Philanthropy Is An Investment Not An Expense: Lesson #4 from #EmpowerPhilanthropy 2016!

This is the fourth installment of a 6-part series on lessons from Empower Philanthropy! Annual Conference presented by ABFE-A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities.
By Natasha A. Harrison

What is a philanthropic investment?

Philanthropic investment is the most used term among foundations. Fundamentally, a philanthropic investment is a long-term allocation of time, talent, and treasure to generate a future society benefit. It takes account that results are not immediate especially for systemic issues and intentionally charts towards realistic impact.

During the opening plenary, Jamal Jones, Co-Executive Director, Baltimore Algebra Project reminded me, that philanthropy has been treated as an expense versus an investment.

What we both see and hear from many foundations is the off loading of restrictive, program-focused funds with a yearly, grant term limit to meet IRS requirements.

Foundations have a unique opportunity to think through ‘what works’ with their grantees and fellow foundation colleagues operating in the same focus area(s).

Also, funders need to investigate their commitment and acknowledge if they have been behaving as a ‘proxy buyer.’
Need help getting started? Contact CommunityBuild Ventures today. We can help you chart toward real philanthropic investment.

Natasha A. Harrison is founder and president and CEO of CommunityBuild Ventures, LLC. CommunityBuild Ventures provides training, consultation, and coaching services that result in strategic solutions. CB Ventures equips government agencies, businesses and nonprofits to effectively produce sustainable, large-scale social change in African American communities. Follow CommunityBuild Ventures @CBVentures1.

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