Hot on the heels of my “Profitable Philanthropy” post, the NY Times ran an article titled “For-Profit Philanthropy” (hat tip to my younger sister Jessica who edits the excellent blog Future Leaders in Philanthropy):
“Welcome to the world of brand-enhancing, profit-making, tax-paying philanthropy. Its proponents argue that we’ve become so accustomed to the idea that philanthropy has to operate within the confines of certain legal strictures that we’ve lost sight of what really matters: the good you foster, not necessarily how you go about fostering it.”
My sentiments exactly. However, Phil Cubeta responds to my post saying:
“We have to preserve some sense of philanthropy, charity, and giving that distinguishes it from all the other ways of "helping." Relinquishing dominion and control, without a contractual or binding quid pro quo, seems like a part of a decent definition of giving.”
I think this is also true. To make a true “gift”, to give without expectations or strings attached, is something special. As we seek to redefine philanthropy, I think that Phil’s point must be kept in mind. No matter how many innovative new approaches to philanthropy we devise, we need to remember the power of a simple gift.