The Reuters Digital Vision Program is a one-year fellowship at Stanford University for mid-career tech professionals. I'm blogging my experiences there: the amazing guest speakers, the interesting classes and discussion groups with other fellows, and thoughts on how technology can help reduce the gulf between the global rich and poor.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Urban Studies 122 (Philanthropy) 9/28/2004

Laura Arillaga, founder of the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, is also a lecturer at Stanford on the subject of Philanthropy. Her courses (in both the Public Policy department and the GSB) are among the first that take an academic view of the topic, and she's developed many of the course materials/case studies herself.

She led the class on a discussion of the differences of Charity vs. Philanthropy:

short termlonger term
Address SymptomsAddress Causes
Ad hoc/reactiveStrategic

And the role that philantrhopy can/needs to play in society:

  1. Meeting solcial sector needs
  2. Taking risks, investing in innovative models
  3. Increasting civic engagement
  4. Being a connector / facilitator among actors
  5. Further itself
  6. Sponsor research
  7. Increase public awareness and interest
  8. Influence public policy
  9. Strengthen specific social institutions

She gave some stats on the scope of donations (about 5% of GDP, split equally between volunteer labor and financial contributions; with most of the finanical giving coming from individuals (74.5%) or bequests (9%)). Annual giving averaged about 1.8% of income, at the high end of the recent range from 1.5% (1995) to 1.9% (1970). She pointed out two famous foundations (Howard Hughes Medical and Annenberg) that had rather checkered roots.

We talked about some of the motivating factors for people to give:

  1. Create a legacy / have a lasting impact
  2. Community improvement
  3. Increase justice
  4. Improved social standing
  5. Religion
  6. Personal experience
  7. Tax benefit
  8. Altruism
  9. Honoring an individual
  10. Political reasons
  11. Emotional
  12. Prevention oriented

She posed the question of how we would handle a hypothetical $1B windfall to be used for philanthropic purposes, then suggested that as we think about the question (over the course of the term) we use the model:

  1. Values
  2. Mission
  3. Passion/Interest
  4. Gift (e.g, time or money)
  5. Amount
  6. Vehicle
  7. Grantee
  8. Contract with Grantee
  9. Evaluation Plan