Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Shake Up at the Epicenter of Philanthropy

“Silicon Valley has become the epicenter of philanthropy in the U.S., if not the world. Along the span of entrepreneurs’ lives, my guess is we’ll look back at this period and see a lot of them did a lot of philanthropy over a long period of time.” Bradford K. Smith, President, The Foundation Center (quoted in the New York Times)

Image courtesty of suphakit73 /
Where there’s an epicenter, there’s bound to be a shake-up. Your ideal planned gift prospect may be older, with a carefully tended fortune to bestow and a phalanx of conservative advisors cautioning her against frittering away her assets. Perhaps you’ve become adept at the patient art of assuring her that she can afford a modest bequest. Will your mojo still work when you find yourself at the table with a 20-something software designer who wants to change the world right now and who has never in her life heard (or at least, never heeded) the word “no?”

Wendy Chou (Silicon Valley Community Foundation) and Phil Golden (Stanford University) will bring their experience with the famed tech entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley to the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning in October. It’s possible that you’ll never meet someone like Wendy's donor, who made a gift of virtual currency . But those creative—and possibly crazy—donors do have the reputation of being on the cutting edge. “It’s cool to ask yourself, ‘is there a way to make this work?’” Wendy says.

What if…
  • The currency is intellectual property, or some other funky asset that offers no clear matrix of risk and reward?
  • The donor must be convinced that his gift will have impact—and insists on seeing that impact in person?
  • The advisors are creative, not obstructive, and they actually encourage—even demand—innovative approaches to charitable giving?
  • The stewardship, and opportunities for cultivating future gifts, will span many decades?
Benefit corporations, mission investing, venture philanthropy, adaptive strategy—it’s not “planned giving” in a traditional sense, but philanthropists have many new options for directing their assets. And many of those options are being tested in Silicon Valley. Have you had an opportunity to think outside the box with donors who are too young or too impatient for the traditional planned gift strategies?  
Case Studies of Interesting Gifts in Silicon Valley
Wednesday, October 16
3:30-5:00 p.m.

Find out more about Wendy Chou and Phil Golden and download the mobile app.

About Barbara Yeager

Barbara Yeager is the director of operations for PPP. She has worked for the organization since 1991. Her responsibilities include managing research projects for the national organization and for councils, managing education and networking programs for the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning, the Council Conversations series, and the Leadership Institute. She moderates groups in the PPP e-community and works with writers to develop original content for publication by PPP. Barbara has a master’s degree in library and information science and worked as a public librarian and as a technical writer and systems analyst before joining the PPP staff. In her community, she is a Girl Scout leader, a community gardener and volunteers as a costumer for community theater groups. 

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