BIG Philanthropy

What will be philanthropy’s “new story?”

The Charity vs. Philanthropy Debate: Flipping the Script April 3, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjcallen @ 9:28 pm

Too often we are told that we need to fund change, not charity. Tiring of the “either/or” nature of this discussion, I would like to propose an “and/both” approach. Charity is not a bad thing – it is about short-term relief that helps reduce suffering. Who can argue with that? I can’t. However, I also have to stand up TALL for long-term strategies that represent to me the true promise of philanthropy. We need giving that gets to the root causes of social, environment and economic ills and thereby reduces the number of people in need of charitable relief. Both charity and social change philanthropy as typically practiced are done with an eye toward relieving suffering but the latter simply takes a longer term, systemic view in crafting its approaches. This means that yes, charity and social change philanthropy are at one level on the same team. Often the charitable impulse is the necessary starting point for people who then move into more strategic giving. Who can argue with that?  I can’t. To flip the script, my new mantra is change AND charity because sometimes you need to reach out to the person suffering on the block while also making sure that no one else will have to suffer like that ever again.

“Philanthropy is commendable. But it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the economic injustice that makes philanthropy  necessary.” — Dr. Martin Luther king, Jr.


One Response to “The Charity vs. Philanthropy Debate: Flipping the Script”

  1. jimbcantrell Says:

    Change and charity – I can’t argue with that. People should elaborate when they make the statement of philanthropy vs. charity. Undoubtedly they intended to equate charity with money handed essentially to pan handlers as opposed to the more *noble* philanthropic pursuits of building schools/educating, providing clean water and healthier standards of living, etc.

    Your point is well taken though – deal with the immediate short term issues while planning and acting to prevent them from continuing long term.

    By the way, cool blog layout,
    Jim –

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