The Definition of “Philanthropist” Extends Far Beyond the Wealthy

The Definition of “Philanthropist” Extends Far Beyond the Wealthy

“I used to think of philanthropists only as people who give their money,” says Sierra Visher Kroha. “You know, you have so much wealth to give away and that qualifies you for the space, but I’ve been learning over the last few years that the majority of philanthropists and actors in the social change community really think of philanthropists as anyone who is giving themselves or their time or their heart and soul to a social cause and it has nothing to do with the money.” Sierra is the Director of Programs and Operations for San Diego Social Venture Partners, a nonprofit focused on accelerating social change in the local community.

Related: Timeless Wisdom: The Golden Mean

They are part of a global nonprofit network (Social Venture Partners). Their model is to pool the money of local donors and use it to fund social projects within the area. But, it doesn’t stop with the money. Those who donate want to be involved in improving the community. SDSVP facilitates this by educating its donors in determining which causes are best to fund and focusing on a theme for the year. Each year SDSVP and its donor members go through a process where they vet applicants and select one or two new groups to fund and support with their time, volunteer services and organizational resources (such as HR, marketing, management, leadership development, etc.).

Co-Creators of Social Change

This model allows for a variety of benefits, but one of the most important is it dramatically reduces communication barriers. “You’re coming to them as an equal, instead of this funder from across the table,” says Sierra. “You’re co-creators in social change. When you come to them with the right attitude, you bridge that cultural gap that sometimes exists from individuals on the funding side and individuals on the nonprofit side.”

Every year SDSVP selects a different social topic their members would like to learn more about. They bring in experts to speak about the topic, thoroughly define the problem and review nonprofit groups that are dedicated to addressing the problem. Then their members select which nonprofit they’d like to award a grant to.

This year the topic is human trafficking in San Diego. “It really opened my eyes,” says Sierra. “I had no idea it was such a problem before we started researching it. It’s huge in San Diego. It’s also huge in a lot of other places in the US.” Human trafficking is whenever someone exploits another person through the use of force, fraud or coercion to do labor– the two biggest problems are sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Sex trafficking and exploitation is estimated to account for $810 million dollars in revenue per year just in San Diego. “It is the equivalent of what the Padres were sold for in 2012,” Sierra added.

This process of reviewing social issues, vetting nonprofit groups and working with them to bring about change creates a whole new paradigm. Many of the members branch out to address issues they are passionate about on their own. “You are embedded in a community of other like-minded people and it helps you connect to different causes – ones that might be more up your alley. And now you have a toolbox to approach them and contribute more than just writing a check at Christmas and waiting for them to ask you again twelve months later. You can actually be part of making the change.”

Laura A. Roser
Life Transitions
Twitter Email

Laura A. Roser is the #1 expert in meaning legacy planning. She is the Founder and CEO of Paragon Road, a company that assists individuals in passing on their non-financial as ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: March 19-23

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: March 19-23

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on, March 19-23, 2018

Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!

1. Multi-Factor or Not Multi-Factor? That Is the Question

Let’s pretend you are a US investor that wants to deploy some of your money overseas.  You think international developed market stocks are attractive relative to US stocks, and you also think the US dollar will decline over the period you intend to hold your investment.  — Chris Shuba

2. The Lies Spread by Bankers About Cryptocurrencies

I had a chat with The Financial Times the other day, and provided lots of background as to why I don’t think cryptocurrencies are the choice of criminals. The comment that was reported was the following ... — Chris Skinner

3. Alternative Investments? You May Need New Shock Absorbers!

During the tumultuous red and green gyrations of the capital markets this year have your clients anxiously called to ask: “What’s going on with my portfolio?” What do you do when the usually smooth ride in your luxury automobile becomes as bumpy as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in the Happiest Place on Earth? What does the average investor do? — Ted Parker

4. Why Fear of Inflation Is Rattling Investors

Inflation is a bad thing, right? It make things more expensive, right? For those of us of, let’s say, a certain vintage, we recall the runaway inflation of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. So why does the Federal Reserve – in charge of managing the country’s currency and value thereof – actually try to create inflation? It’s called the inflation targeting and it matters to your money. — Bill Acheson

5. The Best Retirement Investments for a Steady Stream of Income

As you near your 60’s, your prime earning and saving years will transition into a period of time where you get to enjoy the “fruits of your labor,” a.k.a retirement. We call this segueing from accumulation to decumulation, the period when you will be drawing from your accumulated nest egg. Dana Anspach

6. An Emerging Theme In Thematic Investing

Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are popular vehicles for market participants looking to engage in thematic investing. Thematic investing looks to take advantage of future growth trends, including disruptive technologies. Given that forward-looking approach, stock-picking in the thematic universe is equally as hard, if not harder, than in traditional market segments. — Tom Lydon

7. 8 Winning Questions You Should Be Asking Every Prospect

It’s not enough for your salespeople to be product experts, they also need to be capable of having the kind of conversations that position them as business experts and even strategic resources. — Lisa Rose

8. 10 Steps to Successful Strategic Alliances

Business growth doesn’t come from wishful thinking. As you know, it takes a lot of hard work. The growth of your business is not an option – it is a necessity. Coordinating the right mix of strategies to gain market share and improve client acquisition rates is essential to advance your firm in today’s economy. — Michelle Mosher​​​​​​​

9. Keep It Light: Harnessing Humor for Financial Marketing Success

It’s undoubtedly true that investors’ financial security is no laughing matter, and this is reflected in the stolid, dour, reliable imagery and branding that is, by and large, the industry standard. This is hardly surprising—investors need to believe they’re placing their hard-earned money in the hands of experienced, trustworthy professionals. — Alexandra Levis​​​​​​​

10. Do the Economics of a Move to Independence Really Add Up?

The number one question advisors ask when exploring a move to independence is how the economics compare to accepting a recruiting package from a major firm. It’s certainly a valid concern, because while the recruiting deals being offered by the wirehouses are down, it is still very possible for a top advisor to get a really attractive hard-to-pass-up offer. — Mindy Diamond

11. Four Big Reasons Why Short-Term Muni Bonds Should Excite You

Municipal bonds might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a sexy investment. They don’t typically command news headlines like the stock market or bitcoin. — Frank Holmes

Douglas Heikkinen
Twitter Email

IRIS Co-Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues ... Click for full bio