3/31 Warren Buffet & Co.

Warren Buffet has done well on his commitment to donating his fortune to charities, some of which are the organizations he founded for his children to run. The articles read are particularly interesting because each makes an argument of what philanthropy is and means to the individual and to the world, The most interesting argument on philanthropy is the one constructed by Peter Buffett. Mr. Buffett calls philanthropy a “crisis of imagination,” and he is not wrong. I also agree that it is a “perpetual poverty machine.” While philanthropy should not come to an end, there is no doubt that the “system” could use some help. The word “philanthropy” is often associated with celebrities and those of high social status and wealth. It is not impossible for someone of middle or low class to afford to be “charitable,” but it is obviously much easier for someone with so much to give back a little. However, it is not uncommon to hear of celebrities or people of wealth using their wealth to do philanthropic things, but whether it is for good and for status it can sometimes be hard to tell. Mr. Buffett also makes the point that at philanthropic events and meetings, there are often people sitting in the room who are helping while others in the room are assisting in creating other problems. The goal of philanthropy and charitable work should not be to place a bandage on the problem, but to find the source of the problem and eliminate it so the wound can properly heal instead of covering it up in the meantime. Philanthropy has grown relative to business and government, despite Phil Buchanan’s disagreements. While there is still good being done, as anything involving money, the business of philanthropy has become a way for people to claim and flaunt status and also created opportunity for business outside of the organization(s). 

Funding Draft

The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to restore music education programs in public schools and promote the positive impact music education has on students. The initiative donates $30,000 worth of musical instruments and equipment per recipient to schools across the country each year. Potential recipients must apply through the website, and then are invited to submit another application to be viewed by the board and partner organizations. Because the organization is a foundation itself, they are the ones actually donating the equipment. However, in order to raise their funds, they receive monetary funding from a number of sources, the first being the parent network, VH1. Secondly, private donations are given by private donors (individuals) and partner organizations. These partner organizations also serve on the foundation’s board, and assist the foundation in making final decisions as to where donations and funding should go. The school’s must agree to hire a certified professional in the music field as a teacher and must agree to continue funding the program for years to come. Additionally, organizations, companies, and individuals can choose to sponsor a program, through social media exposure and other means. Organizations can “align ‘their’ brand with an internationally known and respected pro-social cause through turnkey music-based fundraising programs that help to improve public school music education opportunities for children across the country.” Sponsors may also choose to sponsor a special Piano Grant as part of a national KEYS+KIDS pilot community impact program.

Ross & Thomas Chapter 5

As Ross and Thomas describe, when choosing to work with a nonprofit organization it is extremely important to read and analyze the organization’s mission statement. The authors describe how to analyze one and I find that their methods are much like my own. When I research an organization, the first thing I look at is their mission statement. I make sure that the statement includes words or synonyms of words that I hold as values or as important in some way. I usually avoid politically affiliated organizations, however I am willing to work with government agencies. While mission statements are important and crucial to the introduction of an organization, I find that I cannot merely look at a mission statement or two when deciding who to work with. I usually navigate the website and try to find a current or former volunteer or employee that is willing to share their experience with me and to hear about their own values. I tend to navigate towards organizations and companies that employ people with similar tastes and personalities to my own. 

When working as an employee or volunteer of any type of organization, I know that I work best with a mentor or employer that has similar goals and interests. I enjoy working with those that can teach me something and those that I can also teach, so I try to gain a mutual empathy with my employer or mentor. I also try to connect to my fellow volunteers and employees, and especially the community that I am serving. These are all suggestions of Ross and Thomas that are important for anyone, volunteer or employee.