Blue-Chip Banks Collaborate on Airlifts to Darfur
Fascinating to read in the New York Times about how a group of blue-chip banks and hedge funds (BlueMountain Capital Management, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and PNC Financial) are working together to bring much-needed medical supplies to Darfur. There are a couple of reasons why this story is particularly interesting.
- Ugly issues and joint efforts are rare among this level of corporate givers. According to the Times:
Corporate philanthropy is often driven by the interests of your customers and desire to strengthen your reputation,” said Mark Kramer, managing director of FSG Social Impact Advisors, a nonprofit consulting firm that works with corporations. “It is rare to see them working on an area that is a tough, unpleasant issue and that is pretty far removed from their core customer base.”
- Divestment is the real issue. While the collaborative nature of Project Darfur may be cutting-edge by traditional standards, the real cutting-edge would be divestment in companies fueling the genocide. Which raises the question, is this charitable innovation or diversion?
I counter my own cynicism when I learn that the Darfur Project is part of Clinton's Global Initiative. For better or worse, Clinton can serve as my "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" for global philanthropy. How about you?