“Big Bet” Philanthropy Can Pay Off Remarkably, But Remember It’s A Bet

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The world’s wealthiest philanthropic donors are suffering their own so-far incurable problem: They’re allergic to making big bets, gifts of over $10 million to social change issues.

The technical term for this is called the“aspiration gap.” It was coined by Bridgespan, a consulting firm for nonprofits and philanthropists, which has found that while roughly 80% of the world’s most wealthy and seemingly nimble donors—those who’ve committed to the Giving Pledge or are regularly listed among Forbes Top 50 donors—say they’re interested in tackling social change issues, only 20% follow through.

That might change now that there’s a big-bet primer: Bridgespan has released a new report auditing the decades long big bets of Atlantic Philanthropies, whose founder, the duty-free shop billionaire Chuck Feeney, inspired the “giving while living” movement. The limited life foundation, which initially started in 1982, plans to give away a total of $8 billion by the time it dissolves in 2020. (Full disclosure: Atlantic is also funding Fast Company’s philanthropy coverage).

Source: Co.Exist (link opens in a new window)

Impact Assessment