Nonprofits Get Stamp of Approval

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This fall, the U.S. Postal Service will issue the first generic philanthropy stamp that all nonprofits can call their own.


The stamp will be available first in Atlanta at the National Committee on Planned Giving's annual convention Oct. 7. The next day, more than 27 million copies of the stamp will be at post offices across the country.


Milton Murray, then-chief director of philanthropic service for institutions at the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Silver Spring, MD, came up with the idea nearly 30 years ago and suggested it to the American Association of the Fundraising Council, New York.


Over the years, Murray wrote the postal service, President Reagan and eventually Vice President Al Gore, who urged then-postmaster general Marvin Runyon to consider the stamp. At the same time, the stamp was gaining support from a number of organizations and universities. In December, Runyon finally announced that a stamp would be issued.


The official design of a bee pollinating a flower was created by the USPS. According to Murray, the act of pollination symbolizes the mutually beneficial relationship between donor and recipient.


"One person or organization makes a donation and becomes a better person for that," Murray said, "and the recipient becomes better off because they increase their assets. The act of giving helps to nurture our culture in a way that only a few things can do. This is going to let people see the good in philanthropy."


Murray said the stamp will benefit all nonprofit organizations.


"It will give those hundreds of thousands of smaller nonprofits that will never get a personalized stamp or have a cause that doesn't lend itself to artwork one of their own that they can feel good about," said Murray, who has received letters from organizations throughout the country thanking him for his efforts.


"Like many healthcare foundations, we rely on philanthropic support," said Paulette Maehara, CEO of the 30-year-old Epilepsy Foundation, Landover, MD, which sends out more than 9 million mailings a year. "It is a symbol of giving and caring without which we wouldn't be here. We will use it for as long as it is around," Maehara said.


"It's an idea whose time has come and will provide more benefit than people realize," Murray said. "Most importantly, it will have a great impact in sensitizing Americans to the importance of giving."
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