Wealthy individuals need to ask themselves three questions when thinking about their legacy, says Alice Korngold, consultant, author, and former facilitator to the Clinton Global Initiative.
1) What’s broken that you’re concerned about?
2) Where are effective solutions that you want to support?
3) And how can you add value?
People may be able to add value in a variety of ways – not only by providing funds, says Korngold. They may be able to act as consultants or advisors, not only as investors. In this way, they can create a stronger legacy.
She urges individuals to look at what’s being done well in the area they’re interested in. ‘Think about social enterprises or nonprofits that have innovative solutions,’ she says.
Partnerships between different people and different organizations are also key. She points to the collaborative work being done by Acumen, a global nonprofit, and the multinational corporations Unilever and Dow Chemical in Africa. ‘It’s not easy to reach win-win,’ she says, but in this case it seems to be working.
Finding where you can add value is a journey. It is not a quick thing
Acumen, Unilever and Dow all share an interest in economic development, and are working with four for-profit enterprises with a social mission, in the areas of water sanitation, solar energy, healthcare, and fertilizer, to achieve this. In this way, Acumen helps lift local people out of poverty, and the multinationals gain understanding of new markets, help to build supply chains, and raise employees’ engagement.
‘Finding where you can add value is a journey,’ says Korngold. ‘It’s not a quick thing.’ But it’s worth taking your time – don’t rush. You will learn a lot about the solutions, but also about yourself, she says. ‘This is a process of self-discovery.’
And everyone can contribute. ‘There’s a role for everybody, whether you’re at a big company, small company, nonprofit, a philanthropist, an investor, on your own with a family foundation. There is a valuable role for everybody. It will take all of us.
‘It’s a thrill for people to explore and find where they can add value. And I see the difference it makes.
‘It is transformational.’
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