Roger Doughty, executive director of the Horizons Foundation, wonders why philanthropy doesn't seem to be in a hurry even in the face of crisis.
Sean Stannard-Stockton is the president and chief investment officer of Ensemble Capital Management, located in Burlingame, CA, midway between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. From 2006 through 2012, Sean authored the Tactical Philanthropy blog and wrote regular philanthropy columns for both the Financial Times and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. In 2012, Sean officially ended the blog to focus on growing Ensemble Capital.READ MORE »
I think this goes to the perception issue Catherine was discussing. From my vantage point, it doesn’t seem like philanthropist/foundations have any need to hurry.
It doesn’t seem like there are any incentives to be driven because there are no real/felt consequences if you just stay as slow as the Ents (to steal from Tolkien/Lord of the Rings).
As one who helps others find funding opportunities, it seems like the organizations and foundations I point others to, while stressed about their financial losses), really don’t have the same worries the rest of us do.
I haven’t heard of one foundation not being able to meet payroll or of a philanthropist having to hold a “fire sale” in order to keep funding their programs.
Not to be rude, but it seems from where I sit (and again, this is part of crafting the right/accurate message that Catherine suggested), that those in philanthropy are eating pretty good, living pretty good, working in pretty good environments. It seems as if they haven’t felt real pain or lack in a long, long time.
When you’re hungry, or have been, you know what it’s like to wait a day or more for food and when you have the opportunity to feed someone else, you don’t take your time discussing it with others. You give food NOW. You meet needs NOW.
I’m not advocating hasty actions or imprudent behavior, but I am suggesting that a mind shift be made.
What if philanthropists had to actually live the same way their grantees did? What if those in positions of power/wealth actually wore someone’s shoes for a day (or went barefoot like so many)?
There are so many things that can be funded without lengthy discussion/study. There is so much that philanthropy could do to work WITH others instead of appearing removed, untouched and untouchable.
Right now, if money isn’t to be had, might foundations send their employees to work for the non-profits they support? Couldn’t a foundation offer the expertise of one or more of their employees to develop strong infrastructure for non-profits?
Might philanthropists offer a pair of hands, no matter how menial the job (night custodian, anyone?)? Might we actually bridge the divide between those who fund and those who implement so that we are all working together?
If philanthropy really is about helping others, it seems to me that we need to redefine what “help” really means.