— Ben Wilkoff (@bhwilkoff) January 14, 2016
While I know some things about some things, everyone seems to think starting their own philanthropy is the answer. I think about it differently.
Instead of having a multitude of smart, dedicated people working on the same problem from a million different places, what might happen if that multitude of people (and perspectives) was asked to work together to consider a problem? A charitable DARPA.
Instead of starting a philanthropy, I’d try to use that sum of money to entice existing, similarly-aligned philanthropies to join forces and work to solve a given problem together.
Homelessness, unemployment, hunger, education, nutrition – all pieces of poverty – I’d find the leading organizations and minds and say, “I’ll fund a coalition if you choose to work together.” As the work progressed, we’d keep our doors open to other organizations that felt common cause while holding different views as to the solutions.
As I’d argue is endemic to our culture when people disagree, it has become too difficult to take our toys and go play somewhere else. This isn’t conducive to a rich debate, collaborative effort, or deep exchange of ideas. We don’t need more philanthropies, we need more efficient philanthropies.