Philanthropy Transformed: Emerging Change and Changes in Charities

by Wendy L. Schultz


Addressing the question “whither philanthropy” requires mapping “from whence philanthropy” before exploring emerging issues that could transform philanthropy, charity, and giving. This essay briefly sketches the roots of philanthropy in Western culture, and categorises the range of philanthropic activity that developed to the present. The issues that philanthropy has traditionally addressed are divided into acute (short-term) and chronic (ongoing) projects of amelioration, and acute and chronic projects of creativity. The essay then focusses on the key issue of emerging changes, and how they might impact three key components of philanthropy: philanthropic intent, philanthropic infrastructure, and the issues that philanthropic projects attempt to address. The final sections include a brief thought experiment exploring where emerging issues might take philanthropic activity in future, and suggestions as to possible points of leverage for immediate action.

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