I love private foundations.
That’s not a statement that folks usually say on a daily basis, and if they do, they are small in number. But I really do. While most of our writing is on social entrepreneurship, I wanted to give a little inside look into the world of private foundations – in three little bites.
How leadership trumps anonymity
The world of private giving and philanthropic foundations tends to be one cloaked in mystery and not widely understood. For example, over dinner last night I started by explaining my job as working at a “new private foundation,” which then was distilled to “working in philanthropy,” and devolved further to “giving away money”. “Giving away money” doesn’t do it justice, and worse it doesn’t invite people to participate. People without money don’t seen an entryway to join and folks with money may put up their ‘don’t ask for my money’ defenses. I need to find words that create inclusion.
Private giving in philanthropy is powerful especially when seen collectively. The resources mobilized are large, and the agility and innovation makes it distinct from government and most business. Private giving has a ton of cultural nuances, and giving is different in Canada than in the United States for reasons stemming from governmental to societal traditions. The private foundation is just one tool of private giving, and they are becoming more widely used by individuals who want to distribute their accumulated assets either while living or as legacy.