[Editor’s note: With the Council’s Family Philanthropy Conference set to begin on Sunday, January 31, keep up with the plenaries and sessions by following our 21 conference bloggers who will share their thoughts and impressions. Blogger Kari Dunn Saratovsky, vice president for Social Innovation at the Case Foundation, will moderate the closing plenary with “What Would Google Do?” author Jeff Jarvis. In this post, she asks readers to submit the questions they would like to ask Jarvis.]
I have the great pleasure and perhaps the great challenge of moderating the closing plenary “Direct From Davos: Jeff Jarvis on ‘What Would Google Do In Philanthropy’” at the Family Philanthropy Conference on Tuesday, February 2. The pleasure comes from having an opportunity to speak directly with a forward-thinker like Jarvis who focuses extensively on how the significant changes in our world have been brought on by advances in the Internet. The challenge arises because the tens of thousands of family foundations in the United States are diverse and divergent in their structures, operations and thinking—as Google is from Chrysler—and not all are known for their “Googley” innovative ways.
I work at a family foundation created by business and social entrepreneurs who have pushed us to experiment with philanthropy in ways that have tested the traditional boundaries and engaged the public in all facets of the grantmaking process. At the Case Foundation, we’ve tested a new model of “citizen-centered philanthropy” that involves “real people” in everything from developing program guidelines, to being part of the application process and sometimes even determining grant decisions. I’m not suggesting this is a model for all of philanthropy—and perhaps we’re in the extreme—but there are lessons to learn from shifting the balance of power in relationships between grantors and grantees to leverage the giving power of individuals (who make up 80 percent of philanthropic dollars). These are lessons that I believe could benefit family philanthropy in big ways.
I first heard about the “Googlization of Philanthropy” from Sean Stannard-Stockton, who wrote on his Tactical Philanthropy blog, “Googlization focuses on enabling collaboration and participation by unbundling the process of creating information from its distribution. Since philanthropy is improved exponentially as more information is shared about which social-benefit efforts work—and which ones fail—this is a big moment for philanthropy.”
There are at least two ways that I see family philanthropy benefiting from testing these “googley” waters.
I’d like to open up this discussion to you. Whether or not you’re joining us in San Diego next week, what are your burning questions or thoughts you would like to ask Mr. Jarvis?
Please share them in comments below or if you’re on Twitter, tweet your questions using the hashtag #googphil. I’ll incorporate some of the questions and comments into the session.