Philanthropy is dead. Long live philanthropy.

Philanthropy needs a refresh. It needs to break down the falsely constructed walls between the haves and have-nots, between those that get to attend the auctions and those that benefit from them. It is painful to realize you’ve been complicit in a game that is rigged against others, especially if you felt you were part of the solution. Yet it’s only when we are able to acknowledge this that we can begin to heal the severed part of us and construct a new system. Read more…

Social Justice and the Cloud

cloud_social justiceThis is the possibility of philanthropy I find thrilling: that as our networks become smarter, and provide us with the tools to act more effectively in our world (whether by calling a taxi or rethinking where we shop), we have the increasing ability to question the status quo and find individually powerful ways to give back. Not just a transaction of money and time, but a way of being in the world that allows our doing to be impactful. A transformational way to align our actions with our intent. Read more…

Philanthropy is not inherently good

This article in the Atlantic caught my eye today, which discusses David Callahan’s new book, The Givers: Money, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age. It also taps into another discussion I’ve been enjoying about the harmful impact of disruptive philanthropy, defined as philanthropy that competes with government rather than collaborates with it, in order to provide services. “Disruptive philanthropy seeks to shape civic values in the image of funders’ interests and, in lieu of soliciting public input, seeks to influence or change public opinion and demand,” write Stanford sociologists Aaron Horvath and Walter W. Powell in an essay published in the book Philanthropy in Democratic Societies. This is the elite philanthropy of money as power and influence. It is a philanthropy based on transaction rather than transformation. So what does this have to do with the little guys? The yous Read more…

Creating New Models

The emergence of social investing and civic engagement as philanthropic tools provides individuals with new ways to get directly involved with their giving. This transition shifts the power from the elite donor (a few individuals interested in direct service aid to broad humanitarian goals by donating large sums of money) to the network donor (many individuals of all income levels, focused on using a systems approach and giving with others to personalized projects); and I would argue that we’re quickly moving past the network donor to the hive donor, which I’ll explore at a later date. In addition, traditional charities are no longer the sole experts at solving social problems; social entrepreneurs have emerged with system-changing ideas. Technology and our ability to connect with each other as a global community has created opportunities for on-the-ground, real time, tangible change with Read more…

If you're feeling anxious, you're not doing enough #strongertogether #womxnsmarchseattle

The Women’s March in Seattle this weekend was a throng of smiling people, full of humor and generosity, greeting each other like old friends. It was infectious. The sun broke through and we stripped off our outer layers, parkas or sweaters or puffy coats. At one point, two eagles circled overhead. Sometimes silent, sometimes erupting in a rolling cheer that made its way over three miles, from front to end and back again. Always respectful, always kind. As we came down Jackson Street, a woman in short shorts and knee high socks stood out on her balcony, blasting music and dancing with her boyfriend, fists pumping in the air as the crowd cheered and raised their signs. We finally had more space to move and our shuffle turned into a saunter, and there she was, swaying to Bob Marley: don’t worry, Read more…

What’s Possible and the Urgency of Global Warming on Bill Moyers

The future requires thoughtful, innovative solutions that change the conversation. What we need now are bold and brave leaders who know how to collaborate and inspire. What’s Possible, a New Film for World Leaders on the Urgency of Global Warming is a powerful call to action. You have more power than you think. Urgency combined with hope creates an unstoppable momentum of energy. How do you plan to get involved?