This Month in Philanthropy

Featured Article

$32-Billion Pledge by Saudi Prince Reflects Gateses’ Influence
Chronicle of Philanthropy | July 2, 2015
by Megan O’Neil

Riyadh is 7,400 miles and a world away from Seattle, and yet a Saudi prince repeatedly invoked the name Bill Gates this week when he pledged his entire $32-billion fortune to charity.

“We need to announce such things,” Prince al-Waleed bin Talal said, explaining his decision to go public. The role models for philanthropy “are really the big entities in the United States” such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he said. He also cited Warren Buffett, who has pledged his wealth to the Gates foundation. Read More…


Summaries of Top News Related to Strategic Philanthropy

Sean Parker Plans to Spend His Fortune Disrupting Philanthropy
San Francisco Chronicle | June 25, 2015

  • Sean Parker, co-founder and former President of Facebook, told The San Francisco Chronicle he plans to spend his fortune disrupting philanthropy. Named the nation’s fifth-most prolific giver by the Chronicle of Philanthropy for giving $600 million to the Sean N. Parker Foundation, he said he wants to be a different kind of philanthropist and a role
    model for other wealthy entrepreneurs.
  • Parker criticized many of his peers for making safe philanthropic donations due to the fear of failing. In regards to the Giving Pledge, he said it was “a good starting point” but not aggressive enough.
  • He plans to pursue his own philanthropic efforts as he would in the venture capital world: making big bets, taking risks and failing fast. He does not plan on making his foundation intergenerational.

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Op-Ed: Philanthropy in the Second Gilded Age
Daily Maverick | June 23, 2015

  • A new report by UBS/PwC explores how great wealth is created, preserved and how it breeds philanthropy. They identified 917 new self-made billionaires that have created more than $3.6 trillion in the past 35 years. With this upsurge, the report also notes the increase in philanthropy.
  • As far as philanthropy goes in Africa, there has been an obvious uptick in organizations and groups (including the African Philanthropy Forum) looking to increase strategic philanthropy within the continent. But the author of this article, Shelagh Gastrow, argues that one must recognize that first generation wealth may not always go through formal giving avenues. Instead, they may be giving through their extended families and/or communities of origin.
  • Eventually, those with excess wealth will have an opportunity to engage in larger issues that may be systemic and/or require a collaboration of players. Although some South Africans are already at this point, it is still “early days” for those who are currently building their future fortunes

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Ford Shifts Grant Making to Focus Entirely on Inequality
The Chronicle of Philanthropy | June 11, 2015

  • The second largest philanthropic organization in the US has announced that they will direct all of their money and influence to combatting financial, racial, gender and other inequities. It also hopes to double the amount of money it gives in unrestricted grants for operating support (an intended 40% of the foundation’s grant-making budget and over $1 billion over five years).
  • Ford Foundation President Darren Walker hopes that this focus on operating support will help to bring about a “social-justice infrastructure”, similar to what the organization provided nonprofits during the civil-rights era. He hopes that this no-strings-attached support will help organizations become more “durable” and give them more opportunity to design their own programs.

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Warren Buffett On How Business And Philanthropy Are Alike — And How They Are Completely Different
Forbes | June 5, 2015

  • At the Forbes Philanthropy Summit 2015, Warren Buffett shared that one key to his success – both in business and philanthropy – has been finding the right person to do the job and delegating responsibility. In 2006, Buffet pledged 85% of his net worth to five charities and has largely stood back and let the foundations manage the donations.
  • However, he views the timetable for his business and his philanthropy as very different, saying that while his business is meant to last lifetimes, his fortune is not. Buffet has said that everything he has donated will be spent within ten years of the closing of his estate.
  • He also said that evaluating results is quite different. While business can be quickly and easily measured, success through philanthropy can be much harder to quantify and take much longer to assess.

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