A brilliant friend of mine read my earlier blog saying there is no such thing as philanthropy that works. She has been involved in philanthropy much of her life and asked me what could be done to have a positive philanthropy.
I suggest a mental construction. You are in the United States in 1800 with a large sum of money that you want to use to generate well-being for people in the future real-world. What could you do?
Only commerce can generate health, prosperity, freedom and personal well-being. How can you generate commerce in 1800 USA?
At that time the driving forces of commerce were international trade carried out by corporations formed in England and Holland. You could have supported a stock and bond market; a functioning American bank and a campaign to reduce American tariffs. But none of those would really have worked in the absence of an existing commercial environment. You would have been Alexander Hamilton; unappreicated to this day.
Today we have a commercial environment. What can be done to stimulate it?
A few years back I was impressed with a program called Junior achievement; it encourages schoolkids to start small businesses. That's an example of a desirable existing project.
We completely lack books, studies and monuments honoring the great commercial heroes of the last two centuries and the great innovators. That can be remedied with positive philanthropy.
We have many programs that encourage innovators today: makers faires, hackers conferences and a range of pro-commerce voluntary groups. These can be supported and organizers can be dispatched to create more.
The world of culture is completely lacking in stories about the creation of corporations and the positives of life within corporations and at the management level. Movies of this sort can be encouraged as well as film festivals on this subject.
There is yet to be a conference or ongoing focus on the history of commerce. That could be funded.
The field is wide open for charitable contributions that could promote a love of commerce. I encourage creating prizes simply for people who can come up with new ideas that are pro-commerce.