One Hundred New Philanthropists: Renwick Brutus

Educational development, economic empowerment and entrepreneurship are causes leadership consultant and motivational speaker Renwick Brutus cares most about. “I support nonprofits that help people become educated, have confidence in their ability to contribute, participate in the economic system and utilize an entrepreneurial mindset. I see this support as a way of uplifting communities to be healthier and thriving.” To that end he is involved in and supports Center for Community Leadership, Women’s Resource Center, Salvation Army, WGVU Engage and Grand Rapids Downtown Rotary. “They all are involved in uplifting the lives of people in some way, shape or form."

“I make giving decisions primarily with my heart, but it is necessary for me to have a budget and make decisions in a structured and disciplined way. I look at what organizations I’ll fund for a specific period of time, often a year, but more commonly over multiple years. But I have some discretionary funds for causes that tug at my heart.”

What do you get from giving?

“I get the reassurance that my heart is in the right place. I’m encouraged by knowing that I’m not just concerned about my personal well-being. I’m not just talking about caring, but I’m demonstrating it and my checkbook reflects it. It is a way of putting myself through an acid test to evaluate how well I’m living in a way that's congruent with my values and beliefs. It gives me confidence and self-respect as I engage with others in the community, especially as a leader. It lends itself to greater authenticity. It is satisfying to belong to a community of givers and like-minded people.”

Why Grand Rapids Community Foundation?

“In my years in this community, I’ve observed and listened to leaders, nonprofits and the teams within them. I think Grand Rapids Community Foundation stands at the pinnacle of all of the organizations I’ve been associated with. The calm, serene, affectionate and humorous leadership that Diana Sieger provides is impressive.

“In my mind, the Community Foundation has a panoramic view of the community and community needs that no other organization has. The Community Foundation can leverage resources—financial, educational, political and strategic leadership in ways no other organization can. It has been a pleasure being involved.”