A New Kind of Foundation

Philanthropy.  It means giving back, it means making social good happen, it means helping those in need.  But what else does it mean?  It means redistributing wealth in meaningful ways.  Philanthropy is, in its core, the effective distribution of wealth.  In the case of philanthropy, effectivity is measure by the amount of social good produced (how this social good is actually measured is a different beast to be covered at a later date…).  It’s like a business, except in a business effectivity is measured by the bottom line, and profits being brought in.  In the case of some foundations, the only bottom line they have to worry about is the returns they are getting on their investments.  And, that bottom line is only important because it provides the funds that are ultimately being given to various NGOs for social good programs.  So imagine the different mentality one could adopt knowing that, well, you didn’t have to make money!  Different ball game people.   

So then, if the bottom line isn’t so much a focus of foundations, and philanthropy, what is?  The answer to that is assets.  It is through assets that a foundation makes itself strong, productive and well-organized.  These assets include anything from financial to  human capital.  The combination of these assets also give a kind of fingerprint to a foundation, making each one slightly unique.  The kind of foundation that is of particular interest to me, because of its mixed asset quality, is an artists foundation, such as the Andy Warhol Foundation, or the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.  The key with these kinds of foundations is in the planning of that artists estate.  Who gets which part of the artists body of work?  Who is in charge of investing these artworks so they will constantly earn money?  Can an investment banker invest art using the same tactics they would use in a bank?  What is the role of the family of that artist that still lives?  Or, what if the artist is still alive?  There are a whole new set of questions that relate to outlining appropriate bourdaries, responsibilities and skill sets.  

Could an artists success through auction houses and international art trends become the source of the new starting capital for philanthropy tycoons?  Could there be some kind of combination of artistic production, art work circulation, art auction brokerage, and philanthropic-style wealth distribution that could carve a new niche for creating social good while simultaneously cultivating increased flow of art?

Check out this report…507 pages is a lot, but take a look.  41008517-Volume-1-The-Artist-as-Philanthropist-Strengthening-the-Next-Generation-of-Artist-Endowed-Foundations


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