New Faces of Philanthropy

The cover of the latest issue of Barron’s (subscription may be needed) features three “new faces of philanthropy”. This in itself is encouraging, as it suggests that the media is regaining interest in money-related stories that have nothing to do with the collapse of the financial system and are even positive about some rich people.

Peter Kellner is one of the three featured “Next-Gen Givers”, as Barron’s calls these relatively young philanthropists. He appears briefly in the book as one of the co-founders of Endeavor, a non-profit that is committed to supporting high-impact entrepreneurs in developing economies. Now he is teaming up with venture capitalist Neal Goldman to form Uhuru Capital Management, a hedge-fund fund of funds that will use over 25% of its partnership incentive fees, or up to 5% of profits, to invest in entrepreneurial opportunities in developing economies. One of the early investors is Justin Rockefeller, of the famously philanthropic dynasty whose giving goes back to JD Rockefeller. Also involved in Uhuru – Swahili for “freedom” – is Jed Emerson, the guru of the “blended value” approach to business which looks beyond profit to social impact.

As we report in the book, for-profit philanthropy is one of the most intriguing, fastest growing and potentially controversial aspects of philanthrocapitalism. Indeed, “We don’t call what we are doing philanthropy; we call it having an impact,” Kellner tells Barron’s. “This is a model that combines the desire to achieve and the desire to do good. Why should we artificially separate these two drives in our everyday lives?” Indeed. Here’s hoping they can turn these good intentions into some real good in practice.