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Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 11/13/2011

Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin on giving

Eleven philanthropists spoke with the Post’s Tom Heath regarding how much they have given in the past year, and their strategy for giving.

Jeffrey Slavin is the mayor of Somerset and second-generation leader of the Sanford and Doris Slavin Foundation

Ballpark, how much do you give?Last year, through our family foundation, we donated more than $180,000 to roughly two dozen nonprofit organizations that provide services to Montgomery County residents.

Has the focus of your philanthropy changed since the recession?

The safety net is essential. So are the arts — which are often the first thing to get cut. Many people don’t think about the fact that the arts are part of the safety net, helping to educate and empower young people.

Jeffrey Slavin (Daniel B. McNeill )
How about the amount? With so many neighbors in need, our family foundation has ramped up its contributions by about 33 percent.

How do you set your priorities?

We focus on Montgomery County. Beyond that, I look for organizations that are strong and well-managed, with dynamic staff, engaged board members and motivated volunteers.

How do you gauge the impact?

We get the numbers.

Do you make a point of separating your charity from your politics? Politics is about power. That’s not what philanthropy is about. It’s about empowering.

Read more profiles in giving from On Giving:

Wendy Thompson Marquez

Cal Ripken

David Falk

Debbie Marriott Harrison

Patty Alper

John Kane

Craig Ruppert

Michelle Freeman

Jaylee Mead

Martin Weinstein

By Washington Post Editors  |  01:00 PM ET, 11/13/2011

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