Charity and Philanthropy are Different

Updated: Jul 29


From time to time I will reference one of the pledges and share with you some valuable insights. I am going to start with Eli and Edythe Broad. They write,


“We view charity and philanthropy as two very different endeavors. For many years, we practiced charity, simply writing checks to worthy causes and organizations. Since leaving the world of commerce, we have engaged in what we term “venture philanthropy.” We approach our grant-making activity with much the same vigor, energy and expectation as we did in business. We view our grants as investments, and we expect a return – in the form of improved student achievement for our education reform work, treatments or cures for disease in our scientific and medical research, and increased access to the arts.


Before we invest in something, we ask ourselves three questions that guide our decision:

1. Will this happen without us? If so, we don’t invest. 2. Will it make a difference 20 or 30 years from now? 3. Is the leadership in place to make it happen?”

They further go on to say that this is hard work because its not just about giving money away, but about making a measurable impact. No matter the level of wealth, there are valuable lessons to be learned. I continue to applaud this effort. Learning is a lifelong journey and there is a tremendous amount to gain from this endeavor.


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