It Takes a Village to Use a Philanthropy?

Well, if we have a good thing going, why try and change it up? As Susan and I have been noting, the philanthropy is more strategic (Editors note: Opinion!) donors invest in sustainable efforts that can continue long after the initial coffers have run dry. "Teach A Man to Fish" Philanthropy needs a snappier name, and Sustainable Philanthropy sounds boring, but we will come up with a good descriptive phrase here sooner or later.

We are going to have to re-build this economy at some point (I hope), and when we do it makes sense to try and rebuild it more inclusively across class and race lines then it currently is. Enter the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a group dedicated to expanding access to the Middle Class dream.

The founder of NFTE comes to the non-profit world from a business background, and that is reflected in the company’s model. The focus is on applicable life skills, but in using the business-focused ideas to grow a general interest in education. Making lessons applicable to kids own interests, and helping them grow to the point that they can pursue their own careers in what they want, builds a truly sustainable path to education.

Philanthropic giving can be focused on alleviating a single issue, like hunger, access to water, or curing a specific disease. Or, it can be dedicated to a more diffuse idea like improving the education in a community of people who haven’t been part of the education process previously.

The latter, for me, seems to be the sort of sustainable giving that makes sense. NFTE has the goal of helping individuals get a good education and get a chance at improving themselves. But they also value training people in good business practices, doing good things for the community.

Alan Smith

Posted at 9:07 PM, May 04, 2009 in Ethnic/Social Diversities | Permalink | Comments (1)



I received an alert about your article, on Philantromedia, and thought you may be interested in learning more about and perhaps collaborating in some way with Segue Career Mentors.

Our website is and see especially the link to Community Champions.

Segue's mission is to empower, inspire, and motivate students to explore, choose, and act on their life's path. In a nutshell, our 501(c)(3) cost-effectively provides a conduit, a bridge, connecting members of the workforce with local students' classrooms, and thereby inspires and motivates students to see how relevant is school and that it's in their own best interest to take responsibility for their lives by putting in more effort now. As career mentors, the speakers become living proof to students that long term goals are achievable while exposing them to the realities of life after high school. It gives them incentive not only to finish high school but to strive to earn a college degree or technical certificate. For students already on the college path, Segue helps solve the mystery about career options with real world content from those that have been there.


Jerry Beckerman
Executive Director

Posted by: Jerry Beckerman

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