When Is It Ever About the Money?

August 3, 2017 - Mae Hong

RPA Vice President Mae Hong recently spoke on the More than Money Philanthropy Panel at the Campaign for Grade Level Reading Funder Huddle. In a new blog post, she recaps the panel and delves into the history of philanthropy; the importance of hopeful giving; and why we should measure our philanthropy through its “force of good,” not dollars.

“I was asked to speak recently to a group of foundation leaders gathered for the Campaign for Grade Level Reading Funder Huddle on the topic of “More Than Money Philanthropy.”  With 300+ funders in attendance, this was one of the largest confabs of local, state, and national funders that support early learning, early literacy and early school success, and so the idea of talking about more than the hundreds of millions of dollars that this group represented was a little daunting.

Every foundation wants to think of itself as more than an ATM or checkbook.  Or more than – as the famous New Yorker cartoon once depicted foundations – a “pile of money surrounded by people who want some.”  We often say foundations’ influence is more important than their affluence; or that our cache is more meaningful than our cash.  My first thoughts went to the all-important triumvirate of giving time and talent in addition to our treasure. And then it hit me:

When did our philanthropy become about money in the first place? How did our dollars become a proxy to measure our love for humanity?”

Read more and view the panel session here.