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SVP International

Dennis Johnson

What is your profession? How do you spend your days?
Though trained as a lawyer, my profession has been tax accounting in a CPA firm. I ran with the big boys as a tax partner at KPMG; then joined McDonald Jacobs to better balance life and work. There I also specialized in working with nonprofit and charitable organizations.

If you could have lunch with one person living or dead, who would it be and why?
As a native Montanan I always admired Senator Mike Mansfield, though my parents told me not to. He came from the tough copper mines of Butte to embrace a true career in public service, as Senate Majority Leader and then Ambassador to Japan.  Coming from Butte, he would want a pork chop sandwich for lunch.

What has inspired you to be an engaged philanthropist?
With hindsight, I’ve been engaged in philanthropy since I was a kid (even before I could spell it). “Do unto others” I learned on Sundays, and tried to practice daily. Scouts taught me to “be prepared” and to prepare others.  With a liberal education I obtained perspective and compassion. My career has provided me the means, and now the retirement time, to continue my philanthropy.

What criteria do you use in deciding where to focus your philanthropy?
1. Can I personally identify with the mission?
2. Do the leadership and staff work hard and have a passion for the organization?
3. Has the organization attracted a broad base of support from the community?

Describe the most meaningful charitable gift of time or money you have made and why you made the gift.
My ability to establish a Donor Advised Fund at Equity Foundation has been the most meaningful to me. It has helped stabilize an organization that “proves the worth” of all individuals, especially those in the LGBT community. And by assisting others in this community, it has helped bring validation to my worth.