There's a new short film scheduled for release this summer called Saving Philanthropy that will question the impact of the $300 billion Americans spend annually on philanthropy. [Thanks, Sean-Stannard Stockton for the head's up today.] That sum, $300 billion, "is more than the GDP of Colombia," the trailer for the film contends. "From 1995 to 2005, the number of foundations in the U.S. increased by 77 percent." So what has society gotten for that $300 billion? It's a good question, producers say. "With so many resources directed to solving our social issues," asks Executive Producer Kate Robinson, "why do they seem to be getting worse instead of better?" Robinson and her brother, Robby, don't think the philanthropy industry is performing well enough, nor adequately measuring its impact. "Viable organizations still aren't having the impact they claim they want to have because they're often not tracking their progress," says Robby. He says he hopes the film will encourage more accountability in the sector.
Ms. Stepanek is a Multimedia Journalist, New Media Strategist, an award-winning news and features editor and author of the forthcoming book, "Swarms: The Rise of the Digital Anti-Establishment." She teaches digital media strategy and cause video at Columbia University, curates a speaker series on disruptive innovation in the advocacy sector and runs a short-form 'micro-documentary' studio in Manhattan. A former Knight Fellow at Stanford and the former Web Strategies Editor at BusinessWeek, Marcia is a frequent speaker on the influence of new media at workshops and conferences worldwide. She was Founding Editor-in-Chief of Contribute magazine, covering the rise of the mass philanthropy movement and the use of social media in advocacy. She blogs for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Pop!Tech, Videocracy.org and msnbc.com.
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