Philantropies in the age of diversity
The world of philanthropy conjures images of well-heeled men and women donning tuxedos and furs at fancy galas. The stereotype is well-deserved - generations of wealthy patrons lavishly contributed money and prestige to a select group of foundations over the generations, creating a robust yet exclusionary system steeped in tradition and ego.
But like the United States, the very nature of philanthropy is changing. What was once reserved for the upper crust is reaching across socioeconomic borders and inviting a more diverse population to the table.
“Wealth is not new. Neither is charity. But the idea of using private wealth imaginatively, constructively and systematically to attack the fundamental problems of mankind is new,” John Gardner, founder of Independent Sector, famously said of philanthropy, which dates back several centuries to the Ottoman Empire.
“You don’t have to be Bill Gates to be a philanthropist,” says Alexandra Aquino-Fike, vice president of development for Hispanics In Philanthropy, or HIP. “You can give $5 and still be a philanthropist.”
“The return you’re going to get by investing in the Latino community is transformative,” Aquino-Fike says. “Now more than ever, given what’s happened this week [with the presidential election], we’re ready to double down on Latino leadership and the Latino voice, making sure we put out a true narrative of the contributions of our community, the generosity of our community.”
“In Philly, the Latino community is very far from the center of the city,” Aquino-Fike says. “It felt super poor and super isolated. But the groups there are getting more organized and feeling stronger.”
“We ask challenging questioned about what our city will look like in the next 10 years,” explains Patrick Morgan, Knight Foundation’s Philadelphia program manager. “We have to help ensure that a broad civic table looks like the makeup of our cities, looks like Philadelphia.”
“Latinos are generous,” Aquino-Fike says. “ We give back every single day in a myriad of ways from our time and money.”
The Philadelphia Foundation
One of America’s oldest community foundations (founded in 1918), The Philadelphia Foundation (TPF) is committed to improving the quality of life in the Pennsylvania counties of Greater Philadelphia (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia). A foundation and a public charity, TPF connects philanthropic resources to societal needs. TPF manages assets of approximately $370 million and more than 900 charitable funds established by its fund holders. It distributes about $25 million annually to nearly 1,000 nonprofits as grants and scholarships, and promotes greater philanthropy and stronger nonprofits in service to community needs. To learn more, visit www.philafound.org.
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.