Hello, all. Lansie here. Just wanted to share a few thoughts here on our blog. These are my opinions, and do not reflect those held by our sponsors, volunteers, charity recipients or anyone else. Just me.

In Will Bunch’s recent blog, “Why philanthropy can’t save Philly,” the author nattily concludes that unless a democratic school system was instated, schools in Philly will just have to keep “begging.” As a consultant to nonprofits, I must argue with Mr. Bunch’s terminology and general overview of the situation.

When schools, or any type of nonprofit organization, request philanthropic support from individuals, corporations, or foundations, they are not “begging.” They are involving key stakeholders, create shared objectives, and promoting leadership opportunities in the communities they serve. Philanthropists give their support willingly, and are within their rights to create systems of accountability…or “strings,” as Mr. Bunch calls these critical evaluative measures.

Philanthropy does not exist in an “either/or” universe.

For example, philanthropists do not give contributions either to charter school or to public schools. A gift to one type of organization does not preclude a separate gift to another.

Donors are motivated by personal interests, and are cultivated and acknowledged by savvy nonprofit professionals based on their passions and preferences.

Mr. Bunch correctly asserts that philanthropists are not “voted” into their positions of power, and therefore the public can’t control where their gifts go. What the public can control though is their own ability to give. Hate that Sam Walton is supporting charter schools? Then donate to your local YMCA or other nonprofit educational institution of choice.

In the economy as in philanthropy, we all vote with our dollars.

I would like to conclude by pointing out that the blog’s definition of a “philanthropist” is unfortunately narrow. Anyone can be a philanthropist. That is a core belief held by Philly Give & Get, and me personally. Planned giving, monthly giving, tithing, and other charitable giving vehicles enable anyone to support a cause they are passionate about.

After all, it is not about one’s ability to give…the most important thing is the act of giving itself, no matter what amount.

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