Posted by The Happy Tutor
Some day we will breathe our last. Meanwhile, while we live, while we are among human beings, let us cultivate our humanity." Seneca.
Creating Social Capital for the Public Good
How do we come together to create social capital, and social movements for the public good? Some thoughts below, and a dream for WB.
I volunteer for a social venture partnership. (People contribute $5,000 a year, and give the money and time to local charities chosen by a social investment committee.) Learned a lot about human dynamics. On our education committee was a woman from a Brand Name family. Highly educated, wonderful taste in art, a patron of the museum, with a wing in her family name, a trustee on many boards, an irreverent wit, active in politics. She represents the best I have seen in the philanthropic world. Her suggestion was to create Events, that would be 50% social, and 50% educational. People would come, she said, to hear the speaker, but equally important they would come to network, to see and be seen. Her formula has worked beautifully. We have Events at museums, wealthy and famous people's homes, all very prestigious, and those events are a big success. When we have training or educational events for donors at places that are close to those in need, grubby community centers and the like, no one shows up, except representatives of the charities. Human nature. Philanthropy is indeed about giving, and having your gift returned many times over, but the real giving is very often lateral, around in a circle among the donors themselves, business cards, board positions, connections, deals. The charitable ante, like the cost of getting into a $1,000 a plate political fundraiser, creates cachet and limits attendance to "people of substance in every sense of that term." That is one elite world here is another.
George Plimpton, a generation ago, was asked about how he created such celebrated literary parties in NY and Paris. How did he get the rich, the powerful, and the famous to show up? His answer: "First, get the models."
A Third Place - The Role of Wealth Bondage in a Just Society
WB is a place where gifted and talented people from all walks of life are welcome, with or without money. Here you can come as yourself, or in a Mardi Gras mask. You can meet your own kind, without regard to power, wealth, or connections. If you have tons of money, and want to flaunt it, or are a bigshot in business, come as a Domme with a whip. Here we may play at dominance and submission, but we are all equals in the eyes of Top Management. (Please don't tell Candidia I said that.) Poets, philosophers, artists, theologians, programmers, technologists, social venture types, rich and poor, winners and losers, beautiful women of all genders -- everyone is welcome if they care about a better society by some definition of better.
No One Way Glass
Some Venture Philanthropy sites have come and gone on the premise of bringing funders and grant seekers together. The structure was repulsive to me, though I understand it. They would have two databases. One for funders; one for those seeking grants. The funders would all be able to see each other's records and contact each other, and network with each other. Likewise the grant-seekers could interact with other grant seekers. But, guess what? The grant-makers would sit behind smoked glass and see the grant-seekers records, but not the other way around. Every fiber of my democratic being finds that revolting. Beyond that, it is bad stategic planning. The real talent, the driving force, in a social venture, much less a social movement, may well be the grant-seeker, the dedicated do-er of real good, or the artist, the poet, the activist, not the funders, or the MBAs though their time, money, and professional expertise is, of course valuable, and they themselves may be driving forces as poets and prophets in their own right.
The best way to generate social capital and get it circulating is still the old way -- the salon. Bring people together in propria persona, or in Mardi Gras masks if they prefer, and have a party, where for once in our lives we are all equal, where no one basically gives a hoot whether you are rich or poor, as long as you can can dance, make conversation, create art, or whatever it is that is your gift.
Just a Party
All we have here is an online after hours party. I hope you get to know some interesting people, and have a good time. Beyond that, you are on your own. WB is not a business, we don't do deals, and we don't give advice, except to be careful about falling in love, because here things are not always what they seem. Be sure to ask about the models about their current gender before you lose your head or your heart.
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