At breakfast with fellow Social Venture Partners (Cincinnati) we began discussing philanthropy. While SVP Cincinnati's public purpose is "to enable our investees to make the Cincinnati region a stronger and more vibrant community", I believe the real purpose is to grow an individual (a Partner) in their giving of time, talent and treasure.
Cincinnati and our giving community is one of the most philanthropic in the United States. I remember doing the business plan for SVP Cincinnati and discovering the Cincinnati's contributions to the United Way is in the top five cities (at least back in 2007) PER CAPITA. The Cincinnati chapter of De Tocqueville Society ($10K or more) claims over 900 members and $11M and "one of the largest chapters in the country".
Naturally the skeptic in me wanted to fact check this "marketing claim". Indeed it is one of the largest .... but naturally it depends on how you count:
- Denver 400 $10M; Chicago 650 $12M; Milwaukee 403 $15.3M; Houston 876 $17M; Dallas; Atlanta (claiming to be the largest) >1000 members;
Even SVP International attempts to count our impact: "With more than 3500 Partners from Boston to Bangalore, Social Venture Partners is the world’s largest network of engaged donors". SVP Cincinnati promotes ourselves in "Giving Results" - Partners Give More, Strategically, and are More Involved in their Community.
So are all these discussions an attempt to show Pride in Giving? Or to be an examples/witness of the journey of a giver.
Externally it is impossible to discern. Internally it is impossible to measure. Or as a more famous person said:
"Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; Everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted." Albert Einstein (see "Counting Feelings 1/11/2011")