I had lunch yesterday with David Chamberlain, founder of Exquisite Safaris and Dorian Adams, founder of Benefit Magazine. As we sat there, three people who didn’t know each other 6 months ago, I was struck that each of us were operating traditional business models that we had restructured to serve philanthropic families.
Exquisite Safaris is a travel company, which caters specifically to philanthropists. Other travel companies have a “philanthropic travel product” or offer “voluntourism” (a different offering from “philanthropic travel”, but only Exquisite Safaris focuses specifically on serving philanthropists.
Benefit Magazine is a media company, which caters specifically to philanthropists. Other media companies write articles or have programming that talks about philanthropy, but Benefit was the first media company to focus specifically on philanthropists.
My firm, Ensemble Capital, is an investment management firm, which caters specifically to philanthropists. Other investment management firms have some sort of “charitable planning” offering, but Ensemble is the only investment management firm to focus specifically on philanthropists.
In a free market system, businesses are encouraged to serve unmet needs. Given the success and growth of each of our three businesses, it is clear to me that there are a significant number of people who care about philanthropy, who are not having their needs met. Maybe this is a tiny niche market, maybe it has something to do with all three of us being headquartered in the San Francisco bay area. But I don’t think so. I think that The Second Great Wave of Philanthropy is real. I think that it is a massive cultural shift that is changing the way people behave, changing the way they view their wealth and changing the products and services that they consume.