In my pursuit to better understand international philanthropy, someone posed the question to me, “Should western style philanthropy really be a world-wide model (the standard)?”  I don’t know how to fully answer and it is a question that keeps me thinking.

The U.S. has a robust philanthropic sector – partially because the U.S. government doesn’t provide certain services as government does in other countries (health insurance, education, etc) and private philanthropy has been an alternative ways of getting funding into these areas.  (Side note: The Chronicle of Philanthropy discussed this week what impact the next president will have on the non-profit sector – different outcomes depending upon the candidate selected. (”The Next President Will Have Strong Nonprofit Ties”).

It’s interesting to ponder how private philanthropy has grown in the U.S. as contrasted with other countries – what it looks like in Canada, why it has existed for hundreds of years in Japan, and the certain requirements it takes to qualify as Islamic.

As I think about philanthropy and growth of the sector, I ask myself whether there is a model that ‘should’ be the standard or whether it is more useful to think expansively when considering the philanthropic sector.

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