At its essence, philanthropy is a response to imbalance. It’s a mechanism that mobilizes and distributes accumulated excess wealth to address complex problems — problems that seem to be multiplying. The unprecedented events of 2020 have exposed the inequities on which philanthropy is predicated. For those families who have access to the financial resources, 2020 has also been a year of reflection, as they attempt to determine how they can generate the greatest impact through their values-based work and philanthropic initiatives.
Despite the immediacy and scale of the response by families globally in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic — in part because of the loosening of bureaucratic oversights — questions remain about whether the barriers between givers and recipients will stay low in the future. The pandemic may indeed have a positive effect on the sector’s trust-based philanthropy that became so prominent over the past year, but if so, how might that change the philanthropic strategies of families used to navigating the barriers of a pre-pandemic world?
In this episode of the LGA Lighthouse, Ashley Blanchard, Head of Philanthropy at LGA, talks about how philanthropic families around the globe experienced the pandemic and why that may reshape the philanthropy sector in 2021 and beyond. Other topics discussed in this episode include:
- How families can address challenges related to the limitless nature of philanthropy. For many families, an array of contrasting and conflicting points of view derail their philanthropic efforts.
- The internal benefits of philanthropy: how the platform can be used to bring family members together.
- How to engage the next generation through philanthropy. Very often philanthropic endeavors form a touchstone for the transmission of values.
- Getting over the stigma of giving away hard-earned wealth.
- Determining and aligning philanthropic expectations at the board level for family enterprises. Unwritten or unrealistic expectations can create confusion for family members unclear about their roles in the process.
- How bringing professional, non-family members into a family’s philanthropic undertakings can help make those activities more efficient and impactful.
- Establishing the criteria for success in a family’s philanthropic strategy. An early, hands-on approach to learning about the issues, talking to experts, meeting with practitioners, and visiting communities are just some of the ways to determine progress.
- The new reality created by a world in crisis, and how it’s causing families to rethink the purpose of wealth. Many families now gauge their success on the growth of their impact and not just the growth of their profits.
Families might feel that giving away money is an easier process than earning money, but the fact is, philanthropy is complicated, hard work. It takes unity as a family, the resolve to decide what is important, and the determination to formulate an approach that will have a genuine impact. But those who decide to promote an agenda of philanthropy get to experience the excitement of what they can achieve when they attempt to tackle complex issues, coming together as a family to create change.
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