Philanthropy in the region: Introducing Republic of Kosovo

Kosovars have a well-grounded history philanthropic work. Over the years the work has changed in shapes and sizes but the essence of improving the lives of others has remained intact. The solidarity and warmness that the Kosovar community has for its fellow men has been a part of its past and continues to be a part of its future. This generosity was clearly demonstrated during the recent extremely cold winter days in Europe. During these snowy days, we experienced how individuals and companies mobilized themselves to plow snow, open up the roads and help those in need. After all, that’s the municipalities’ job but individuals acted as an extended arm to local authorities.

February 24, 2012

Inside the Minds of Donors (Part III): Portrait of a Donor – Peter Kulloi

In the fall of 2011, a friendly reference brought me an invitation to two-day workshop on philanthropy in Hungary and opportunity to meet a remarkable person: Peter Kulloi, businessman  and philanthropists. Peter’s background sounds pretty simple: he was an investment banker, first in Budapest then in London. He retired at the age of 40 and became involved in philanthropy, both as a founder of the non-profit foundation but also as a supporter/Board member of number of non-profit initiatives and causes.

Peter made deep impression on me – firstly, because he had some very interesting observations on philanthropy, charities, fundraising, but also because he was/is the first person that I’ve met that said – “I’ve earned enough money! Now I want to give it back!”

This post brings some of Peter’s thoughts on giving, non-profits, philanthropy:

February 17, 2012

Philanthropy in the region: Introducing Republic of Macedonia

January is a month when people in Macedonia celebrate among several religious holydays (Orthodox Christmas, Epiphany, etc) and the birthday of Toshe Proeski – the famous singer that tragically lost his life in October 2007 in a car incident in Croatia. This 25th of January, on the day of his 31st birthday, several fundraising events were organized in order to remember this great young man that was known in Balkans not only as a singer but as a person that has initiated and organized many humanitarian and philanthropic activities. Toshe’s last concert, organized several days before his death was fundraiser-he succeeded to raise more than 100.000 $US for reconstructions in the primary schools in Macedonia.

February 10, 2012

Inside the Minds of Donors (Part II): Personal Perspective or Would You Walk 100 km For a Cause?

Following up on the interesting blog from last week, here is another, more personal view.

It was always more or less clear to me why a government would want to give to a common cause – their motivation is often connected to a policy goal; it can be more economical providing a service directly; or it can have a direct political benefit to those in power. Or why a corporation should do it – good practice of corporate-social responsibility or engaging in corporate philanthropy bring positive image and have a positive impact on the brand, sales, etc. I even get why a celebrity has to give – they are often subject of scrutiny for their wealth and lifestyle and giving can take the edge off of that.  Super rational, right? Easy to understand whatever we thought of these motives. 

But why does an average citizen from an average family with an average pay struggling to pay off a 25 year mortgage or put children through university give. Especially as there is no immediate and clear rational payback – no material benefit, no plaque or a school with a name, and only marginal savings through tax incentives (even that is not available in all countries!). And people still give! Significant amounts of money in the West ($211.77 billion in 2010 in US alone) and, as the last week’s blog showed, even in this region, individuals give more every year.

February 3, 2012