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
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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: Feb 19-23

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

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

Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!

1. Don’t Get Pinged by the Social Security Earnings Limit

I’d like to introduce you to Peggy. Born in 1956, Peggy will be 62 in 2018. She has worked in retail her whole life, the past twenty-five years spent in management. Peggy divorced from her husband 14 years ago, is still single and has no children. — Dana Anspach

2. We're Back to “Bad News is Good News” and “Good News is Great News”

This week the markets shrugged off last week’s fears and went back to the slow and steady melt up, despite economic news that looked likely to once again rock the boat. — Lenore Elle Hawkins

3. Q1 2018 Factor Views

Themes established in 2017 across a wide range of markets and factors continued to resonate through the fourth quarter. Economic growth was strong and supportive of equity markets across the globe, a range of volatility measures reached all-time lows, and business and consumer sentiment remained elevated. — Yazann Romahi and Garrett Norman

4. A Beneficial Basket of Commodities

Advisors and investors that feel they are hearing more and more about commodities and the corresponding exchange traded products in recent months are right. That is a natural result of dollar weakness and yes, the greenback is floundering again in 2018. — Tom Lydon

5. 3 Trends Shaping the Future of Asset Management

As the industry works to cope with new regulation, wades through an outpouring of new products, learns to satisfy investors’ shifting priorities and manages the active-passive debate, the viability of business units will be questioned, and at times radical measures will be taken. Peter Hopkins

6. 5 Ways Advisors Leave Money on the Table, and What to Do About It

My hope is that this article points out some opportunities for you to make more money and serve your clients at a higher level and that you decide to do something about it. — Bill Bachrach

7. The Market Has Gone Wild! Is It Time to Change Your Investment Strategy?

Whether the market is flying high or taunting your emotions with new lows and some bumpy volatility, here are four things every investor should keep in mind ... — Lauren Klein

8. How to Deepen Client Relations and Capture New Business Using Engaging Content

Why financial advisors NEED to understand much more clearly the power of good digital market. With tools like AdvisorStream, it’s easier than ever to get the content you need to drive leads and referrals today! — Kirk Lowe and Matt Halloran

9. Three Ways The Most Successful Gain Big Attention

How do some firms and ideas go from nowhere to everywhere in a few short months? All of a sudden a restaurant becomes popular, a gas station gains a cult following, or a Broadway show becomes too popular to get a ticket for years. — Maribeth Kuzmeski

10. Who Are the Hottest FinTech Firms and Influencers Around the World?

"Worldwide, $27.4 billion poured into fintech startups in 2017, Accenture reports, up 18% from 2016. With so much in play, it’s not surprising that 22 companies are new on this, the third edition of our list."  — Chris Skinner

11. The New Stock Market Normal Is Not What You Think!

Many sensational headlines have been written the past few weeks about market declines, but two things have increased for sure: the viewership and the ad revenues of financial media organizations — Preston McSwain​​​​​​​

Douglas Heikkinen
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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