Edited by Marilyn L. Taylor, Robert J. Strom and David O. Renz
Chapter 2: From entrepreneur to philanthropist: two sides of the same coin?
At first glance, entrepreneurship and philanthropy might seem to have little in common. After all, the former is focused on creating something new, while the latter is focused on assisting someone or something that already exists. Entrepreneurship has often been associated with wealth creation while, by contrast, philanthropy is seemingly about the dispersion and redistribution of wealth. However, many of the greatest and most prominent entrepreneurs in the United States have also been among the most notable philanthropists. While striking historical examples abound, such as John D. Rockefeller III, Andrew Carnegie, Ewing Marion Kauffman and the Guggenheims, more contemporary examples have caught the attention of the entire world, such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mario Batali, Michael Bloomberg and Mark Zuckerberg. According to Gaudiani (2003: 14): The outstanding characteristic of American generosity is its entrepreneurial character. By this I mean a drive to build something of value through hard work and risk taking. Identifying a problem or an opportunity is the crucial starting point. But the entrepreneurial spirit drives the individual or group to take action and to do so with a sense of urgency. Over the decades, and in fact centuries, private donors in America have typically made their gifts far earlier and far more quickly than other funders and investors, such as businesses or government, usually even before the market or our legislators have realized that there is a crucial need.
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