The world of philanthropy can seem very staid and conservative, especially when it comes to established foundations. The Ford Foundation, though, is looking at the world of philanthropy differently. Partly, this is because of new leadership at the top.
Darren Walker was a beneficiary of some of the Ford Foundation’s pet projects, most notably Head Start. Walker brings a different perspective to bear in the CEO’s chair. He believes that foundations need to view the world of philanthropy with a sense of urgency. Walker comes to the job with an understanding of the issues at work, and the need for expanded services.
By endowment, the Ford Foundation is the second-largest philanthropic organization in the US. Walker knows that they can afford to take risks. Although they’ve recently moved to new headquarters, the public is welcome inside. Walker really believes in doing things differently. He has long made it his goal to be as connected as possible to others.
Walker achieved success on Wall Street during the 1980s. Though he didn’t share much in terms of background with his colleagues, he managed to form an effective network. He was connected to circles of transplanted Southerners and gay New Yorkers, too. When he moved into the world of philanthropy, Walker saw disconnects where he knew there should be connections.
Plans for giving at the Ford Foundation include an ambitious goal to invest one billion dollars over the next decade. Walker has spoken about building a social justice infrastructure. He not only wants to reinforce the social safety net for Americans, he also wants to build scaffolding to give all Americans a way to build.
Walker has spoken often about how attitudes have changed in America. In the place of the encouragement, he recalls from his youth, Walker sees a society so competitive that it’s destructive. He’s well aware that the gap between rich and poor is larger than ever. And he feels that with that disconnect can come real problems.
In thinking boldly and acting with urgency, Walker seeks to change the way big giving happens at the Ford Foundation. With his inspiring example, it’s possible this change will ripple throughout the world of philanthropy. In working for the Ford Foundation, Walker is seeking to make the change that he believes America needs.
Philanthropy isn’t focused on individuals giving money, but rather on creating solutions for problems that plague society. A philanthropist should think like an entrepreneur and find ways to build social enterprises when it comes to social challenges. There are many documents and research available to show why this is a solid route to take. Businesses are considered solutions to problems. This means that solving a social problem that has been negatively affecting people will guarantee business for you and your employees. This is why philanthropist should focus on opening a business that focuses on solving the problems that plague humanity on a day to day basis. They should focus on positive change through their business that will greatly impact those who need it.
Creating Sustainable Solutions
One of the best things that any business can do for society is to create sustainable solutions. These solutions can vary from energy to resources that we use regularly. This means that there should be a focus on creating products that can help remove our dependency from the items that cause ourselves and others harm in society. Some of these examples include eco-friendly energy and renewables, such as recyclable materials. The sky is the limit when it comes to creating sustainable solutions and it is up to the philanthropist’s creativity to solve these problems.
Always Dream Big
A philanthropist’s main goal is to change the world for the better. However, they will never be able to accomplish this task unless they dream big. By focusing on large markets and opportunities, a philanthropist can help change the world through their entrepreneurial means and reach an even larger audience than before. There are people suffering in many third world countries who desperately need help. Keeping these people in your focus will help you expand your business around the globe and provide comfort for those who need it the most.
Work With People You Trust
It is important to surround ourselves with people who share common goals. As a philanthropist, you cannot achieve what you have set out to do alone. This means finding people to work for you that share your passion to make positive change. Because you are approaching philanthropy from an entrepreneurial perspective, this means you will have to be extra selective when it comes to hiring people. Make sure that they are not only qualified for the job but share your values and mission statement as well.
In the spring of 2017, something new began in Louisville, Kentucky. The Gigabit Experience Center in the city provided something that is critical in the 21st century — a free, high-speed internet.
Although most people throughout the world use the internet, there are still families with a lower income that do not have access to a fast and reliable internet access. Since opening the Gigabit Center, Louisville has given its citizens the opportunity to share ideas and communicate about improvement to be done in their own communities.
This is only one example of what has been happening in cities around the world that are taking advantage of internet technology. It has helped them with creating service institutions that aim to involve more people in community projects. It also helps city leaders connect to citizens under them and collectively solve and fix problems that are of common concern.
Athens Responds To Crisis
An example of the new way of using technology is the Greek capital Athens. When in 2008 the city endured a financial crisis, the people of Athens began tackling their problems in a new way. Instead of waiting on outside help, the people of the city began owning and solving their problems through improvisation and spontaneous efforts on a local scale.
After this, an online platform was created in which city projects were submitted to be seen by like-minded groups of people. The city government has access to the platform which allows it to support and facilitate projects that are initiated by its citizens.
Counting People in San Jose, California
When the housing prices of San Jose skyrocketed, many people were forced to live in undocumented dwelling places such as mobile homes and garages. This made the population count of the city almost impossible in the standard way, and the city suffered a cut in federal funding that is dependent on the counted population.
With the help of technology, a text-message tool was leveraged that would allow volunteer citizens to count the undocumented population and share the results with others.
Anchorage, Tearing the Wall Between Citizens and Government
With the lack of communication between mayors and their citizens, the latter have become cynical and uninterested about their local government. In Anchorage, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz uses an Open Data Portal to share the work of government agencies with their citizens. This transparency about the work of government agencies in real time at battling issues in the cities makes citizens more aware of the efficiency of their government and makes them more aware of the issues in their own hometown.
Jim Eischens is an accomplished real estate professional with over two decades of experience in property management and business development. His diverse portfolio includes single family homes, multifamily apartment buildings, hotels, charter schools, office complexes, and a resort business. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of his portfolio of management companies.
Outside of his professional endeavors, Jim Eischens is an active community member and committed philanthropist who cares deeply about giving back. He credits his commitment to civic service and the community to his desire to be a well-rounded individual and participant in society.
Jim Eischens understands the importance of supporting organizations that run on donations and volunteers so that they can continue to do the great work they do. Growing up, Eischens was involved in organizations, sports, and youth leadership programs, that were funded through fundraising and philanthropic efforts. Now, supporting these organizations helps give other children a chance to realize the same benefits that he had.
As the father of three daughters, Jim Eischens has been a coach for their youth basketball and soccer teams for over a decade. An athlete himself, Eischens understands the importance of staying active and taking advantage of the outdoors. Most importantly, sports provide an opportunity to build friendships and teach important values, such as teamwork. Over the years, Eischens has enjoyed watching his daughters develop as athletes, but more importantly, as people. Not to mention, coaching has given Eischens the invaluable opportunity to bond with his daughters and develop a closer relationship with them.
Jim Eischens recognizes the input his University fraternity has had on his life and now volunteers for the fraternity housing corporation to ensure the fraternity will continue to offer the same experiences and opportunities to young men at the University of Minnesota.
Eischens is heavily involved with the St. Odilia church and school, where his daughters have attended. He has developed projects such as an outdoor classroom which allows for the use of his skills as well as benefit the children for warm weather learning opportunities. He has also operated a game tent with his daughters for the annual church fundraiser. This fundraising opportunity is great for the students to socialize and is a welcomed bonding time with his daughters. Eischens is also active in the St. Odilia’s Men’s Club which is dedicated to providing community service and youth sports support.
Jim has adopted a garden in the Marcy Holmes neighborhood through the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association, which strives to improve and enhance the quality of residential life in the neighborhood.
Jim Eischens is a member of The 49ers, a St-Paul-based men’s networking club. As a club, they try to incorporate business transactions between the members and offer support for one another. The members of the club engage in numerous social activities throughout the year as well.
Eischens also volunteers and supports the North Oaks James J. Hill farm society as well as the North Oaks Children Hospital guild.
In addition to his involvement in the community, Jim Eischens has a passion for classic cars and agriculture. Eischens attends a classic car show from time to time and enjoys taking his 1967 Chevy Impala convertible out for a drive any chance he gets. Furthermore, he loves everything related to farming and agriculture. Growing up, Eischens lived on a small farm in Southwest Minnesota. From an early age, he participated heavily in the youth organization 4H and in the local chapter of Future Farmers of America. These organizations offered countless opportunities and opened many doors in agriculture, leadership, and travel. His family still owns the farm, and Jim Eischens enjoys reconnecting with his roots when he travels back home.