Monday, December 04, 2006

Warren Buffett does it, you should too

Trent Stamp at "Trent Stamp's Take" read the fine print in the stories about spending down the Gates Foundation. In doing so he noted that the world's biggest foundation is also opening its doors to anyone who, like Warren Buffett, might want to give the Gates' a few billion dollars.

There is much to recommend this - more efficient infrastructure, better use of knowledge, sharing resources for greater impact. And we've seen it before - Rockefeller Brothers, Pew siblings, and Charles Culpeper and family have all pooled their foundations at some point in the past.

Frankly, if philanthropists spend less n their own infrastructure their might be more money available for grants. The good news is that there are lots of ways to support your philanthropy with knowledgeable advisors, effective systems, plentiful partners, and real access to community problem solvers.

Some of these joint opportunities do include "buying another foundation's staff expertise," as in the case with Buffett and Gates. Others include pooling funds in giving circles such as Social Venture Partners, the Black Women for Black Girls Giving Circle or hometown associations.

Alternatively, community foundations can boast about their access to community knowledge and the informed, representative nature of their boards. Companies like Foundation Source may have an easier sell for their low-cost technologically-accelerated management offerings.

I don't think the Gates Foundation needs a whole lot more money. However, the more they are willing to share what they know and the resources that they have, the more organized philanthropy may move toward an overall smarter and more efficient system.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Greetings from sunny Singapore, where we are trying hard to push for more cultural philanthropy. Unlike the US, its a challenge getting people to give to causes, especially heritage and art related ones. I guess that's what keeps me busy!

Thanks for the interesting posts here. I recently attended a talk by Colburn S Wilbur from the Packard Foundation. He shared some pretty interesting points which I have captured here: