ARTICLES AND ESSAYS
"Will Venture Philanthropy Revolutionize the Arts?"
by Jane Culbert and Thomas Wolf
From the November 2001 MONOGRAPH, published by Americans for the Arts. A discussion of the trends affecting giving in the cultural sector and the associated lessons for local arts agencies.
A couple of years ago, a Silicon Valley CEO remarked in an interview for a cultural plan, "The nature of philanthropy has changed around here. We aren't Medicis dispensing patronage. Nor do we decide what organizations to support by chatting with our friends at a country club. We are a results-oriented group of donors and we have high expectations that our dollars will do some good."
If there is such a thing as the perfect "New Economy" philanthropic quote, this could be it. It bespeaks a changed attitude to the time-honored traditions of giving away money that might be put forth as a reflection of so-called "venture philanthropy." But is this Silicon Valley CEO truly representative of a new generation of givers? With such huge wealth accumulation among some younger donors in recent years, people are curious about whether and how the newly rich are reshaping philanthropy. This "new wealth" includes not only those who have benefited from the venture capital mode of business development but also others who are benefiting from the transfer of wealth from older to younger generations.
Are significant new trends indeed developing in philanthropy or are we witnessing an evolution that has been underway for decades? Are the new donors so different from their predecessors? In this Monograph, we will examine these questions. We will also consider how the trends are affecting giving in the cultural sector and the associated lessons for local arts agencies.