Philanthropy is the work of doing good for others for their shared humanity. While almost all non-profit work can fit under that definition, today philanthropy has been closely tied in with the work of charitable foundations, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, or the Pew Charitable Trust Foundation.
Charitable foundations function as a way to provide other non-profits, community groups, or governments funding, grants, or other general support. Many different types of foundations exist, ranging from the International Fund for Animal Welfare working for animal rights, or the Cleveland Foundation, working to enhance the city of Cleveland. Additionally some foundations are directly linked to companies such as the GE Foundation, 3M Foundation, or the Intel Foundation.
While companies may not have an explicit social justice mission, many companies have projects or foundations that serve social justice causes. Almost all Fortune 500 companies have a charitable arm/foundation. Many major corporations will do social justice projects related to the field of work or industry. For example, General Mills, a food products company, works to address the issues of nutrition and hunger in the community whereas Intel, a company that creates semiconductors, works to promote science and math education and access to technology worldwide.
By uniting people and non-profits working in similar issues, charitable foundations also provide greater leverage for advocacy, awareness, and additional funding.
Resources on Campus:
Relay For Life – Relay for Life: Student organization on campus working to organize various events to raise money benefiting the American Cancer Society to fight against cancer.
Columbia University Dance Marathon - Columbia University Dance Marathon: An annual 28-hour dance marathon benefiting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation organized by Columbia students.
Potential Jobs in the Field/ Potential Projects
There are many different types of opportunities for careers in philanthropy. Many jobs in philanthropy and foundation work are to coordinate overarching messaging, grants, and opportunities for the cause of choice. Almost all foundations have program officers that help identify, award, coordinate, and follow up with grants their foundation gives out. However, many foundations, including corporate foundations, run programs of their own in addition to supporting non-profits, schools, or individuals.
Sample jobs are listed below:
Deputy Director: Global Health Program for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
As a Deputy Director for the HIV/AIDS Global Health Program for the Bill and Melinda gates Foundation you could be working to discover and develop new tools for preventing and controlling HIV – including HIV vaccines, antiretroviral-based prevention, and new HIV diagnostics for developing countries. While you would be based out of the Seattle office, you could work in countries ranging from Botswana, India, and China to help plan product concepts, clinical development, and eventually global coordination.
Program Officer: Skoll Foundation
As a Program Officer for the Skoll Foundation, you would be responsible for managing a portfolio of social entrepreneur investments, and evaluating investment progress and impact. Furthermore, you would link together best practices in order to support social entrepreneurs within the scope of your portfolio.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest foundation in the world working on various projects from bettering the environment, providing education worldwide, and fighting disease worldwide.
Cleveland Foundation - The Cleveland Foundation is an example of a Community Foundation that gives grants to organizations in the community for the betterment of Cleveland.
Council on Foundations - The Council on Foundations is a national nonprofit association of more than 1,700 grantmaking foundations and corporations, and it is a leading advocate for philanthropy. The Council on Foundations provides resources about foundations and their work. Furthermore, they provide news, seminars, and events for more information about the work of foundations.
Top 50 Corporate Foundations - A list compiled by the Foundation Center of a link to the top corporate-backed foundations.
On Philanthropy - A newsletter about the work of foundations and philanthropists worldwide, it also has a section on jobs for foundations and philanthropy.
NCPPP - A national non-profit focused on leveraging and creating partnerships between the not-for-profit and private sectors.