Tigers and Adventure Philanthropy

tiger.jpg If you really love something, like tigers that are disappearing from the planet at a dizzying pace, you could send a check to your favorite charity and call it a day. Or you could apply your connections, your business skills and your money to reverse the decline. That's the prototype for the "new philanthropist" embodied by Michael Cline.

The new issue of Worth features an article on Michael's efforts under the wonderful title, "Fearful Symmetry":

Cline believes philanthropists must take the long view, lest a project become sidetracked reacting to short-term crises. His donation is intended to be allocated as first-stage funding for the very specific work of tiger counting. He is also seeking support from other tiger philanthropists to make sure their funds are all being used toward the same goal. 'I am the catalyst for getting the money going."

The article makes clear that Michael is too busy to take time from his family and his role as founder of the private equity firm, Accretive Technology Partners, to make change happen. He could easily rest on kudos for his $5 million gift to the Wildlife Conservation Society. Read William Blake's, "The Tiger" to understand why he does it anyway:

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And, when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? What the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Susan Herr

Posted at 7:13 AM, Jan 12, 2007 in Environment | Global Philanthropy | Philanthropic Strategy | Permalink | Comments (1)


I love the use of Blake's great poem!


Posted by: Ryan Kipp