Updated: Jul 29
As I wrote previously, from time to time I will reference the wonderful Pledge Letters from The Giving Pledge project. These letters are full of insight and stories. I believe that successful families know where they came from and to realize this requires storytelling.
This week I have chosen Peirre and Pam Omidyar’s letter. It reflects their values and approach to philanthropy.
“In thinking about how we could be most effective, we began our work by reminding ourselves of our core values, including respect for others and a sense of service. We’ve made a conscious effort to remain true to these guiding principles as our efforts grow and evolve. The eBay community also taught us a valuable lesson: people respond to opportunity in inspiring ways. The organizations we’ve created and the time and energy we spend on various causes is rooted in our belief that people are inherently capable but frequently lack opportunity.
Today we believe our philanthropic impact is amplified because our approach uses a wide variety of tools and resources. We don’t just write checks; we engage deeply with the organizations we support to help them reach and improve the lives of millions, not just thousands. We invest in for profit businesses that serve overlooked populations with much-needed products and services. We reach out to like-minded investors and advocates to form coalitions that support issues that will benefit from a unified voice.”
Pierre and Pam have truly put into practice these values through the Omidyar Network, the Omidyar-Tufts Microfinance Fund, and the Ulupono Initiative. These philanthropic projects are all about creating lasting change through opportunity.
You do not have to have a huge amount of wealth to support projects and people with good ideas. A common idea amongst the letters is about engagement. Specifically, that with engagement comes greater impact. We need to realize that we all have talents and that by applying these talents in addition to money we can contribute to lasting change. As Pierre and Pam write in their letter, “…(it) requires all of us working together…”