Entrepreneurial philanthropy

Authored by: Jillian Gordon , Charles Harvey , Eleanor Shaw , Mairi Maclean

The Routledge Companion to Philanthropy

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415783255
eBook ISBN: 9781315740324
Adobe ISBN: 9781317579717


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Wealthy entrepreneurs have long been involved in large-scale philanthropy (Bradley, 1987; Chernow, 1998; Nasaw, 2006; Fleishman, 2007; Harvey et al., 2011). Individuals of historic stature, like Andrew Carnegie, Andrew Mellon and John D. Rockefeller, are remembered as much for their social innovations as their business prowess. More recently, research has suggested a revival in the engagement of super wealthy entrepreneurs in ambitious projects for social renewal (Schervish, 2003, 2005; Handy and Handy, 2006; Bishop and Green, 2008). Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have emerged as champions of the new wave of mega-philanthropy following their union in 2006 when Buffet gifted $31 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The duo subsequently went on to create the Giving Pledge in 2010, declaring their intention to dispose of the greater part of their wealth philanthropically, and inviting others to pledge the same. All of this has encouraged the media to pay more attention to super wealthy individuals and their involvement in philanthropy. Indeed, these individuals now enjoy celebrity-like status (Bishop and Green, 2008). The academic discourse, in contrast, has, bar some exceptions, largely remained silent on the issue (Acs and Phillips, 2002; Schervish, 2003, 2005; Desai and Acs, 2007).

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