About the Foundation

The Birthday Project

It’s Your Turn!

In celebration of her 50th birthday, the late Phoebe Valentine decided to give some friends the experience of philanthropy. She wanted to share the job of making a grant, demonstrate the seriousness of the process, and spread her own wealth into new areas. Phoebe’s friends researched organizations, had conversations with Phoebe to clarify her vision, and selected organizations to receive some of Phoebe’s inherited wealth. This process is now known as The Birthday Project.

The Valentine Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Project

In 2010 the trustees of the Valentine Foundation adapted this idea for our 25th Anniversary Project. Ten pairs of donors and mentors spent a year engaged in the grantmaking process.

Here’s what Donors and Mentors have said about The Valentine Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Project—

“The best part of the project was seeing my donor’s infectious enthusiasm and watching her learn through the process.”

“I felt grateful for the chance to meet new people and learn new skills, to get matched up with someone who is so insightful and has strong skills. I was interested in the exchange between the mentor and the donor. That exchange occurred – there was learning and teaching with mutual respect and good communication.”

“It felt like it should be simple to give away money-but I realized that to be a responsible philanthropist is not that easy.”

Reasons to conduct your own Birthday Project

Can you answer Yes to the following questions?

  1. Do you have a desire to do more with philanthropy?
  2. Do you have money you are willing to donate?
  3. Can you commit the time and effort required?
  4. Do you have friends or associates who would be interested in participating in your project?
  5. Do you have an occasion you want to celebrate?

The Birthday Project model provides:

  • Good will and a benefit to your community
  • Positive energy for you and your organization
  • An opportunity for you to be a mentor
  • A means of broadening your charitable knowledge and reach
  • A way to encourage involvement for future philanthropists

For more information, contact the Valentine Foundation.

Birthday Project Workbooks

To help you plan your Birthday Project, we’ve created two Birthday Project Workbooks. Available for download here, complete them electronically (Word) or print them out (PDF) for reference as you plan your Birthday Project.

The Mentor’s Birthday Project Workbook provides step-by-step instructions, planning worksheets, and reflection pages to guide Mentors through the giving project.

The Donor’s Birthday Project Workbook is a series of worksheets, checklists, and reflection pages to help Donors select their grantees.