Impact100 Metro Denver is fortunate to have several mother-daughter members who engage with and support Impact100. Throughout the month of May, we will feature interviews with mother-daughter members.
An interview with Carrie Morgridge and Michelle Morgridge with Morgridge Family Foundation
Q: Your support of Impact100 Global and Impact100 Metro Denver is tremendous. I believe you are a member of every Impact100 chapter which is about 65 chapters strong around the world. And, you’ve been a member of Impact100 Metro Denver since we were founded in 2015. Is that correct?
Carrie: For three years I was a member of all 65 chapters. It was so much work keeping up with all the great reading and grants that I had to back down. I am now just a member of 25 chapters, and a founding member of a few new chapters like New Zealand and Washington DC. I especially love the model of Impact100 and how it has democratized giving for all women, while at the same time empowering women. This year, Impact100 collectively will give away over $120 million dollars! Now, that’s impact!
Q: What are your philanthropic goals?
Michelle: I would say my philanthropic goals are to make the planet a better place by enriching the lives of as many people as we can reach. For me, that looks like community engagement and connecting people who might not live in the same community to find common ground through conservation, education, and mental health. My vision is that through that interconnectedness, we can save our planet.
Carrie: Our goal at Morgridge Family Foundation is to help people find their fullest human potential. Education is at the core of everything we fund, but education is a very complex and has a variety of ways that you can support or fund impact. We fund programs that directly impact educators through MindSpark(TM) Learning and the critical wrap around services that also have impact on a students learning – both formal and informal. We know if a child needs food, clothes or transportation, those needs directly impact their education. And, in line with Michelle, we care very much about the environment, we’re constantly looking for innovative, big, and bold ideas on how to solve this complex problem of saving the planet.
Q: How has your mother-daughter relationship impacted your philanthropy?
Carrie: I respect Michelle so much; I admire her as a woman and as a mother and I’m learning that the best way to support her is by empowering her. We recently set up separate giving accounts at the family foundation for Michelle and John, our son. What Michelle wants to fund versus what I might want to fund are not entirely different, but sometimes they might be. We’re very much aligned, however Michelle’s approach might be a little different than mine. This gives us both the freedom to be the philanthropists we want to be.
Michelle: I love that my mom gives me the space to learn and carve my own path and make my own connections. Having some autonomy over my decisions in philanthropy is part of how I am empowered. Plus, I have a lot to learn from my mom and she has amazing advice. We’ve had some laughs and camaraderie of shared experiences – like someone asking for too much funding too soon in the relationship. To be able to come back to my mom and laugh about it and learn from her will continue to make me a better philanthropist in the future.
Q: It must be incredible to see your daughter carve out her path in philanthropy, making decisions that align for her and her family. Does it bring back memories?
Michelle: Yes. I think being raised with a philanthropic mindset has provided me with a good gut check, you know, like I can really learn over a lifetime what feels right and what doesn’t.
Carrie: It’s very nostalgic and I think that they are already doing such a great job. As a family we had these conversations around the dinner table when the kids were young because we wanted the kids to learn.
Q: Has Michelle’s advice influenced your thinking?
Carrie: Absolutely. What I find sometimes is that I don’t want to get cynical in giving, I want to try and fail and try again and fail again. I don’t want to say “I’ve tried that … I’m out.” Michelle gives me a fresh, new perspective on trying things that I might have tried a decade ago, or I might say ‘that’s not for me, but you should go for it.’ So it’s definitely bringing a whole new perspective of giving to the foundation.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about your shared experience with Impact100 Metro Denver?
Michelle: We talk about the grant recipients every time grantees are announced!. Impact100 is increasing visibility for awesome nonprofits and we enjoy talking about these organizations. We ask questions like, should we invest with a second grant, like we did with Fresh Food Connect. After Impact100 Metro Denver awarded the 2015 $100,000 grant, we reinvested with an additional grant to help them scale. That’s a tremendous partnership. It’s a great thing.
Carrie: Impact100 is a great way for mothers to teach their children how to give. It’s brilliant model – one woman one vote is powerful – on both sides. I love that my vote as a seasoned philanthropist is equal to everyone in the chapter. Impact100 is bold, brilliant and beautiful.