A Vision for Philanthropy in the 21st Century

September 16, 2018

Richard F. Chandler looks at the role of business houses as social investors and innovators

Doing Well and Doing Good: Business Houses and Social Missions


Business houses are in a unique position: they are able to work across different levels of the Prosperity Model and build an orchard of flourishing businesses that lead by example, innovate, create employment, and serve society with goods and services that contribute to their prosperity and well-being.


We have seen in recent decades, for example, that material progress in developing countries has often been driven by technological advances such as mobile phones. Low-cost mobile phones have not only connected business, markets, customers, and suppliers, but have also become a platform for banking transactions. M-Pesa in Kenya exemplifies how technology has fundamentally transformed the ability to transact and do business.


This “business house” paradigm goes beyond simply pursuing financial returns and then engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Unfortunately, most CSR is either corporate philanthropy that redirects shareholder funds, or corporate marketing.


A business house can sow more lasting seeds, which both power and expand a nation's middle class.

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“ Of every thousand dollars spent in so called charity today, it is probable that $950 is unwisely spent. ”

Andrew Carnegie
The Gospel of Wealth