Sunday, May 22, 2011

What I took home from the 'Women in philanthropy network lunch'

I recently attended a 'Women in Philanthropy network lunch'. I'm always very critical of organised 'only women' events. Not that I don't like to hang out with 'my girls' alone but I prefer gender mixed events. But I was intrigued by this idea of meeting with like-minded individuals and a lunch in good company can never do harm.
The lunch was held in a very lovely coffeeshop (Oways) which gave the event a nice setting. It turned out to be amazing food and amazing food for thought. The speaker was Wendy Appelbaum who can account of good amount of years in philanthropy work. 

I really like the things she shared and hence, going to share with you what I took home from the lunch. Firstly, here one of many definitions of 'philanthropy':
The word comes from Latin philanthropia, from Greek philanthrōpia, from philanthrōpos loving people, from phil- + anthrōpos human being. It describes the effort or inclination to increase the well-being of humankind, as by charitable aid or donations and/or also seen as  love of humankind in general.
Philanthropy is a old world which has in recent years gained popularity as it stands for a more developmental, self-help and sustainable approach to assistance than charity and welfare.
Considering Ms. Appelbaum's many years of involvement in philanthropic activities, she shared some general things that she believed could be important.
Firstly she emphasised the importance of integrity and honesty, basically saying, stand up for what you believe in and be comfortable in your skin.

Secondly, she said: "I'm involved in this type of work, because I believe in it and not because I feel guilty. And also because I can afford it."

Mentors are crucial in order to learn and grow; so think carefully who are your mentors in life or who could be one for you.

And lastly she presented the difference between philanthropy and charity to show why she believes in philanthropy (and not so much in charity). Philanthropy focuses on the bigger picture, finding solutions to massive social problems, empowerment and sustainability. It is all about looking into the root causes and finding solution. Philanthropy tries to look into the future and beyond tomorrow. Charity in contrast operates like band-aid for today but does not really involve the future or the long-term solution. Charity might bring quicker results and photo opportunities but a philanthropic approach will make a difference in the long-run.

Besides these great thoughts, I discovered another lovely coffee shop and had a couple of very interesting networking conversations.

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