-term outlook is very optimistic.
N&V: So do you think people who never gave before
Colwell: That's exactly what happens. The
people who have wealth, who have never really considered themselves
philanthropists, or those who give $50 to this and $50 to
that but who have never really considered themselves capable
of making an impact are emotionally charged to make that first
$1,000 gift, or $5,000 gift, or $10,000 gift. Then they find
out it feels very good. They have the satisfaction of knowing
that, "I helped," and feel good about it. So now we've got
a new person who's charged, who's turned on by supporting
a charitable organization, and they're hooked forever. And
that's what makes this country the most generous in the world.
N&V: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Colwell: I think it's probably meeting the
people. We have enormous talent at Scripps, across all turfs.
TSRI has some of the most brilliant minds in the world. What
has been enoyable for me is the fact that not only do you
have this world-class research institute with brilliant minds
conducting very, very important sciencebut they're nice
people. I've really enjoyed that. And likewise, throughout
Scripps Health, there are just genuinely good people. Without
exception, everyone who I've talked to has told me they've
loved being at Scripps. Not too many organizations can say
that. The other thing is the incredible support and encouragement
that I've received from the leadership of TSRI and Scripps
Health. They are the finest and most talented leadership that
I have seen in my career. The talent, the commitment, the
dedication is unsurpassed. I really feel that I have joined
a winning team.
N&V: Anything else I've missed?
Colwell: The future of Scripps is very, very
bright. People already recognize that the research institute
is world-class in nature and a key player in biosciences in
the world. While Scripps Health has had its share of difficulties
as has every other health care organization in this country,
in a few years people are going to look at Scripps as a comprehensive
health care institution and go, "Wow."
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true givers in this country do not stop giving. They give
because they believe in what you're doing, they believe in
your vision, and they want to make an investment in that.
They don't give because their stocks are up 20 percent this
year, or because they need a big write-off."
future of Scripps is very, very bright."