Thursday, October 21, 2010

Venture Philanthropy

Jo Hunter Adams

We came back from DC on Tuesday night and Noah survived his first trip to the capitol. Bethesda is a great town; there was an art fair on Sunday when we arrived, and the vibe was warm and friendly. Noah didn't manage the flight back very well, and the trip was pretty exhausting for both Eug and I. That said, I think it's good that we tried something new with Noah, and it was better than me being away from him for 3 days.

And...we were able to keep Noah in his BumGenius diapers for the three days-- partially because he did so well at going to the hotel toilet (elimination communication is tons easier when you can keep the room temperature really warm). The main thing I was nervous about was bringing a poopy diaper back on the plane, which thankfully didn't happen. I'll spare you more details.

So, onto the subject of this post: Nicholas Kristof had this article in the New York Times yesterday.

Kristof writes about people working on projects where they saw a need and decided to respond, to drive the broader point that a committed individual, without institutional/governmental backing, can generate incredible, positive change. I wanted to share the story here because I think it's easy to get caught up in looking to meet my day-to-day [financial? physical?] needs (surviving the 5:00am wakeup).

Kristof mentions one couple who founded One Day's Wages after giving away all their salary ($68,000) for a year. What do you think about that kind of decision? Any gut reactions?

3 comments:

Bobsie Hunter said...

WOW!!!

Caitlin said...

Hey Jo, I've been thinking about your post a lot lately, but didn't quite know what to say, when I found an article in foreign policy talking about it: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/10/26/dont_try_this_abroad?page=full The problem is, I don't particularly agree with either. Individual philanthropy is *so* important; but so is changing systems.... I think a 'venture' approach is wonderful - particularly for all trying to find meaning ourselves through the way we live; but not a solution on its own (of course).

Jo said...

Thanks Caitlin- I'm with you in the ambiguity. I sense the way that philanthropy in a lot of ways changes the philanthropist and his/her "set", more than anything.

I use very tentative language because I'm not sure of myself, but I wonder if individual 'venture' philanthropy-- philanthropy that is relational and life-changing, might help with the "why" of systems change (what systems, how etc). For systems to change, perhaps large groups of people may need to view entitlement differently. Could I persuade you to write more of your thoughts?