Thursday, June 11, 2009

Magic Money

"Bill Somerville thinks there's something drastically wrong with philanthropy today... [A]t Philanthropic Ventures Foundation..,Somerville guarantees an answer -- and a check -- within 48 hours...Somerville blasts foundations for behaving like lumbering elephants. They're passive, risk-adverse, and uncreative, he says."

April Dembosky, "The 48-Hour Yes or No," San Francisco, June 2009.

Yes, remarkable, unbelievable, tests the limits of undersanding, a cosmic breakthrough. No longer will philanthropists be able to say that "It's hard to give away money." And Bill seems to be having fun.

"Philanthropic Ventures gives away $5 million a year....A more typical example is the San Francisco Foundation, which gives away more than $21 million annually. Its average turnaround time has dropped from nine to four months."

I was at a gathering of philanthropists about a year ago at which Bill spoke. The theme of the convening was lessons learned. Bill wowed everyone with his approach. Then someone from the audience asked him whether, in his long career in and around philanthropy, he had ever made a mistake. He scratched his head and said, "Can't think of one."

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