Philanthropy in Transformative Times

WiseTribe could be awarded $100,000 to foster next generation environmental leaders!

Wednesday, April 17th, we find out if the prestigious Impact 100 Palm Beach County grant is awarded to us in the Environmental category for a program called Junior WiseTribers. Watch for more exciting stuff on Junior WiseTribers soon…

Today’s focus is on philanthropy moving society forward.

As a curious and passionate grant prospect creating solutions to big social problems, I got to thinking about how non-profits are empowered to generate transformative impact.

This led me to checking out the word origins of charity and philanthropy. Both have their origins in the 1600s, an interesting time for turbulence in social governance and the emergence of new systems of thought:

Galileo showed planets circle the sun… then he was forced to recant this truth. America was being settled by Europeans, the Protestant Reformation was stirring in the background and parliament was displaced by the return of a monarch. Newton laid the foundation for modern physics with experiments in gravity.

It seems that this is not unlike the interesting times we find ourselves in today. Or is humanity constantly in a cycle of discovering order in a chaotic world? Hmmm…

Anyway, back to these important words:

  • Philanthropy can be broadly defined as love for humankind. It is derived from the Greek words “philos,” which means loving and “anthropos,” which means humankind.
  • Charity focuses on eliminating the suffering caused by social problems, while philanthropy focuses on eliminating social problems.

By example, teaching the person how to grow food is philanthropy because it eliminates the social problem causing the person’s hunger. Feeding someone because they are starving is charity.

Compassion is clearly rooted in each word, though we can safely say philanthropy is differentiated as the love of humanity in strategic action.

Humanity’s greatest challenges are actually solvable because of philanthropists. Strategic philanthropy has the potential to change millions of lives. Supporting efforts that may be too unconventional or too innovative to gain the widespread support of the general public or the government is what makes philanthropy a truly transformative force. Because of philanthropy, bold new ideas are made possible.

Over the years, philanthropy has evolved quite a bit, moving toward investment in social good for a market return and evolving still. The concept of “social return on investment” was formally introduced at the turn of this century, asking us to consider the true cost of value when environmental and social elements are also accounted against a financial return– the so called triple bottom line.

Truly evolving towards an economic system that sustains total wellbeing in new ways, and because of new ideas, can be realized through innovations sponsored by philanthropists. Imagine every business pursuing profits and building value chains with a more holistic understanding of their total impact.

It is fairly obvious that our world is at increasing odds with human wellbeing and our current economic system by-products which are detrimental to our health and the sustainability of the planet. Think of how wise the world would be if we adopted standard business practices that purposefully solved social problems by incorporating social benefits in their business strategies. Finding solutions to this opportunity to achieve social benefits starts by taking action steps locally with modest but meaningful systems changes. WiseTribe is engaged in helping local communities find new pathways to good by interweaving the initiatives of multiple actors including philanthropists, elected officials, businesses, non profits, schools and churches. As a result, WiseTribe, and its innovations, play a key role in producing transformative impact by eliminating social problems and optimizing human potential.

We are optimistic to be supported by Impact 100 Palm Beach County in this milestone for our organization. We are recognized as changemakers in our community because of people like you who have stepped up to offer your time, talent and money to the projects we have initiated so far. We are philanthropy in action, for sure! I am so very grateful to serve with you as we redefine well-being in our community and move toward our collective vision of a wiser world.

I welcome your thoughts, comments, suggestions here on the blog or via email at We’d love to see you in person, too, at one of our upcoming events and we are actively seeking volunteer support. Email us at Together@WiseTribe.Us and let us know you’d like to volunteer and we’ll connect you to our next project.

Jacqueline Botting is the Founder of WiseTribe and contributing writer to WiseTribe’s blog.


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