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June 2010

Harvard to Teach Fundraising?

Rumor has it that Harvard, via the Hauser Center, may teach fundraising. Get a flavor for the extraordinarily high level thinking from Joi Ito's notes here. Also, see Gunther Weil and Jennifer McCrea. The philosophy being developed by these people is what I too have been trying to preach. Fundraising is simply partnering at the mission level with high capacity people who need the nonprofit as a leverage point to produce change in a direction that matters at the identity level to the funder. Matching the identity, mission, and capacities of donor and nonprofit is problem solving, not soliticting.

Sharia Compliant Ethical Investing is Booming

Ron Robins, Founder & Analyst - Investing for the Soul, in

“…investors globally hold more than $1.5 trillion in Sharia-compliant investments… [and] there are more than 500 funds globally that comply with Islamic principles, of which one-third of these funds were launched during the past four years, and the figure is projected to double in the coming five years… ” said Abdul Rahman Al Baker, executive director of financial institutions supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) at the Sixth World Conference of Islamic capital markets and investment funds on May 24.

Ethical investing adumbrates an ethical self, an ethical tradition, a community, and very often a religious community supported by scripture, clergy, ritual, and sometimes war too. The Market, or as we call it here, Wealth Bondage: Values Neutral Desire Satisfaction, by contrast says, "Whatever works is good enough." The Market as adjudicator seems more reasonable, or more Enlightened, in a way than weighing Quaker social investing , Baptist social investing, Gay/Bi/Lesbian/Transgendered social investing versus Sharia compliant investing. Yet, the market too has its Idols, and its tacit violence has produced creatures, more beast than human, that only a most merciful God could love, much less redeem. (Believe me, I tried redeeming my clients from sin, and came up short, no less than their parents had or their preacher.) Now, I am just a Serving Professional, a pander, serving desire, like all the other Successful Advisors to Wealth. I myself see all these values-based investing traditions as equally valid, insofar as each produces sales, commissions, and assets under management for Wealth Bondage. It is all Values-Based Planning to me. Of course values are relative. Pick the values-based investing tradition that is right for you!

The Case Against Helping Anyone Who Needs It

In business we say that you are driving the bus, on the bus, or under the bus. Life Boat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor, by Garrett Hardin, and the work of Ayn Rand make similar points. We who serve the wealthy, and are poor ourselves, we professional Fools, can identify with our Clients or with our actual class, the marginalized and easily discarded. As poor ourselves our loyalty is sometimes tested. Last night, for example, Candidia, my superior, as she is yours, had me leap from her Limo at four in the morning to kick a homeless guy in the head - to show her that I know which end is up. In return, she allowed me to drop a ten dollar bill on his blood spattered face. "Here, Phil, she said, "Be a philanthropist! Ten dollars for you is a sacrificial gift, isn't it, Sweetie? Kick the next guy in the nuts, and I will let you keep the $10."

Millionaires Reduce Giving in Favor of Buying Guns

Bloomberg via Huffintgon Post:

As millionaires' assets rebounded in 2009, they put more money in tangibles such as art, jets and gems, according to a report released this week by Capgemini SA and Merrill Lynch & Co.

In my own world, I am feeling the truth of this. I have been asked by my boss to split my time between Private Client Philanthropic Services and marketing antique guns. If assets under management in our Donor Advised Funds don't increase soon, I will be selling antique firearms full time. I have a Civil War era Gatling Gun on sale if anyone is interested. It isn't cheap, but should appreciate in value. It does work and could be used to defend the Family Compound, if there are riots and the like, or if the Family's Praetorian Guard turns against them. A Trusted Advisor could defend your family with this thing against an entire starving community. But it is best to buy now, and get the training, before demand skyrockets.

Appreciative Inquiry for A Negative Guy in Wealth Bondage

My recent posts have once again called my mental health into question. This time I get Appreciative Inquiry Puppet Therapy. My trainer, Bill, uses this Puppet to help me come to terms with Reality. Reality is what does not change even when we try to make it change. That would be Wealth Bondage, the whole set up. It is just a question of adjusting. Then you are normal, happy, and Free.

Puppet: "Phil, When in Wealth Bondage have you felt most free?"

Phil: "When I get to do creative work within a literary, ethical, or religious tradition."

Puppet: "Tell me a story about a time when you did creative work in Wealth Bondage that you really loved."

Phil: "When I wrote that post about being crucified face down for insubordination to Mammon, like St Paul was. He was mad, they said, too, you know."   

Bill: "Cut the negative crap, Phil. This is not going to go well for you until you learn to flip that to a positive. Madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. You have to stop playing these negative tapes in your head about God and Mammon and you as some kind of martyr. You want me to send you back to Head Nurse for her to use that ice cream scoop of hers?"

Phil: "No, Sir, I meant that I liked being crucified, Sir, by the Imperial Guard of Wealth Bondage. I was asking for it. I deserved it. I know it. It fulfilled me. It was why God put me on earth. To serve as an example to the others."

Bill: "Fair enough. Kiss, Puppet and make up. You are well enough to work. Back to your cubicle, but le'ts keep it positive!"

I guess happiness is learned helplessness. Or maybe I have it backward. In any case, it is all good. I appreciate Bob for taking the time to help me.

Healing The Deaf, Blind, and Heartless - Consequences of Failure

St paul
For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
- St Paul, Acts 28

People seem to think I make stuff up about how healing is the proper trade of prophets, poets, and philosophers, no less than of Therapists. But today it is only the Therapist on the planning team who deals with moral blindness, dull ears, and the gross heart. Does that make sense to you? Could a therapist help a wealthy person "see the light" and repent? I doubt it. So who will? Me! Actually, they called St. Paul mad too, and it ended badly. No doubt. You note the passage implies that he reformed people nonconsensually, despite their hardened hearts? Me too. Wish I could get the hang of it, though. Some days I don't know which end is up. Maybe if I healed myself, I might heal others. Of course in this work, there is not much margin for error.

A Post In the Augustan Tradition with Scholarly Apparatus

Dr. Amrit Chawallah, Adjunct in Charge of the Liberal Arts (The Arts of Freedom) in Wealth Bondage,

I note with pleasure The Author Function's recent work of art, "Conversation Concerning Madness with Head Nurse in Wealth Bondage." Excellent use of stichomythia. The allusion to Swift's Tale of the Tub, with its Digression Concerning Madness, will be obvious to the educated reader, but the true source, I believe, is Alexander Pope's The First Satire of the Second Book of Horace, Imitated. And also Pope's Epistle to Dr. Arburthnot. Healers down the generations seem always to give the same advice to the satirist, their dark double, "Play it safe!"

 "Good friend, forbear! you deal in dang'rous things.
I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings;"

Sickness is contagious, so is fear, or intimidation, but then so too is laugther. Perhaps that is why laughter is deemed the best medicine. Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread. Some are mad; some feign madness to excuse their temerity; and some are driven mad. It is the cure itself we have cause to fear. I was sent myself to Head Nurse once, and would not willingly go again. I hope Phil is spared that. He is back to normal, if by that you mean business as usual. I saw him just now in his cubicle, soliciting for Wealth Bondage Charitable Services, A Division of Wealth Bondage Private Client Personal Services Group. He was pitching this hedge fund guy on a better life in a better world. It seemed to be going pretty well. The mark was doing his Gospel of Wealth and Phil was writing it all down with a look of awe. I will check the daily results tonight, but I am pretty sure we (Team WB) will book another half billion to assets under management. Never good enough for she who rules us all, but not bad for an English major, on Quaaludes, and wearing an adult diaper under his pinstripes. Phil is going to come through all this ok. Half a billion a day, and he may be spared in the coming layoffs. Well, enough of this. I am off to teach the Augustans at an Assisted Living Facility tonight. It doesn't pay anything, but I get to take the leftovers home.

Conversation Concerning Madness with Head Nurse in Wealth Bondage

Since my recent sojourn in the Wealth Bondage Employee Assistance Clinic, I have been doing much better, thank you, more normal in general, with fewer suicidal thoughts, and with my homicidal rages, much subdued. Head Nurse helped straighten me out, and now she and I talk regularly. I thought I would journal this as part of my ongoing treatment for brand induced moral insanity disorder. Here we are discussing our respective roles as Healers to America's Wealthiest Families.

She: “But, seriously, Phil, these Dynasts are often quite disturbed. And their heirs are even worse.”

He: “I know that, Nurse. Can they be fixed, though?”

She: “You mean, can we make them flourish?”

He: “No, I mean fixed as in neutered like a mad dog."

She: “O, you know you really do have to address your own issues.”

He: “As in heal myself?”

She: “Right, or satirize yourself, if you must satirize anyone at all.”

He: “Blog from the Clinic in Wealth Bondage?”

She: “If you must.”

He: “Well, laughter is the best medicine.”

She: “And now I am another crazy character in your mad mind?”

He: “In a play without footlights as Bakhtin said of Carnival. Costumes! This is a live performance, folks. We apologize in advance. Head Nurse  and I are going to fix you good.

She: "But, Phil! Seriously, what has this to do with philanthropy?"

He: "Imagine what a difference it would make if we could cure even a tiny bit of the moral insanity of the most powerful people in America."

She: "I see your point, would it were possible!"

He: "The Hangman's is a Noble Trade, Nurse, and so is ours. The rich no less than the poor have their  moral weaknesses, and must be served no less than the poor. Those we cannot cure we can at least sequester where they cannot harm themselves or others."

She: "Restrain yourself!"

He: "Or someone else will. I know. I know. I feel much calmer now, Nurse. Truly I do. I am not laughing. I am not even smiling. See?  Thank you for helping me. I will return to my cubicle now with your permission."

Sondra Shaw-Hardy Has a Blog on Women's Philanthropy

Excellent resource on women's philanthropy: Sondra Shaw-Hardy's The Power of the Purse. I recall an ill-fated blog, "Men in Philanthropy," that was quickly taken down amidst the uproar it caused. Why gender philanthropy at all? Maybe because women's philanthropy has blossomed into a discernible style of giving, one with deep roots, and an ever more vibrant current expression. The spirit of community, of camaraderie, of care and support, along with the strategic dimension is what strikes me about the women's giving movement. Head and heart, intention and result, love and metrics, self-family-community, they have it all in balance. Sondra Shaw-Hardy, co-author of  Women and Philanthropy: Boldly Shaping a Better World is a great guide to the field.