Visions of the Philanthropy of the Future


Philanthropy of the Future: A Vision

by Marion Weber, founder of The Flow Fund Circle

As the degradation of this Earth continues, ‘catalyst philanthropists’ will realize that they need to empower the earth’s visionaries and initiators to be philanthropists. They will realize that they must quickly increase the number of catalyst philanthropists in the world.

The large foundations will begin to decrease as the number of walking philanthropists increase. Rather than responding to elaborately crafted grant proposals, the new form of philanthropy will flow from the knowledge and experience that nurture intuition. Grassroots needs all over the world will be seen and watered by this huge explosion of philanthropists. Gifts will constantly move and trust and generosity will flower beautifully.

Soon these newly empowered visionary philanthropists will begin to be magnetized together into different groups. Some of these groups will become "pounce teams" where philanthropists of great diversity will come together to alleviate pain, pollution, and emergencies. Other groups of new philanthropists will be drawn together to bring about tipping points and the emergence of needed initiatives.

The isolation of philanthropists that existed in the past one hundred years will be no more. To be a philanthropist will be common and seen as just one form of extending generosity. At least one half of the world’s population will begin to see with the eyes of the catalyst philanthropist. A great healing instead of hoarding of money will begin to happen.

Philanthropy will become relationship-based instead of paper-based. There will be no need to finance offices. There will be no overhead.  There will be no need for people to write proposals because all the philanthropists will be constantly initiating help where it is needed. Former philanthropists will be seen as visionaries. Visionaries and healers will be seen as philanthropists. In fact a new word will emerge which combines these qualities all together.


Trust-Driven Philanthropy: An Experiment

by Nipun Mehta,

Purpose: To help catalyze a new kind of philanthropy, a philanthropy where donors and recipients truly co-create the change they wish to see in the world.
Status Quo: Traditional giving is often transactional and rooted in future-based projections; by the time a donation reaches the hands of the actual recipient, its use is constricted by pre-defined ideas that may no longer hold true. As a result of this process, donors are mired in bureaucratic follow-up and don't have time to look at 90% of the new ideas that are sitting on their desk; the grant recipients feel like "employees" expected to return what the donor wants to see and miss out on many on-the-ground innovations; and the masses hear the cookie-cutter, choreographed stories that "sell" instead of authentic voices that inspire. More...


Generosity Entrepreneurs and
Imagine a form of giving that is rooted in trust and transparency. You make a no-strings-attached gift to people you trust; those recipients are now empowered to dynamically serve in their own context, leveraging this unconditional gift; and as an expression of gratitude, they pass the inspiration on, creatively sharing the story of ‘paying-forward’ the gift they received.
Onlookers get engaged, and the (r)evolution continues organically. More


New Paradigms

Peter Copen is the President of the Copen Family Fund and founder of iEarn, an Internet-based initiative technologically linking teachers and students around the world to work together on social and environmental projects. He writes:

"Transformational philanthropy means having a large vision, one that will create a new paradigm—a paradigm that will exponentially reduce suffering (and enhance the evolution) of people and the planet. It also means asking some big and important questions and having the courage to fund projects that live within those questions, not knowing how they will turn out. Why? Because a new paradigm cannot be adequately described or conceived by the language and concepts of the old one."


Properties of Transformational Philanthropy

Excerpt from Inspired Philanthropy by Tracy Gary and “Transformational Philanthropy” by Duane Elgin, Tracy Gary, John Levy and Elizabeth Share
In the mid-1990s, the National Network of Grantmakers reported that only about 5% of American foundation funding was addressing social change… Meanwhile, the major threats to the planet – disease, war, poverty, and environmental degradation –called for greater attention and solution. A new kind of philanthropy was called for –one that worked at a higher level of reflection, analysis, strategy, and funding… 

The following are nine properties of transformational initiatives that have emerged from wide-ranging conversations in the field.

  • Recognize that we have entered a time of global change and a historical window of opportunity

To read the 9 properties of transformational initiatives, click here...



Changemakers offers definitions of social change philanthropy (or ‘social justice philanthropy’) and community-based philanthropy, as well as a wide range of resources on transforming philanthropy.


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