21st century philanthropy

21st century philanthropy

I babbled about philanthropy in an earlier posting called “Wealth now, philanthropy later”, so I was thrilled to see this blog posting on the Harvard Business Review website:

Steve Jobs, World’s Greatest Philanthropist

Try to ignore the hyperbolic title of the article and just absorb the content.

Making the world a better place means making decisions your whole life that either incrementally or substantially make people’s lives better. People dislike hearing that investing in a promising new company could potentially have more of an impact on the world that the more common charitable action of, say, donating food to starving children.

However, if your conscious investments create jobs for people who are treated kindly and with respect, and something is also created that benefits the customers of your company, it can have a huge multiplier effect.

This all fits nicely in with the concept of Slow Money. There are certainly wealthy people that have made their money in ways that cause suffering to people and give nothing back to the world other than charity-by-guilt or by giving to causes that exacerbate problems rather than solving them.

However, I believe there are many more that quietly have a profound impact on the world by taking risks that amplify the potential positive results.