In the post-Madoff meltdown, is the face of philanthropy changing? Lucette Lagnado's thinks maybe so according to her article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal - "When the Big Spenders Fail, Who Will Save Jewish Charity?" Ms Lagnado points out that over the past two decades, Jewish charities were receiving more money, but from fewer donors. But today she says, this trend might reverse itself– funding may go from the hands of the few to the power of many –what she calls "communal philanthropy" — and if that's the case, she doesn't think that's so bad.
"…in our post-Madoff universe I find myself longing for tzedakah, or personal charity, that took place before the rise of the uber-Jewish foundations and zillionaire philanthropists…It would be lovely to see the return of little checks — the donations everyone could afford to give and often did…"
Are we moving to a Web 2.0 model of giving? I immediately thought of Facebook's "Groups" and "Causes" enabling millions of members around the world — of all types of financial means — to join and contribute to causes and charities they care most about. The Defeat Dementia Facebook Group, for example, connects caregivers, family, friends, and others who support one another in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, CJD and FTD. The New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care Group helps support the underserved ill in NYC through chaplaincy work and training, contemplative care educational retreats, and outreach programs. Both are notable groups — please join.
Hoping that each one of us gives back in some way big or small in the New Year ahead.