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Friday, June 01, 2007

New philanthropy? 

Susan Beresford, President of the Ford Foundation, to the Seattle Times, on the on-going debate about the changing world of philanthropy, taken from here:

«The emergence of a new generation of entrepreneurs-turned-philanthropists offering their fortunes to tackle pressing problems has prompted reports of a philanthropic divide -- a generation gap between established foundations and their young counterparts. Such phrases as "venture philanthropy" and "social entrepreneurship" are in vogue. New foundations are said to be ambitious, strategic, entrepreneurial, innovative and focused on measurable results. Established foundations are said to lack those qualities.
As the president of an "old" foundation and a nearly 40-year veteran in the field, I am here to say this dichotomy does not fit reality. It does not capture the breadth of philanthropy's scope and history, and it has the potential to damage our field.»

I've been working for an "old-foundation" for the last seven years and I've have been learning all the buzz-words from the sector, mostly "imported" from the profit sector. So non of this is actually new. I can only agree with Susan Beresford, "new philanthropy" and "old philanthropy" are just to faces of the same coin, each one with its own specific role. One should not out-rule the other, but instead learn from each other.

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