Good Intentions Aren't Always Enough

orphans.jpg In the summer of 2005, Troy Wiseman took Zambia’s first lady on a tour of several institutions financed in that country by his charity, World Orphans, only to find that the institutions didn’t appear to exist. According to an article in Inc. Magazine (December 2005), in which that story is recounted:

Starting World Orphans didn't take Wiseman years. But getting to the point where the group actually was having an impact took more than a decade. In 1992, he was flush from selling his fashion label, BUM International. (He launched InvestLinc the same year.) Wanting to give back, Wiseman, his wife, and several others started a charity to establish Christian-oriented orphanages in developing countries. Funded chiefly by the founding partners, World Orphans opened two or three homes a year through 1998; by 2005, it was opening 100 new facilities a year.

After the events of 2005, Wiseman hired a seasoned philanthropist who uncovered wide-ranging inefficiencies as well as outright fraud. Fortunately, he didn't give up and the organization is now, supposedly, on an upswing. With all the positive press received by folks like Gates and Branson, it's great to see a cautionary tale or two about the fact that good intentions aren't necessarily enough.

Susan Herr

Posted at 1:02 AM, Dec 20, 2007 in Accountability | Global Philanthropy | High Net Worth Donors | Philanthropic Strategy | Permalink | Comment