What is philanthrocapitalism?

Matthew Bishop

What is philanthrocapitalism? There are a couple of definitions. First, a micro-level definition: it is a new way of doing philanthropy, which mirrors the way that business is done in the for-profit capitalist world.

Entrepreneurs don’t just want to write cheques. They want to be hands on, bringing innovative ideas to scale by investing their time and energy – ‘venture philanthropy’.

New intermediaries are emerging offering advisory services to help the rich get the best out of their philanthropic dollars; the philanthropists themselves are doing more to learn from each other; Warren Buffett has taken the radical step of getting Bill and Melinda Gates to spend the bulk of his philanthropic assets.

Philanthropists are getting more focused on what their money actually achieves, which is driving a quest for new ways of measuring impact. In doing so, strategic philanthropists are also acknowledging that they can’t tackle big issues on their own, so are entering into partnerships with each other, with governments, and with the private sector to ‘leverage’ change.

 
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What have we learned?

Nilda Bullain