Key lessons in strategic philanthropy

Nine years ago, I began working closely with families, family offices, businesses, and public and private foundations. My goal was (and is) to help them achieve greater impact for themselves and their communities through philanthropy. In the years since, the field of strategic philanthropy has evolved significantly. In addition, I’ve learned valuable lessons about what…

Don’t let disaster philanthropy become a philanthropic disaster

Hurricanes, floods, tornados, tsunamis, wildfires, earthquakes, droughts — and more. Such “natural” disasters are happening with greater frequency, many accelerated by our rapidly changing climate. “Man-made” disasters such as shootings at schools, concerts, houses of worship and workplaces are also occurring at alarming rates. All of these events result in loss of life as well…

Philanthropy is the ultimate “risk capital”

The definition of “risk capital” varies greatly depending on context. In the world of private equity, risk capital refers to the funds used for speculative, high-risk, high-reward investments. Depending on the success of the investment, it can either earn spectacular returns or dwindle to a fraction of the initial amount. In the charitable world, venture…

Philanthropy: It’s the best antidote to despair

Many people feel overwhelmed and disheartened by recent events. The media feature a steady stream of mass shootings at schools and houses of worship, terrorism, college admissions scandals, income inequality, global warming, opioid addiction, threats to our democracy, hate crimes, political dysfunction and a general loss of civility. These events, plus others, generate in many…

Understanding the “why” of impact investing

Impact investing is the rapidly expanding approach to financial markets that seeks to do well and to do good. It attempts to generate positive financial and social returns. Sustainable, responsible and impact-investing assets now account for $12 trillion of the $46.6 trillion in total assets under professional management in the United States. This is one of…

Philanthropy predictions for 2019: Economic and political volatility will impact the giving world.

The philanthropic landscape has been evolving – and will continue to change in 2019.  Based on my experience, you can expect developments in the following eight areas. Giving to combat global warming on the rise People in the United States are finally recognizing climate change. New reports showing the alarming rise in the earth’s temperature…

U.N. Sustainable Development Goals falling short; How to apply an SDG lens to your giving

In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It established 17 Sustainable Development Goals that address critical areas of economic, social and environmental development that impact billions of people. These SDGs were ratified by 193 governments and apply to every country — including the United States. The categories are: no poverty;…

On Philanthropy: Best excerpts from the first 100 columns

Since 2010, I have now written 100 columns addressing many aspects of philanthropy – for families, businesses and foundations. To acknowledge this milestone, here are some of my favorite excerpts – quotes that best encapsulate the many lessons I’ve learned and the thoughts I’ve tried to convey. On family giving “Many families fail to talk…