Fashion Statement

Town & Country’s June issue (available in print only) is all about philanthropy, including a piece about the etiquette of saying no to solicitations whose Miss Manners tone nearly conceals its bias against small gifts and toward giving more to fewer causes.  Query whether a bias against small gifts among the wealthy leads to under-use of individual contributions and over-reliance on grants at the nonprofits on whose Boards they serve.

Another feature in the same issue offers its seal of approval to a social entrepreneurial venture: "The charity is able to do such good work because of the freedom afforded by its for-profit business model, one that is self-sustaining and not reliant on donations."  But if one were profiling an actual charity (as opposed to a business in charity clothing), wouldn’t it be equally appropriate to write "The charity is able to do such good work because its resources aren’t diverted to profits but directed entirely to the needs of its clients"? 

Meanwhile, American Express is urging its card holders to propose an idea for improving the world, with the company promising to provide millions to fund the winner.  (N.B. nonprofit executives and Board members who happen to carry American Express cards–though you have to apply in your own rather than your organization’s name.)  This is AmEx’s current advertising campaign.

So apparently generosity is this season’s fashion statement.  Fine: on you it looks good.



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