Philanthropy is different than charity. Traditionally, philanthropy reflects long-term strategic investments in creating real change. But in times of national and/or natural disaster, both respond in short-term ways that can be most helpful.
The recent devastation in Haiti reflects the kind of disasters that call philanthropy to action. We can and should do our part in addressing the immediate rescue and relief aspects of this global disaster. Then, we can and will consider how philanthropy engages in rebuilding and reconstruction, over time.
Many of our infrastructure colleagues already are connecting our sector to enhance the impact and effectiveness of our philanthropic dollars. We encourage Council members and the broader field to work with those organizations that best reflect their interests. We will do our best to monitor and share information on the immediate needs in Haiti and organizations mobilizing resources in country.
Please visit our disaster grantmaking Web site for current information. Let us know how you are assisting—whether directly to Haiti, through a partner organization or through those in your local communities—so we can share the information with others in our field. Please send us your information and updates so that we can include your activities on our site.
As we reminded ourselves during the U.S. economic crisis, leadership moments are not scheduled. If philanthropy’s mission is to serve the common good, this is indeed one of those moments.
Steve Gunderson is the president and CEO of the Council on Foundations.
For real-time news and updates on philanthropy’s response to the earthquake in Haiti, follow the Council on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/cof_