For as much as I want help philanthropy become an accessible, mainstream norm and value – I’m still wrestling with the idea of a billionaire playboy turned vigilante philanthropist as our superhero for doing so. NBC’s June premiere of The Philanthropist is making my head spin.
From a foreign policy point of view, do we really need television show endorsing the Americans know best philosophy (i.e. we’ll come to your country with our own agenda) – even if it is for “good” causes? Do we really want America’s philanthropists thinking they can run into countries, bargain with drug dealers and dodge bullets – all in the name of saving the world? Maybe we do?
Philanthropy is a personal choice and journey. Are we through with philanthropy as a collaboration? Is this the beginning of the individual action being more effective, less bureaucratic, and quicker? I’m starting to think that we are okay with folks pursuing their own agendas up to a point – and perhaps this TV show will illuminate our cut-off.
I’m still working through my thoughts about the show. I’ll definitely have to watch and find out. Though if this is the sector’s break-out moment to the mainstream, I’m a little nervous that we’ll have more explaining to do – not less. However, if folks come away knowing what philanthropy is – and how to pronounce it, perhaps it will have all been worth it?