Corporate Philanthropy meets the blogosphere

October 12, 2006

Jason Calacanis posts on what he’s calling Media Philanthropy. Oddly enough I love the sentiment. Indeed, once I start getting an income from b5media (shortly I’m promised, I did after all sign on a dotted line in relation to formal employment contract) it’s something I might consider for the $100 odd US dollars this site makes a month.

Of course the hard thing then becomes who to give the funds to. It’s always an interesting debate. It’s something we’ve discussed b5media doing to some extent as well into the future. However personally I tend to remain highly skeptical of most so-called charities.

Very few Australians would forget the scandal of the Australian Red Cross taking millions in donations for the victims of the 2002 Bali Bombings, only to find out later that the Red Cross held on to half of the funds.

Other charities such as World Vision do, in my mind, little good. Not only are significant amounts of donations gobbled up by “administrative” fees, the money on the ground does little to actually help these people in the long term. What’s the old saying, give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him how to fish and he eats forever…something along those lines. Feeding some poor third world child isn’t going to change their community for the better, even if it helps clense some sort of white middle class guilt for thousands of Australians.

Other so-called charities, such as Oxfam and Amnesty are far too political in their goals, interfering in countries such as Australia whilst ignoring some of the other horrors in the rest of the world because their ideological brethren run those countries.

Which leaves me with a few choices. I can remember Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame was involved in a charity that looked at providing teaching and tools to kids worldwide in how to understand money etc…to me that’s a fish catching exercise and would be worthwhile. Question I guess, is there something like that in Australia. The other alternative is to put the money back into the Open Source movement. I already fairly regularly make donations to various open source movements, I’ve given small amounts to WordPress and Mozilla for example, and on other occasions donations to similar open source writers and movements. It’s a movement I believe strongly in, even if some of it’s members seek to equate open source with communism…the copy left and the Soviet imagery used doesn’t sit well with me at all, and yet it’s a movement I’ve launched a 100 + websites off the back off.

Lots of food for thought.

2 responses to Corporate Philanthropy meets the blogosphere

  1. You might want to consider It’s a global micro-lending program. A donation can not only help someone to fish, but buy them the pole, net, and bait to help them make a business of it.

  2. I wish I could remember the link, but I remember reading of a group once that gave ratings on exactly what happened with charity money and could point to cases where the money was actually an investment that could grow as opposed to: here’s a bowl of rice, now go away.