ListenLarger documents may require additional load time.
Entrepreneurial philanthropy: an exploratory review
Journal of Wealth Management. 17.3 (Winter 2014): p35+. From General OneFile.
Full Text: 

The American economist Milton Friedman argued that companies have no obligation to support charitable causes and should not divert profits to them (Friedman [1990]). Since the 1990s, however, an entrepreneurial mind-shift has taken place. A new generation of philanthropists has stepped forward: those who prefer to invest rather than to donate. For these so-called philanthropreneurs (1) financial gains are linked to philanthropic gains. They involve shaping innovations in business and market mechanisms, and addressing major civic and social issues. Their belief in giving back, their personal association with the cause, and the symbolic capital attached to this type of investment seem the main reasons to become involved. These idiosyncratic businessmen intend to fulfill an alternative source of funding, wishing to facilitate a larger cash flow to address various deeply entrenched problems of civil society. Although entrepreneurial philanthropy is not an equivalent of business administration, it inherently acts by judgment and faith in the pursuit of long-term goals. A philanthropreneur subsumes the traditional motivations for philanthropy, such as a concern for mankind, the creation of social capital, and the responsibility to give back, into a commercial strategy, which in itself is not without critics. The question arises whether non-profits can cope with this output-oriented approach. This review explores the concept of entrepreneurial philanthropy as a business activity as well as a personal, reflective process for benevolent human relations. It examines the nature of the phenomenon as a resurgence of engagement as well as its development up to its differentiated forms. But first, philanthropy will be examined.


Philanthropy is as old as mankind. Philanthropic groups existed in the ancient civilizations of the Middle East, Greece, and Rome. Plato's Academy defined Philanthropia as: "A state of well-educated habits stemming from love of humanity. A state of being productive of benefit to humans." In social history, philanthropy is referred to as 'charity,' a term that is still relevant today (Van Leeuwen [2000]). The word derives from the Latin 'caritas,' meaning unconditional love. Up until the Middle Ages churches and nobility were exclusively involved in philanthropy, but with the rise of cities and the bourgeoisie, wealthy merchants and tradesmen also entered the area of 'voluntary action for the public good' (Payton [1988]). In the 17th century, the emerging upperclass fashion for benevolence resulted in the incorporation of the first charitable organizations. They all offered help of some kind to the poor, the sick, the elderly, the homeless, the widows, and the orphans. These actions were driven by a wide range of motives from Christian duty to fear (de Swaan [1988]). Philanthropy is, in the first instance, concerned with providing financial support to individuals or groups that are having difficulties in meeting basic human needs such as food, care, and shelter. Modern philanthropy developed during the 17th century and differs from 'classic philanthropy' in the way in which it goes beyond poor relief, welfare, and education. It encompasses a broad spectrum of public causes, including culture, health care, research, and natural preservation (Schuyt [2010]).

In the period of industrialization, philanthropic involvement seems to be greater in prosperous times than in economically harsh times (van de Donk [2001]). Arguably, it is not poverty itself that drives philanthropy, but inequality. Wealth provides the means to meet the needs of the poor, but there is--and was--also a political catalyst to persuade the rich to act. While ethical concern plays a key role, it often comes from pressure from below (Bishop and Green [2009]). In the late 19th century, entrepreneurs in the western world involved in philanthropic endeavours received bad press; philanthropy was associated with paternalism, nannying, and arbitrary favoritism. Around 1900, roughly half of all entrepreneurs offered their employees some form of illness or old-age insurance. However, these schemes were frequently without obligation. It was money spent without anything gained in exchange (Fox Piven and Cloward [1971]). During the Great Depression of the 1920s, much of the charitable work that had been built up in the years before was rejected, resulting in the negative image of entrepreneurs and their companies engaging in philanthropic endeavours which lasted until the middle of the 20th century.

The 20th century gave rise to the growing influence of democratic parliaments, supported by pressure of the labour movement and the wish to create social rest by the leading elites. These factors all resulted in the developments of welfare states in western European countries (Mishra [2000]). The 1960s and 1970s saw an increasing state intervention, which meant that nonprofit organizations became subsidiary to laws, rules, and regulations. The government would frequently procure the financial means enabling it to wield influence, rendering organizations in the societal midfield entirely dependent on government financing and making them de facto extension of the government. The period was marked by a decrease in active participation by civilians and companies. The state took on the responsibility for matters relating to poverty, social security, health care, and education (Sluyterman [2012]). Philanthropy did not vanish from the scene, but it was sidelined by the expansion of the welfare state (Schuyt [2013]). Since the financial limitations of the welfare state have been reached, deregulation and cutbacks in social provision are prompting entrepreneurs to contribute to discussions regarding the nature of philanthropy and the role that they could play in the process (Shaw et al. [2013]).

Modern philanthropy became more active within the public domain, the bespoke territory of governments and government policies in European welfare states. It is manifested in good deeds toward others: a way to self-development and to living a fulfilling and satisfying life. Among rich benefactors, philanthropy became a widespread cultural practice (Bremner [1994]). This demand for philanthropy is a product, at different times, of demographic change, economic transformation, or government policy (Bishop and Green [2009]). A variety of philanthropic initiatives were enabled through wealth, entrepreneurial spirit, and civic pride. Good citizenship was defined in the industrialized world in the 20th century. As a consequence, more business-oriented giving occurs, with commitment from both donors and recipients (Sulek [2010]).


At the end of the 20th century, modern philanthropy has made a comeback around the industrialized world. What factors may explain the 'revival' of philanthropy? First, there is an economic explanation. The western world has untold wealth, albeit unevenly distributed. The generation after World War II has become rich and they are transferring their money to the next generation now. Growing wealth, in general, is an important prerequisite for philanthropy (Giving USA [2013]). Economists at the Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy have worked out how much capital will be transferred between generations in the United States in the next fifty years. The lowest estimate is 41 trillion dollars; the highest is 136 trillion dollars (Havens and Schervish [2003]). They also anticipate that the testators will have enough sense not to leave everything to their successors or to the state: in many cases their children are already well off and the tax benefits and other advantages of donating to 'good causes' are plentiful (Havens and Schervish [1999]).

In the Netherlands, it was estimated to grow from 5,000 bequests in 2009 with a total value of 496 million euros to a cumulative transfer of 86 billion euros in assets to charities by the year 2059 (Bekkers [2013]). In addition, the demographic explanation matters. In many 'post WW II wealthy generation countries,' the number of older people is increasing rapidly. At the same time, families are smaller. There is more left for less and coming of age itself increases generosity. Age turns out to be an important predictor for giving behavior (Giving in the Netherlands [2013]; Midlarsky and Kahana [1994]). A third explanation is a socio-cultural-political one. The awareness of citizenship in industrialized societies, the trend of 'Do It Yourself' (DIY), triggered by higher educational levels, the feeling of self-reliance related to a sense of interdependency in a global world (an awareness of nearness, evoked by frequent travelling and online communication). This development creates new forms of 'global citizen', moving front geographic to network communities, of which philanthropy is inextricably a part (Schuyt et al. [2010]).

On both sides of the Atlantic, there are signs that a new kind of donor is emerging, with a new approach to giving. The crucial combination of increasing wealth and an aging population will inevitably lead to more gifts from the living and more bequests from the dead. For the first time in history, a growing group of people have more money than they want to leave to the next generation. This may explain the phrase 'the Golden Age of Philanthropy' (Havens and Schervish [2006]) in which the supply-side expansion in wealth will be accompanied by a demand-side surge resulting from growing social need. The demand for philanthropy is the product of demographic change, economic transformation, and government policy (Schuyt [2001]). All of this suggests that the money flowing to non-profit organizations will quite possibly rise as a share of the economy. They may benefit in this Golden Age to an unprecedented extent.


The 1980s marked a turning point from an economic point of view, with entrepreneurs becoming more aware of their obligations and social responsibility seeing a boom (Steins Bisschop [2004]). They are no longer content to justify their giving on the basis that they will receive a general, unspecified benefit from a grateful society at some time in the future. They view their giving as a form of investment, and they require a concrete, measurable return from their philanthropic activity (John [2006]). This development, combined with the deconstruction of the welfare state, was coupled with a growing demand for public services to be carried out by the philanthropic sector. Allowing more market mechanisms and competition--combined with the primacy of politics--gave rise to the current 'state versus market' mind-set. However, following the free market euphoria of the nineties, the first decade of the 21st century has brought to light the darker side of the corporate approach and the privatization of social security. This development has, in part, impelled the business community to recognize the classical values of corporate and free market ethical standards (Trevino and Brown [2004]).

In the meantime, a shift has taken place in society regarding the core objectives of the welfare state: from protection and compensation to participation, empowerment, and independence (Schuyt [2013]). Even more services and competences currently still funded and executed in the public domain are slowly being relinquished to the market, where the allocation of these resources is to become increasingly important (Anheier [2005]). Invariably, a distinction is made between fundraising (or financing) and the achievement of their objectives. In recent generations, philanthropy has become significantly more sophisticated, as a whole industry of financial advisors developed and non-profits worked more intentionally with donors and prospective donors to make the most of their philanthropic giving. All innovations add up to what Paul Schervish (Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy) calls the 'new physics of today's philanthropy,' incorporating not just money, but also motives and the decision-making process on the part of businesses. He sees more commitment from entrepreneurs to social goals and the non-profits that shape and achieve them. The result is a more commercial kind of giving, which taps into a long history of innovation, change, and institutional transformation that has defined the culture of entrepreneurial thinking (Schervish [2002]).

Bugg-Levine and Emerson [2011] state that usage of market concepts within the existing philanthropic approaches may offer an alternative to carry out beneficial activities for 'unprofitable' elements in society. Entrepreneurs should be able to contribute substantially to charity due to the size of their companies and financial prowess. Issues such as venture philanthropy (2) and impact investing, (3) were put on the agenda of the philanthropy sector, combined with a plea for a heightened sense of awareness of the necessity of a revitalised civil society.

These topics, however, do not constitute a coherent, easily defined operating model or strategic approach for non-profit organizations. They are an expression of a more purpose-, result-, and responsibility-driven worldview. It incorporates a diverse set of principles aimed at increasing the reach, scale, and social benefit of the resources of both non-profit organizations and social enterprises (Maretich and Bolton [2010]). So far it has shown that it includes a high engagement relationship, with strategic funding choices based on research and evidence building. The appearance of venture philanthropy and impact investing represents a programmatic rather than a single-project approach, with predefined objectives and a constant focus on quantifiable results (Hummels [2009]). The provision of capital can be seen as the beginning rather than the end of the story. This implies a new approach, different from agendas of current philanthropy, state policies, and market actors that are seen as driven by short-term objectives and visions (McGregor-Lowndes and O'Halloran [2010]).

Benefits are to be gained by managing the impact and integrating it into the organizational strategy, intending to help to make better social, environmental, and economic decisions. In doing so, impact measurement gives the ability to engage with stakeholders to attract investments and improve the way of doing business (Gibbon and Dey [2011]). Herewith non-profit organizations appear in a dynamic force field, emanating from the various entrepreneurial stakeholders (John [2007]). In conjunction with a more efficient state, it would be able to bring about the economic impetus necessary to guarantee a robust free market. A state retreating from the public domain requires a high level of social capital within society (Etzioni [1990]). In that scenario, entrepreneurial philanthropy seems less dependent on whether a problem is public or private, social or commercial, economic, or political. Rather, designs consider the ability to reach the previously unreachable, raise funds from untapped sources, and leverage social networks, all conditions that fuel new markets for solving societal problems. The civil society might be able to contribute to a rebirth of the market (Bekkers [2013]).


Before we can demarcate the philanthropreneur with his aim to increase the philanthropic impact of a non-profit organization, there is a need first to determine a definition of the entrepreneur. This in itself is a difficult task, as there is yet not a generally accepted one. Being an entrepreneur can be associated with starting a business, but this is a very loose application of a term that has a rich history and a much more significant meaning. The term came to be used by Joseph Schumpeter in the early 20th century, to identify venturesome individuals who stimulated economic progress by finding new and better ways of doing things; entrepreneurs create value (Schumpeter [1963]). Among the many definitions engaged in this area, Stevenson defined it as 'The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity' (Stevenson [1985]). Herewith, emphasis is placed on how an opportunity can be recognized, the process of committing to an opportunity, gaining control over the resources, managing the network, and the way in which participants are rewarded. Key to this entrepreneurial behavior lies in achievement motivation (McClelland [1961]). The need to achieve is a drive to excel, to achieve a goal in relation to a set of standards. In that respect, entrepreneurs will act and think in a rational way, with selfish interest as the basis for either their economic and/or philanthropic action. By accomplishing these selfish interests, they will exhibit their highest principles and values (Avolio and Locke [2002]).

The critical distinction between the entrepreneur and philanthropreneur might he in their value attribution. For the entrepreneur, the value attribution is organized to serve markets that can afford their products or services, and is thus designed to create financial profit. The expectation is that the entrepreneur will derive personal financial gains. Profit is essential to business sustainability and the means to its ultimate end in the form of large-scale market adoption (Dimov [2007]). The philanthropreneur, however, aims for value in the form of large-scale, transformational benefits that address problems in society. Unlike the entrepreneurial value attribution that assumes a market that can pay for the innovation and may even provide substantial upside for investors, the philanthropreneur's value attribution targets an underserved, neglected, and disadvantaged population that lacks the financial means, network, or knowledge to achieve a transformative benefit on its own. This does not mean they will shun their profit-making value propositions. They can be understood as concerned businesspeople who target the suffering of a segment of humanity and who aim for the establishment of a new stable equilibrium that secures permanent benefit for the targeted group and civil society at large (Schwab and Hartigan [2006]).

The motivations of entrepreneurial philanthropy can be affected by internal or external sources, and therefore the balance can vary, depending on the set of barriers and motivators established. Internal sources are primarily ideological and can have a negative or positive effect on giving behavior. External sources include the dynamics of various social groups, experiences from the interaction of these groups, social and political processes, economic changes, and philanthropic messages. The comparison in Exhibit 1 is based on teachings from: 'Entrepreneurs & Philanthropy: Investing in the Future' (Ernst & Young & The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund [2010]) and 'Snapshot: Trends and Strategies to Engage Employees in Greater Giving' (America's Charities [2014]), with the 'Hierarchy of Needs Theory' (Maslow [1943]). According to humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow, human actions are directed toward goal attainment in order to achieve certain needs. Any given behavior could satisfy several functions. This hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs. The findings observed in the research are compared with the Maslow Pyramid and lead to the following preliminary motivations of entrepreneurial philanthropy.

The motivations of entrepreneurial philanthropy are always personal and defy easy generalization (Porter [2006]). However, philanthropy seems tied to one's social-psychological process of personal identification. It has shown that it is not the absence of self-awareness that motivates charitable investing, but the presence of self-identification with others (Schervish et al. [1998]). A person's social networks, identification with the cause, and association in the affected community are more important factors in determining the level of giving than the amount of capital available. Schervish et al. found that 'Entrepreneurial donors contribute most of their charitable dollars to causes from whose services they directly benefit. The largest portion of charitable investing and volunteering takes place in one's own community. It is not by coincidence that schools, health, and arts organizations, and (especially) churches attract so much giving.' The basis for the philanthropreneur is in large part a function of the mix and intensity of the network of formal and informal associations both within and beyond one's community. These communities provide 'symbolic capital' that accumulates from the fulfilment of social obligations, which seems embedded with the potential prestige of entrepreneurial philanthropy (Porter and Kramer [2002]).

Much as with the accumulation of financial capital, symbolic capital is rational; it can be converted into leveraging advantage within social spheres (Mauss [2006]). Yet unlike financial capital, symbolic capital is not boundless, and its value may be limited or magnified by the historical context in which it was accumulated. Symbolic capital gains value at the cross-section of class and status, where one must not only possess, but also be able to appropriate objects with a perceived or concrete sense of value (Bourdieu [1984]). For the philanthropreneur, symbolic capital may be indicated by reputation, networks, prestige, honors, and the perceptions of others. A distinguishing feature of symbolic capital is that, for the most part, it cannot be purchased or given. Rather, symbolic forms of capital are intangible and can provide them with power and influence which, in turn, can attract others in possession of similar amounts and types of symbolic capital as well as those who wish to be associated. If there is no symbolic capital, it will be nearly impossible to gain access to networks or to convince potential non-profits of the benefits of the purchase (Shaw et al. [2010]). Entrepreneurial philanthropy seems to be changing to embrace the broader aspects of engagement and might provide opportunities to learn about, interact, and connect with non-profits.


From a civil society point of view, entrepreneurial philanthropy can be characterized as a capitalistic approach to resolving matters within the philanthropic domain. It makes non-profits shift from input to output focus, therefore their strategic framing is moving from grants towards more targeted investment. Their scale of intervention will be broadened to work at the level of start-up enterprises and market stimulation (Oehri et al. [2014]). It would be a mistake to suppose that implementing commercial principles would be detrimental from the outset. And yet, given its relative early stage and the capital available, the entrepreneurial philanthropic landscape is likely to evolve in the coming years. The potential to leverage the philanthropic (risk) capital is considerable, but probably becomes far greater when economies of scale and the timely sharing of learning for continuous improvement are achieved. It seems that the degree of path dependency, the mechanism that connects the past and the future in an abstract way, appears to be limited and driven by mind-sets and mental models, which are often difficult to counteract in their effects on analysis and decision-making processes (Vergne and Durand [2010]). The reason for this choice of wording is that although the expected positive feedback effects of entrepreneurial philanthropy may come with increasing financial and social returns, they need not do so. Such effects are also possible with decreasing returns, which are not to be confused with negative feedback. Even with decreasing returns, there might still be an increase of entrepreneurial philanthropy as a business activity. The diversity and complexity associated with them seems to be increasing and the final results are dependent on the way in which both philanthropreneurs and non-profit organizations will respond to this 21st-century concept of philanthropy.

Exhibit 2 below (elaborated on a concept of the European Venture Philanthropy Association [2010]) provides an insight of the organizational structure and the interactional positioning of entrepreneurial philanthropy.

An organization that is primarily dependent on donations, grants, or sponsorship is a non-profit organization, rather than a social enterprise or traditional company. Non-profits are organizations whose objective is not to achieve 'positive outcomes' through offering services, but rather that have been created for social, cultural, educational, or philanthropic purposes (Bailin [2003]). They are financed by funds from members, clients, benefactors, or by private funds (Herremans and Mentink [2009]). Philanthropreneurs do not see themselves as simply disposing of surplus funds, but rather as actively investing their resources (money, know-how, time, social connections, reputation, and prestige) in non-profit organizations that promise social rates of return. They are, in other words, powerful social actors engaged in the business of world making which is conceived, following Creed et al. [2002] as 'the embedded ways in which agents relate to and shape systems of meaning and mobilize collective action to change social arrangements' (Creed et al. [2002]). In recognizing that power is fundamental to both fortune-making and philanthropy and that the two are inextricably linked, it is a small step towards understanding the true nature of entrepreneurial philanthropy, as a world-making process through which already successful entrepreneurs use their power to accumulate more power, extend their social and political influence, and increase their capacity to shape society according to their ideas. What may distinguish the most successful from the least successful is their capacity to learn, acceptance of changeability, and mastery of the ongoing processes of industrial, organizational, and personal transformation, which require them to seize opportunities, fixing incrementally upon possibilities, rather than what is present now (Cope [2005]).

The business approach of entrepreneurs in civil society, combined with the motivational drivers, characterize the determinants of entrepreneurial philanthropy (Exhibit 3).

Based on the factors mentioned above, the concept of entrepreneurial philanthropy can preliminarily be defined as: The search of entrepreneurs to solve societal problems, by increasing the measured philanthropic impact of connected non-profit organisations, through a tailored investment of their economic assets, acquiring, on a not-for-profit basis, symbolic capital.

The emphasis lies on how a philanthropic opportunity can be recognized and how the involvement (money, know-how, time, social network, reputation, and prestige) of the entrepreneur can be used for a measured improvement. It provides a blend of performance-based financial and professional services to nonprofit organizations, which might help them to expand their treasured philanthropic change. Also the amount of prestige, the symbolic capital, a philanthropreneur receives from investing in non-profit organizations will play a role within the set of motivations. As a method, it wants to envision a society in which justice, sustainability, and a sense of community are in fact commonplace. This definition of entrepreneurial philanthropy resonates with the labels used in recent years to describe entrepreneurs who bring to philanthropy more than just money: Venture Philanthropy (Letts et al. [1997]); Porter and Kramer [1999]), Impact Investing (Bugg-Levine and Emerson [2011]), Strategic Philanthropy (Sandfort [2008]), Enterprising Philanthropy (Dees [2008]), Marketised Philanthropy (Nickel and Eikenberry [2009]), Social Venturing Entrepreneurship (Kievit [2011]), and Philanthrocapitalism (Bishop and Green [2009]).

Although the phenomenon of entrepreneurial philanthropy is not without critics (Jenkins [2011] and Nickel and Eikenberry [2009]), it could evolve in coming years, to become an emerging player with the challenge of offering innovative financial solutions. Nonprofit organizations are increasingly interested in this approach as a complementary tool in their philanthropy toolbox, but also seem to recognize a lack of internal capacity, particularly with regard to the appropriate skills needed to operate on the same level (Moody [2008]). It seems vital that they learn to speak the entrepreneurial lingo and reorganize their organizations accordingly.


Gerry Jenkins's 'Who's Afraid of Philanthrocapitalism?' [2011] suggests the birth of a new generation of philanthropreneurs. Contrary to their predecessors, whose work centered on charity and generosity, this new generation appears to have a stronger business persuasion, which might result in a more results-driven approach to the classical institution of charity (Moody [2008]). The third sector and its acting organizations respond accordingly; they manage their philanthropic projects more professionally than has been done previously and they pay particular attention to the impact on the mid to long-term, in addition to short-term gains (Kievit [2011]). The process of transition from a donor or grant-distributing model to a business-based model takes time and is an inward-looking process, where nonprofits and their leadership chart the desired direction and evaluate what their success would look like and how to measure it (van der Heyden and van der Rijt [2004]). Criteria such as profitability and actual, quantifiable impact are maintained as stringent requirements for the granting of support. This entails applying predetermined standards to invested philanthropic capital, with a client setting requirements and projects run by non-profit organizations being evaluated according to effectiveness and efficiency.

An unrehearsed side effect of this type of philanthropy is the development of adequate impact-measurement instruments for traditionally 'soft' sectors, which has come into the limelight (Bishop and Green [2009]). The attention to impact studies of the various civil society projects is key to every philanthropreneur (Nicholls [2009]). This results in the creation of an independent kind of non-profit market economy, which determines what ideas are viable and which are not (Letts and Ryan [2003]). On the demand side, we have the non-profit organizations. Despite their familiarity with donations, grants, and sponsoring, up to this point they have not encountered benefactors who have attached many conditions to their funds and certainly have never required them to pay back the money--with or without interest.

It is expected that non-profit organizations will need to develop certain strategic navigation skills in order to seamlessly align the interests and considerations of the philanthropreneurs with the course they have set out in order to achieve their own goals. A proper understanding of the corporate mind-set on long-term development issues seems key. However, as in any case where money is the lingua franca, it is only a matter of time until social and economic disaster strikes (de Swaan [2008]; Achterhuis [2010]). All projects run by non-profit organizations are intended to bring about change in society. This change depends on the impact of the interaction between the values and interests of people and organizations (Dekker and Burger [2001]). Although this is a time-consuming process, it does eventually enhance the necessary understanding between the relevant stakeholders, resulting in a greater chance of success. The differing interests and opinions concerning this business approach may easily result in conflicting views and may be a source of strategic confusion within non-profit organizations (Hummels [2009]). This seems to be why the quality and depth of the relationships with these stakeholders are among the most critical success factors for its future growth (Mouwen [2004] Rubin [2009]). The motivations range from moral obligation to new notions of public accountability, or even to shareholder value.


Entrepreneurial philanthropy imposes a robust business approach that can be a culture shock to nonprofits (Moody [2008]). The capabilities required to successfully achieve the transformation may be only partially present or missing entirely in the non-profit organization at the outset. The inclusion of more commercial and enterprise strategies in its portfolio may raise cultural, ideological as well as institutional or organizational concerns (Friedman [1970]; Carson [1999]). An honest appraisal of the current 'state of play' to identify strengths to leverage and barriers to overcome before embarking on adopting the model is a prerequisite in deciding if it is suitable and choosing where to start. Critics point to principles of the commercial sector such as return on investment and measurable outcomes that lack applicability to non-profit organizations. Consequently, there is a risk that these non-profit organizations might no longer focus primarily on their societal mission, but could become susceptible to the investments, and corresponding demands of the philanthropreneur (Peredo and Maclean [2006]).

Numerous philanthropy grantees interviewed by Moody report supporter attitudes, ranging from confidence to arrogance in vowing to 'fix' what they deem 'dysfunctional' (Moody [2008]). This perceived dysfunction often includes the non-profit organizational culture and the approach to management. Letts and Ryan propose that the most effective funders regularly engage a non-profit's executive leadership and board in the process of discussing substantive performance (Letts and Ryan [2003]). This inclusive engagement helps to empower boards to be more effective in assessing, monitoring, and supporting accountability. To bridge the knowledge and cultural gap between non-profits and philanthropreneurs, it cites some of the challenges for non-profits in trusting that business processes will serve them well. Further research is needed to explore the ideal match between non-profit organizations and philanthropreneurs and to describe potential frictions that may occur. It promises to be a complex, but stimulating next step.


Achterhuis, H. De utopie van de vrije markt. Amsterdam: Lemniscaat, 2010.

Anheier, H.K. "Nonprofit Organizations: Theory, Management and Policy." New York: Routledge, Taylor and Frances Group, 2005.

Avolio, B.J., and E.E. Locke. "Contrasting Different Philosophies of Leader Motivation: Altruism versus Egoism." The Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 13, No. 2 (2002), pp. 169-191.

Bailin, M.A. "Requisitioning, Reimagining, and Retooling Philanthropy." Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 4 (2003), pp. 635-642.

Bekkers, R.H.F.P. De maatschappelijke betekenis vanfilantropie. Oratie, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 2013.

Bekkers, R.H.F.P. "De Gouden Eeuw van de Filantropie: 86 [euro] miljard tot 2059." 2013.

Bishop, M., and M. Green. "Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World." New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2009.

Bourdieu, P. "Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste." Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984.

Bremner, R.H. "Giving: Charity and Philanthropy in History." New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1994.

Bugg-Levine, A., and j. Emerson. "Impact Investing: Transforming How We Make Money While Making a Difference." Innovations, Vol. 6, No. 3 (2011), pp. 9-18.

Carson, E.D. "The Roles of Indigenous and Institutional Philanthropy in Advancing Social Justice." In Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector in a Changing America. C. Clotfelter and T. Ehrlich (Eds.), Indiana University Press (1999), pp. 248-274.

Cope, J. "Towards a Dynamic Learning Perspective of Entrepreneurship." Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 29, No. 4 (2005), pp. 373-397.

Creed, W.E., M.A. Scully, andJ.R. Austin. "Clothes Make the Person? The Tailoring of Legitimating Accounts and the Social Construction of Identity." Organization Science, Vol. 13, No. 5 (2002), pp. 475-496.

Dees, G. "Philanthropy and Enterprise: Harnessing the Power of Business and Social Entrepreneurship for Development." In Global Development 2.0: Can Philanthropists, the Public and the Poor Make Poverty History?. L. Brainard and D. Chollet (eds). New York: Brookings Institution, 2008.

Dekker, R, and A. Burger. "Het Middenveld in Comparatief Perspectief: Non-Profitsector en Civil Society." Bestuurskunde, Vol. 10, No. 1 (2001), pp. 16-25.

Dimov, D. "Beyond the Single-Person, Single-Insight Attribution in Understanding Entrepreneurial Opportunities." Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 31, No. 5 (2007), pp. 713-731.

Donk, W.B.H.J. van de. De gedragen gemeenschap. Over katholiek maatschappelijk organiseren, de ontzuiling voorbij. Den Haag: Sdu Uitgevers, 2001.

Etzioni, A. "The Moral Dimension: Toward A New Economics." New York: Free Press, 1990.

Fox Piven, F., and R.A. Cloward. "Regulating the Poor. The Functions of Public Welfare." New York: Random House Inc., 1971.

Friedman, M. "The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits." New York Times Magazine, Vol. 32-33, (September 13, 1970), pp. 122-124.

Friedman, M., and R.D. Friedman. "Free to Choose, A Personal Statement." San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990.

Gibbon, J., and C. Dey. "Developments in Social Impact Measurement in the Third Sector: Scaling Up or Dumbing Down?" Social and Environmental Accountability Journal, 31 (2011), pp. 63-72.

Giving USA. "The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2012." Chicago: Giving USA Foundation, 2013.

Havens, J.J., and P.G. Schervish. "Millionaires and the Millennium: New Estimates of the Forthcoming Wealth Transfer and the Prospects for a Golden Age of Philanthropy." (Research Report) Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College, Social Welfare Research Institute, 1999.

--. "Why the $41 Trillion Wealth Transfer Estimate is Still Valid: A Review of Challenges and Questions ."Journal of Gift Planning, Vol. 7, No. 1 (2003), pp. 11-15; 47-50.

--. "A Golden Age of Philanthropy? The Impact of the Great Wealth Transfer on Greater Boston." (Research Report) The Boston Foundation, 2006.

Herremans, A.H.H.M., and t.A.M. Mentink. Verslaggeving van organisaties zonder winstoogmerk: een normatief raamwerk. Deventer: Kluwer, 2009.

Heyden, C. van der, and G. van der Rijt. "Societal Marketing and Philanthropy in Dutch Companies." Journal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing, Vol. 12, No. 1 (2004), pp. 23-36.

Hummels, H. Een aandeel in maatschappelijke ontwikkeling. Assen: Koninklijke Van Gorcum, 2009.

Jenkins, G. "Who's Afraid of Philanthrocapitalism?" Case Western Reserve Law Review, Vol. 61, No. 3, (2011) pp. 1-73.

John, R. "Venture Philanthropy: The Evolution of High Engagement Philanthropy in Europe." Oxford University, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, 2006.

John R. "Beyond the Cheque: How Venture Philanthropists Add Value." Oxford University, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, 2007.

Kievit, H. "Social Venturing Entrepreneurship." Assen, Koninklijke Van Gorcum, 2011.

Leeuwen, M.H.D. van. "The Logic of Charity. Amsterdam 1800-1850." New York: St. Martin's Press Inc., 2000.

Letts, C.W., W.P. Ryan, and A. Grossman. "Virtuous Capital: What Foundations Can Learn from Venture Capitalists." Harvard Business Review, Vol. 75, No. 2, (1997), pp. 36-44.

Letts, C.W., W.P. Ryan. "Filling the Performance Gap. High-Engagement Philanthropy. What Grantees Say About Power, Performance and Money." Stanford Social Innovation Review 1.1, (2003), pp. 26-33.

McClelland, D. "The Achieving Society." Princeton, New Jersey, Van Nostrand Company, 1961.

Mauss, M. "Techniques Technology and Civilization." New York: Berghahn Books, 2006.

Maretich, M., andM. Bolton. "Social Enterprise: From Definition to Developments in Practice." Brussels: EVPA Knowledge Research Center, 2010.

McGregor-Lowndes, M., and K. O'Halloran, eds. Modernizing Charity Law: Recent Developments and Future Directions. Cheltenham, U.K.; Elgar, 2010.

Midlarsky, E., and E. Kahana. "Altruism in Later Life." Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, 1994.

Mishra, R. "Globalization and the Welfare State." Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2000.

Moody, M. "Building a Culture: The Construction and Evolution of Venture Philanthropy as a New Organizational Field." Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 2 (2008), pp. 324-352.

Mouwen, C.A.M. Strategische planning voor de moderen non-profit organisatie. Assen: Koninklijke Van Gorcum, 2004.

Nicholls, A. "We Do Good Things, Don't We?: 'Blended Value Accounting' in Social Entrepreneurship." Science Direct: Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 34, No. 6-7 (2009), pp. 755-769.

Nickel P.M., and A.M. Eikenberry. "A Critique of the Discourse ofMarketized Philanthropy." American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 52, No. 7, (2009), pp. 974-989.

Oehri, O., C. Dreher C., and C. Jochum. "Fundamentals of Modern Philanthropy--New Perspectives for Foundations." Vaduz: CSSP, 2014.

Payton, R.L. "Philanthropy: Voluntary Action for the Public Good." Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1988.

Peredo, A.M., and M. McLean. "Social Entrepreneurship: A Critical Review of the Concept." Philadelphia: Journal of World Business, Vol. 41, No. 1, (2006), pp. 56-65.

Porter, M.E., and M.R. Kramer. "Philanthropy's New Agenda: Creating Value." Harvard Business Review, Vol. 77, No. 6 (1999), pp. 121-130.

--. "The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy." Harvard Business Review, Vol. 80, No. 12 (2002), pp. 56-68.

Porter, M.E. "The Business of Giving." The Economist, February 25, 2006.

Rubin, J.S. "Developmental Venture Capital: Conceptualizing the Field." Venture Capital: An International Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance, Vol. 11, No. 4 (2009), pp. 335-360.

Sandfort, J. "Using Lessons from Public Affairs to Inform Strategic Philanthropy." Non-Profit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 3 (2008), pp. 537-552.

Schervish, P.G., P.E. Coutsoukis, and J.J. Havens. "Social Participation and Charitable Giving Revisited: Replication of a Multivariate Analysis." Paper presented at the meeting of the Association for Research on Non-profit Organizations and Voluntary Associations, Seattle, (November 1998).

Schervish, P.G. "The New Physics of Philanthropy. The Supply Site Vectors of Charitable Giving--Part 2: The Spiritual Side of the Supply Side." CASE International Journal of Educational Advancement, Vol. 2, No. 2 (2002), pp. 221-241.

Schumpeter, J. A. "The Theory of Economic Development." New York: Oxford University Press, 1963.

Schuyt, C.J.M. "Noden en Wensen: De Verzorgingsstaat Gezien Als Een Historisch Fenomeen." Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam, June 24, 2013.

Schuyt, T.N.M. De filantropische sector en 'Philanthropic Studies' in Nederland. Wetenschappelijke belangstelling voor een maatschappelijke sector in wording. Houten: Bohn Stafleu van Loghum, 2001.

--. "Philanthropy in European Welfare States: A Challenging Promise?" International Review of the Administrative Sciences, Vol. 76, No. 4 (2010), pp. 774-789.

--. "Philanthropy and the Philanthropy Sector: An Introduction." Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2013.

Schuyt, T.N.M., R.H.F.P. Bekkers, andj. Smit. "The Philanthropy Scale: A Sociological Perspective in Measuring New Forms of Pro Social Behavior." Social Work and Society, Vol. 8 No. 1, (2010) pp. 121-135.

Steins Bisschop, B.T.M. "Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Ondernemen En Het Ondernemingsrecht." Den Haag: Sdu Uitgevers, 2004.

Schwab, K., and P. Hartigan. "Social Innovators with a Business Case, Facing 21st Century Challenges One Market at a Time." Innovations, Vol. 1, No. 4 (2006), pp. 7-11.

Shaw, E., J. Gordon, C. Harvey, and K. Henderson. "Entrepreneurial Philanthropy: Theoretical Antecedents and Empirical Analysis of Economic, Social, Cultural and Symbolic Capital." Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, Vol. 30, No. 7 (2010), art. 6.

Shaw, E., J. Gordon, C. Harvey, and M. Maclean. "Exploring Contemporary Entrepreneurial Philanthropy." International Small Business Journal, Vol. 31, No. 5 (2013), pp. 580-599.

Sluyterman, K.E. "Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of Dutch entrepreneurs in the 20th century." Enterprise and Society, Vol. 13, No. 2 (2012), pp. 313-349.

Stevenson, H.H., and D.E. Gunipert. "The Heart Of Entrepreneurship." Harvard Business Review, Vol. 63. No. 2 (1985), pp. 85-94.

Sulek, M. "On the Modern Meaning of Philanthropy." Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 2 (2010), pp. 193-212.

Sulek, M. "On the Classical Meaning of Philanthropy." Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Vol. 39 No. 3 (2010), pp. 385-408.

Swaan, A. de. "In Care of the State: Health Care, Education and Welfare in Europe and the USA in the Modern Era." Oxford: Polity Press, 1988.

Swaan, A. de. "De vrije markt is een waanidee." 2008. www.

Trevino, L.K., and M.E. Brown. "Managing to be Ethical: Debunking Five Business Ethics Myths." Academy of Management Executive, Vol. 18, No. 2, (2004), pp. 69-81.

Vergne, J.P., and R. Durand. "The Missing Link Between the Theory and Empirics of Path Dependence: Conceptual Clarification, Testability Issue, and Methodological Implications." Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 47, No. 4, (2010), pp. 736-759.

JOS RATH is a Ph.D. candidate in philanthropic studies at VU University Amsterdam in The Netherlands.

THEO SCHUYT is a professor of philanthropic studies at VU University Amsterdam in The Netherlands.


(1) The term 'philanthropreneur' dates back to a publication entitled The Philanthropreneur Newsletter that existed in 1997. However, the term is claimed to have been coined by Internet entrepreneur Mark Desvaux in 2004 to describe "young billionaires who have reaped the benefits of capitalism, and believe that it can be applied in the service of charity".

(2) The term 'venture philanthropy' was first coined in 1969 by John D. Rockefeller III, who used it to describe 'an adventurous approach to funding unpopular social causes'. It resurfaced in the United States in the mid-1990s defining an entrepreneurial type of philanthropy.

(3) Anthony Bugg-Levine introduced in 2007 the term and concept of 'Impact Investing,' when he was responsible for a grant-making portfolio at the Rockefeller Foundation (USA).

To order reprints of this article, please contact Dewey Palmieri at or 212-224-3675.


Motivations of Entrepreneurial Philanthropy

Self actualization     [check] Believe in 'giving back' as an
personal growth        individual mission and the ambition to
and development        incorporate it in the organizational culture
                       - Help the less fortunate

Esteem needs           [check] Desire for prestige and recognition
need to feel of        from peers and institution
value and what one
does meaningful        - Personal belief it is part of local
                       corporate citizenship responsibility

Social needs           [check] Personal association with the cause
desire to belong       and involvement in the (local) non-profit
and to be loved        program

                       - Generate goodwill for the company

                       - Desire to have power or influence

Safety needs           - Attract and retain employee talent
physical and
emotional safety       - Concern for safety from chronic problems

Physiological needs    - Complement business or marketing strategy
food, water,
shelter, and so on.    - Tax benefits


Interactional Positioning of Entrepreneurial Philanthropy

                                   Creating Financial Value

Creating Philanthropic Value


Non-profit                              Social
Organisation                          Enterprise

Donations/    Donations/     >75%     Profitable    Profit
Grants          Grants      Trading     Surplus     Limited
Only              and       Revenue   Reinvested     Paid

Impact Only                           Impact First


Non-profit                      Traditional
Organisation                      Company

Donations/    Donations/      CSR        Purely
Grants          Grants      Driven    Financially
Only              and       Company      Driven

Impact Only                     Finance First


Determinants that Drive Entrepreneurial Philanthropy

               Entrepreneurial Philanthropy

Supporting     Non-profit organizations (including foundations
                 and charities)
Mission        Solve wicked problems of civil society at their
                 root causes
Proposition    To what cause do I feel connected and do I want to
                 help effectively
Period         3-5 years
Investment     Tailored financing plus access to social network,
                 effort and time
ROI            Financial gains on a not-for-profit basis
                 (Return on Investment)
SROI           Philanthropic impact (Social ROI)
SCROI          Personal reputation, recognition and prestige
                 (Symbolic Capital ROI)
Attitude       Business risk-taking
Engagement     Hands-on and control
Disbursement   Emphasis on capacity (project, program and/or
Capital risk   Philanthropreneur
Source Citation   (MLA 8th Edition)
Rath, Jos, and Theo Schuyt. "Entrepreneurial philanthropy: an exploratory review." Journal of Wealth Management, Winter 2014, p. 35+. General OneFile, Accessed 19 Dec. 2018.

Gale Document Number: GALE|A390090853