In 2011, the top 50 philanthropists gave $10.4 billion to charitable causes. Warren Buffett gave $1.5 billion to the Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation in turn has given $650 million to the The Global Fund to Fight for AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. And the list of billionaires that gave millions of dollars to charity goes on and on. Sure, you texted $10 to the Japan Relief Effort and cut a $100 check to your local Little League (or at least I did), but that doesn't even make a blip on the giving radar dominated by the wealthy. So why bother? Can $10 really solve a massive global challenge much less build a baseball field?
Of course not. But dozens of people who give $10 can buy a kid a lap top or allow someone to complete their GED that will change their life.
While I am always impressed by how much Bill Gates gives, I am blown away by ordinary citizens that make it their mission to raise a couple thousand dollars to make a community project happen in their neighborhood. As a society, we have become obsessed with trying to solve large problems with a centralized, top down approaches. But the most powerful way we all can engage in changing the world is focusing on solving one doable project we care passionately about.
Citizen Effect is bringing this thinking to Philadelphia with Philly4Philly. We are identifying 150 community projects in Philadelphia that will have a real and important impact on communities in Philadelphia. Every project costs $1,000 to $10,000 and supports a credible local Philadelphia non-profit. And we connect each project to a passionate citizen that is willing and able to raise the money and ensure the project gets done.
So why Philadelphia? That's easy. Philadelphians love Philadelphia. (They don't call him the Philly Phanatic for nothing.). And, after 60 years of declining population, people are staying and coming back to Philadelphia. Philly pride is high and when pride his high, people want to get involved, rally their friends and do something positive for their home town.
We recently launched a similar effort in Detroit. And while Detroit and Philadelphia are very different cities, one thing is true in both -- passionate citizens have the power to be the change they want to see in their communities.
Would you like to change not just one life but dozens or even hundreds in Philadelphia through education, food justice, or even computer and Internet access? Would it change your idea of philanthropy to realize that, through the power of your own networks, you can achieve this in a few months time, assisted by an online fundraising page and the support of a dedicated Philly4Philly team? #JoinThe150 today!
Follow Dan P. Morrison on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dancitizen