Here’s a thought-provoking question: Would your organization have given Gandhi a grant? How about Martin Luther King?
Speaking on the state of philanthropy, Dr. Bob Ross, the CEO of The California Endowment, said: “I shudder to think what would have happened if Martin Luther King, or Gandhi, or Cesar Chavez had submitted a grant application to us.”
He made this observation while discussing the ways his organization tries to push the boundaries on risk-taking while also being conscious of its mission, its appetite for risk, and the political and cultural climate in which it operates.
Generally, he said, foundations are very risk averse.
And of course, what impacted the audience was the thought that we could possibly pass on supporting someone who would go on to change the world in a really big way. Or that we already had.