Ask most people what motivates philanthropy and they’ll probably say, “generosity.” But generosity isn’t simple. People give charity for many and overlapping reasons: tax advantages, social pressure (my friend asked me), ego (I want my name on a building), enlightened self-interest (I know a society that helps the powerless will be more prosperous and stable than a purely greedy society), admiration for particular leaders or institutions, outrage at injustice, empathy for people who are suffering, passion for culture, religious conviction, gratitude and a desire to give back, or countless other reasons.
Which motivations drive us — or rather, since competing motivations sometimes drive us in opposite directions, which motivations drive us most dominantly — can make a significant impact on how much we give, what causes we choose, what grantees foundations choose to support, how we structure or limit our grants, and every other aspect of our philanthropy. So, it’s worth asking ourselves: What thoughts and emotions are really prompting me to give?
By Anne Snyder. (Philanthropy Roundtable)
What is character and how do you shape it? This question has preoccupied parents, teachers, clergy and leaders since the beginning of time. But it takes on vital importance in our era. While the complexity and autonomy of life in the 21st century call for character more than ever, the conditions under which such character is forged are in trouble. How do we replenish the store of moral capital in such a diverse, individualistic, consumerist and stressed society? How do we usher in a shared appetite for the good? This book aims to break open a new path for donors interested in catalyzing a character revival. Through inspirational stories of institutional exemplars operating today, and a powerful set of 16 questions that you can use to evaluate your own organization, this book will equip philanthropists to shape existing initiatives that attempt to transform lives, and to build new ones.Read more
In order to succeed as philanthropists, we need to better understand and accept the views of those who are in positions of less relative power. Now, that’s not impossible, but it takes deliberate, and sometimes uncomfortable, action.
When medical students in the Middle Ages opened a body and pointed out discrepancies between what they saw in front of them and the traditional descriptions of Hippocrates and Galenus, they were reprimanded by their teachers: “Would you trust more your fallible eyes than the wisdom of the ancients?” It was only in the 16th century that Andreas Vesalius, father of modern anatomy, established the revolutionary medical notion that observed facts should outweigh received beliefs. Thank Vesalaius the next time your doctor prescribes you a pill or an exercise regimen rather than a leech or a purge.Read more
JFN President & CEO Andrés Spokoiny's annual address to the 2016 JFN International Conference was entitled Empowered Humility: Leveraging Your Limitations in Philanthropy.Read more
We sometimes pay lip service to failure but our actual tolerance for risk and failure in the Jewish community is limited. We don’t support those that fail, we don’t circulate the learnings that stem from failure, and we don’t reward risk-taking.
For most Argentineans my generation, the name "Pitman Academies" produces a sort of nostalgic smile: a bizarre reminder of a bygone era. Pitman was a technical school that taught secretaries — the term wasn't "assistant" back then — how to type fast and accurately in old mechanical typewriters.Read more