Personal Philanthropy

When shareholders are closer to the core of the business, companies tend to perform better. The quality is higher and operating costs lower. Personal Philanthropy applies a small business mentality to foundations and 3rd sector organizations. It inspires people to start philanthropical activities where the end goal would be the strongest positive impact. The patterns are taken from the business operations environment.

It should assure the most useful usage of the resources (time). Creating the efficient surrounding (actual people-in-need), but with the replaced target from “income” to “impact.”

The idea also addresses the needs of retired people who sometimes may feel alone with an “empty nest” when their children leave home. After being financially stable and independent, they can spend extra savings and time in a more efficient way than supporting foundations.

What would that mean in practice?

Let’s consider the example of Lisa. She is a 55-year-old widow – an accountant living in Texas, who decided to retire early. She has more than enough money to support herself, a dog, and two children who have already left the city and do not keep in touch with her. Living alone in a big house makes her feel lonely.

Lisa heard about the Personal Philanthropy initiative and decided to open a small, remote international school in India. It was named “Lisa’s School” and was organized in cooperation with a local study group in Bhalswa Slum Delhi. With the help of the group leader, 10 orphans have been selected out of the child labors from group refugees from Bengal. Their ages range from 12 to 16 years old.

Those children do not have a national ID, so they cannot attend public schools or be admitted into hospitals. They live by scavenging copper wires or glass bottles, which they then sell for a modest profit.

Lisa’s school has remote tutors from Poland, and these tutors remotely teach the children English, basic mathematics, and science. Lisa conducted interviews with herself and selected the most committed and talented students from the best Polish university. She pays each of them $10 per hour.

Benefit directly and efficiently

Additionally, each child gets 30 minutes each week to talk with Lisa about their problems and get advice on the most common issues, which range from fixing a bike or filtering water to using the Internet and finding a job.

Sometimes the call is much longer than 30 minutes, such as when one of the children get pneumonia and is scared of dying. Lisa had to comfort him and call a doctor from the city to provide medical care. The doctor charged Lisa $50 for the visit and supply of antibiotics, and the child promptly recovered.

Lisa decided to pay for lunch each time a child comes to the lesson. She found a small local restaurant that agreed to host the lessons in one of their rooms and to provide the lunch. The owner is sharing his laptop so that children can attend the remote lessons via Skype.

She has a plan: In the next few months, her children can start to learn programming and accounting, so after a year or two, they will be able to start their first remote jobs. With the money, they would be able to pay for their food, accommodations, and further education.

Other ideas

My personal inspiration is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which convinced me that the most cost/impact effective investments for Personal Philanthropy are in education and health. It explains why I focus on these areas.

A few other examples, which could be done in the form of a small business, is to visit a developing country and with your own resources build a school, hospital, or orphanage. Another idea is to create and oversee a research grant to cure a disease.

Do whatever you have experience and resources to do. But do it yourself. Donating money to a foundation is the least effective use of funds because they have a huge operational overhead. You, as an owner,  have the strongest incentive to be as efficient as possible, and not only can you use your money but also experience that you have gained over your life. After all, it’s your hard-earned money!

If you are interested in joining the movement, contact me at marek@bardonski.pl, and I will help you start.

Bill Gates wishes to Marek Bardoński

Bill Gates wishes to Marek Bardoński