I've been thinking about philanthropy. I didn't start off in the philanthropic world. My start was in the nonprofit world. However, low wages, racial discrimination, vicarious trauma, and the nagging feeling that I wasn't helping people effectively made me shift my focus from direct service in nonprofits to public service and policy. Getting into philanthropy felt like a natural next step. I was no longer doing the "boots on the ground" work to help people in need, but for the first time, I had the resources to give significant amounts of my earnings to the causes I cared about.
The problem? I felt prematurely jaded about the inner workings of nonprofits. I'd worked for multiple nonprofit organizations. To put it graphically, I was intimately familiar with how the sausage was made. One organization I worked with was amazing! But another was unbelievably corrupt. Another, still, was so poorly managed I'm surprised it hasn't spontaneously combusted or something. So how was I to make well-founded decisions about where to direct my money? How would I know what to look for? What should any of us be thinking about when we make the decision to give our money in support of addressing a critical issue? These are some of the questions I still grapple with as I dive deeper into philanthropy.
I don't have any perfect answers, but I do have a few favorite pieces of thought-provoking media. Take a look and get inspired: