The "Trump Effect" and National Philanthropy Day

National Philanthropy Day is on November 15.  Leading up to this day organizations around the world are hosting events celebrating the generosity of people and businesses in their communities.This got me thinking about the concept of philanthropy in relationship to the role that leaders play in shaping our social fabric.

Over the past year media, charities, donors and the general public have been talking about the “Trump Effect.” The financial ripples that have permeated the charitable sector by way of people offsetting the extreme swings of government funding and policy shifts.  Funding for organizations like environmental agencies, anti-semitism and anti-racisim organizations, women’s health and immigrant aid organizations have all seen spikes from private donors.


At what point does the notion of philanthropy and specifically the role of the philanthropist shift from being “for the love of mankind” to one of “making a political statement?”  Is there a need for us to reconsider how philanthropy, and the way that funds traditionally flow into the charitable sector, play into the viability or sustainability of charities? What does it mean in today’s economic and political landscape for individuals, families and businesses to philanthropic?  


Exploring the idea around Philanthropy 3.0 in this context with National Philanthropy Day as a backdrop one could ask, as philanthropists and impact investors, are we going to be funders of projects that are easily influenced by political forces or are we going to be financiers of solutions that will work around the politics of the day? Should philanthropy be used as a tool, as it has over this past year (a political and social statement against or in support of a current government)? Should we be looking at new language around what this new version of philanthropy has morphed into? The Social Impact Lab at Karma & Cents is exploring this with our family foundation and corporate foundation clients.  We believe that there is a different way of doing philanthropy and building communities.