Raphie Frank :: business artivist

What’s Wrong With Profit?

The New York Times today had a special section entitiles “Giving.” Major changes, it seems, are afoot in the philanthropic world. Call it “Neo-New Dealism.” Here are a couple excerpts from the article…

THIS year, as never before, the line between philanthropy and business is blurring. A new generation of philanthropists has stepped forward, for the most part young billionaires who have reaped the benefits of capitalism and believe that it can be applied in the service of charity. They are “philanthropreneurs,” driven to do good and have their profit, too.

If the buck doesn’t stop THERE, many Web 2.0 kingpins seem to be saying, it stops HERE. 
“More and more people are asking who else is going to finance doing good if government isn’t,” said Alan Abramson, director of the nonprofit sector and philanthropy program at the Aspen Institute, a public policy think tank in Washington. “These guys have firsthand knowledge of the market’s power, and they’re asking themselves why they can’t make money and tackle some of the problems once addressed primarily by government at the same time.”

It sounds simple, but the idea of such hybrid philanthropy is upsetting long-held conventions. These new philanthropists view the current foundation model, built on the fortunes of earlier industrial titans like Carnegie and Rockefeller, as hidebound and often ineffective. They have an urge to change the world, and argue that in some cases only the speed of capitalism is fast enough.

Said Apple founder, Stephen M. Case to a group of foundation executives this past January: “We need to be open to bigger, bolder reform because the hard truth is Philanthropy 1.0 hasn’t worked well enough… If you’ll forgive the computer metaphors, our system needs an upgrade.”

The articles goes on to profile some of the more prominent “philanthropreneurs,” including Case, eBay’s Jeffrey S. Skoll, Pierre Omidyar, founder of the Omidyar Network, and Virgin Group’s Sir Richard Branson.

Like a Rolling Stone, Snipes, Logomancy and So So Psychosis can only hope that this trend, if the reader will forgive the mixed metaphors. will pick up steam and gather no moss along the way…

Read the full article on the NYT website

November 14, 2006 - Posted by | Business

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