Celebrity philanthropy is quite a hot topic these days. They have their share of haters, but overall, I support their decision to leverage their finances, time and influence for altruism, no matter their reason for doing it.
I’m not real choosey about who wants to be a philanthropist or why. I have more complaints about those that choose to do nothing at all.
If someone offers you money, investment, promotion, endorsement or any other type of support, and it fulfills your need, does it really matter what their reasons for supporting are?
Sure, you want them to do it for some beautiful reason that fits your idealism. But at the end of the day, you’re still getting what you need, and they’re getting more deeply invested in the cause. What better process for them to do it for the “right reasons” over time?
Sometimes philanthropists get so caught up in their work that they forget how impacting it can be for their donors as well. For many celebrities, it’s a game changing experience in their life.
Do I care why Ben Affleck started Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI)? No, I don’t. What I do care about is the fact that it’s one of the most effective organizations working in the DRC right now, and ultimately, Ben is becoming an expert on the topic.
He’s invested. He’s there, in Congo, often. He’s supporting people like Harper McConnell Katondolo, one of the most integral philanthropists I know. She is our DRC guru, and now she’s getting the recognition she deserves, largely because Ben has the power to support and expose her amazing work.
Harper was doing amazing work many years ago. She’s done even more amazing work since. Today she’s doing amazing work with a huge audience and platform of influence, largely because of Ben’s support.
Harper’s work ethic, passion and commitment didn’t change at all. But Ben gave her the platform to do the things she’s longed to do (that required more capital and mass influence), but couldn’t.
That’s powerful, and beautiful. I certainly can’t find any reasons not to support this type of activity.