What are the alternative approaches to philanthropy? Entrepreneurs & activists share at #OYW2017

Leaders in philanthropy and technology joined at the main stage on Thursday evening to discuss some of the most innovative ways to make philanthropy more efficient and effective.

A key theme was the use of technology and social media to bring philanthropy to the next level.

Serial entrepreneur and philanthropist, Alexandre Mars, explained how he is leveraging the knowledge gained through many years as a tech entrepreneur to fight inequality.

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He showed how his new platform helps millennials, the most socially-conscious generation ever, to drive more social good, and urged the audience to follow suit. “Be successful, please”, he asked them. “But share your success with people who are in need”.

Ground-up Philanthropy

Delegates Brian Gallagher, President and CEO of United Way Worldwide, and Georgette Mulheir, CEO of Lumos, spoke of the importance of taking a ground-up approach and attacking social/economic evils at the roots rather than attempting to treat symptoms.

Gallagher explained the potential of grassroots action to turn local engagement into global impact (his organization now engages 2.8 million volunteers and 9.8 million donors around the world to build stronger and more sustainable communities).

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"We each hold more power in the palm of our hand and more access to information than Albert Einstein had in his day. The question is, what do we do with it?”

Mulheir showed how tackling social issues at their roots, in childhood for example - rather than at a later stage - is far more effective.

She explained that many of the 8 million children admitted to orphanages are negatively impacted at a critical stage of their brain development which can dictate their future life chances.

Rather than treating the disproportionate number of children who suffer later on in life (they are more likely to commit self-harm and/or enter prostitution) it is better to reconnect them to their existing family. Reconnecting these orphans and redirecting funds to these families - instead of giving them to orphanages - said Mulheir, is more cost efficient and has better long-term outcomes.

“Children simply need the love, nurture and protection of a family to thrive. The amount spent on one child to live in an orphanage is the same it would take to raise one child in a loving home”, said the CEO.

Small Actions Have Results

To cap off, social media star and entrepreneur, Jérôme Jarre, took to the stage with the comedic digital content creator and actor, Juanpa Zurita, and Rossana Bee, of the EH BEE FAMILY. Together they shared their inspiring story of how the Love Army social movement has been fighting humanitarian crises in Somalia and Mexico this year.

They spoke of how these ventures show that small gestures can make a huge impact, social media can be used as a force for good, and young leaders can mobilise communities to work together for a better world.

“Changing someone's life could really change the course of humanity - and changing someone's life could be as simple as buying someone a baguette”, Jarre said. “If we truly want to change the world it only takes a small action”.

This article was written by Luke Taylor. He is an English journalist living in Bogota, Colombia. His reports on Colombia have been featured in leading English, Canadian and Australian publications.

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