Foreign Policy Blogs

Vigilante Philanthropist?

For as much as I want help philanthropy become an accessible, mainstream norm and value  – I’m still wrestling with the idea of a billionaire playboy turned vigilante philanthropist as our superhero for doing so.  NBC’s June premiere of The Philanthropist is making my head spin.

From a foreign policy point of view, do we really need television show endorsing the Americans know best philosophy (i.e. we’ll come to your country with our own agenda) – even if it is for “good” causes?  Do we really want America’s philanthropists thinking they can run into countries, bargain with drug dealers and dodge bullets – all in the name of  saving the world?  Maybe we do?  

Philanthropy is a personal choice and journey.  Are we through with philanthropy as a collaboration?  Is this the beginning of the individual action being more effective, less bureaucratic, and quicker?  I’m starting to think that we are okay with folks pursuing their own agendas up to a point – and perhaps this TV show will illuminate our cut-off. 

I’m still working through my thoughts about the show.  I’ll definitely have to watch and find out.  Though if this is the sector’s break-out moment to the mainstream, I’m a little nervous that we’ll have more explaining to do – not less.  However, if folks come away knowing what philanthropy is – and how to pronounce it, perhaps it will have all been worth it?