The famed Silicon Valley is known as the hotspot of technological innovation, and the birthplace of some of the most groundbreaking pieces of technology the world has ever seen. Because of this, it is one of the wealthiest areas in the United States. With all this money, many of the city’s most affluent inventors, investors, and business leaders have devoted their time outside of work to an array of philanthropic efforts. However, with more money often comes more problems.
It may seem contrary to what millionaire philanthropists bring to the table, but larger donations in this sector stop being dispersed locally, and start going towards something they’ve started themselves. This directly translates to fewer funds given to nonprofits in the area. Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley typically want to remain as innovators in their respective fields, and be known for their accomplishments; somewhat of a selfish mindset despite their charitable efforts, which effectively drives nonprofits out of the Valley.
Nonprofits fighting to stay within the area are finding it increasingly difficult to work with these budding entrepreneurs, as the new face of philanthropy is unlike what they have worked with in the past. People want to be more hands on when they donate, which is especially true for the individuals who can afford to donate enormous sums of money. With these larger investment, wealthy entrepreneurs expect to see actual results in quick fashion. Rather than giving into the traditional model of “ending world hunger” which would obviously take decades, they’d rather “cure homelessness right now,” for example.
It is an admirable mindset to want to change the world for the better as quickly as possible, but it is not always realistic. When Silicon Valley’s philanthropists devote their attention to larger issues, those needing help in real time are often left in the dust. This usually results in tension between the two parties. Donors and nonprofits may have drastically different goals in terms of how they want to solve the problem at hand. For example, high-authority philanthropists tend to measure their success based on finance, capitalism, and power, weaning out winners and losers, whereas nonprofits stress the importance of morals and social responsibility.
It’s best for Silicon Valley philanthropists, and charitable individuals all over the world to learn from past mistakes. Donating large sums of money to organizations that have yet to figure out exactly why the issues they are attempting to tackle happen does not do much good. Those that want to help right now should communicate with a charity they feel passionate about, and seek to assist in fields that can truly make a difference rather than just sending checks blindly.