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A certain feeling accompanies altruism, a feeling that warms the heart and rewards the soul. This help for the less fortunate is the goal of philanthropic organizations.

The New Direction of Philanthropy

Today, certain trends in philanthropy have developed as a result of the civil unrest the U.S. has experienced in the past year. A new generation has influenced much unrest with their takeovers in cities, distrust of institutions and aspects of society and the vociferous decrying of racism. Other generations are also dissatisfied with society’s dark sides, the power wielded by giant corporations and the media, other aspects of failures in a democracy. Because of this desire of many Americans to strive for more ideological goals, the non-profit sector examines the roles of institutions and how the crises of 2020 may mark a turning point in the focuses and actions of philanthropic organizations in response to such events.

The Non-Profit Ecosystem

In 2008, an article entitled “Cultivate Your Ecosystem” suggested that social entrepreneurs should understand where they fit as a part of a larger, complex environment. Today, trends in philanthropy differ significantly from years past. Because wealth has become more concentrated, philanthropy risks becoming a realm of a society dominated by the rich. If this should happen, philanthropy may become less cohesive for society than a new social domain that aggravates divisions.

The Access to Data

Data has increased tremendously and foundations and non-profit organizations both use and provide this data. Unfortunately, this data is sometimes misused. As a consequence, sector leaders need to fulfill their legal obligations to protect privacy and to ensure that data remains secure. There is also concern that unequal access to data can further the gap between non-profit organizations that are smaller with a lack of better resources and unable to access certain data that larger better-resourced non-profits can.

Blurring Among Sectors

There is a rising of social ventures and overlapping roles among the government, business, and philanthropic sectors that have generated a demand for negotiation by sector leaders to form new boundaries. For instance, the question of the limits on funding for charitable projects involving human services is brought into question as this has traditionally been the purview of government. Whether philanthropy should play a role in other areas such as the digital divide are also under question.