Barron’s Philanthropy Issue

The One Post Challenge got me WAY behind on other commentary…

In late November, Barron’s, a weekly financial newspaper that is a sister paper to the Wall Street Journal, featured a story called Wise Giving on its cover. This was an important article because unlike the majority of mainstream media articles on philanthropy that focus on big donors and big gifts, this article was about effective donors.

BILL GATES AND WARREN BUFFETT MAY get all the ink, but it takes more philanthropists than that to make the world go ’round. Hundreds of others also are leaving big marks — not necessarily because they have giant foundations but because they give wisely. They know how to make their dollars go far.

Barron’s asked Geneva Global, a top consulting firm in philanthropy, to identify 10 donors who epitomize thoughtful and effective giving. Some of these folks work far behind the scenes — Lynn Fritz, for instance, supports training and technology for disaster-relief workers around the world — while the efforts of others are quite visible. The Jacobs family of San Diego has given a remarkable second life to a poor neighborhood there.

The works of all 10 donors stand as valuable object lessons as this year’s season of giving gets under way. Anyone interested in having a real philanthropic impact is bound to learn something from these donors, (see below for profiles).

“There are lists everywhere of who the biggest philanthropists are, but that doesn’t answer the real question; the biggest givers may not be the most effective,” says Steve Beck, chief executive officer of Geneva Global. After all, he points out, no one measures the caliber of an investor by the size of the portfolio, but by the returns.

You can read the whole thing here.

Rather the reading the article on the Barron’s site, I would encourage you to check out the in depth bios of each donor posted on the Beyond Philanthropy site (which also lists methodology and other behind the scenes info).

Some of you may remember when I wrote about Stephen and Elizabeth Alderman and the foundation they set up in memory of their son who died on 9/11. I was thrilled to see that after I recommended them for consideration that Barron’s and Beyond Philanthropy included them in the list. You can read their complete bio here.