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A philanthropreneur is an entrepreneurial philanthropist. The term is claimed to be coined by Internet entrepreneur Mark Desvaux in 2004, however The Wall Street Journal used the term in a 1999 article and a publication entitled The Philanthropreneur Newsletter existed as far back as 1997. Philanthropreneurship is often considered the start of a new era in philanthropy; one characterized by the development of the philanthropist’s role and the integration of business practices

The core objective of philanthropreneurship is to increase the philanthropic impact of non-profit organizations. Traditionally non-profit organization solely depended on donations, grants, or other forms of charitable-giving. However this new generation of entrepreneurs prefers to invest rather than donate. Philanthropreneurs are active donors whose role surpasses that of check writers, rather they leverage their resources to achieve social change that is both scalable and sustainable. As a result, their contribution is meant to go beyond providing temporary “band-aid” solutions. Instead of directing efforts on the purchase of medicine for the sick and the supply of food for the hungry, philanthropreneurs seek to eradicate the problem.

Philanthropreneurs are people who bring a creative or entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy: They are interested in effecting positive changes in the world and alleviating suffering, but they are doing so in new and creative ways. Philanthropreneurs often "driven to do good and have their profit, too" as Stephanie Strom writes in a recent New York Times article.

As an emerging field there is no defined operating model or strategic approach. Still philanthropreneurship marks the transitions from a grant-distributing model to a business-based model with predefined objectives and constant focus on quantifiable results. This form of “commercial giving” demands measurable return, which is why opportunities are assessed and evaluated according to different criteria. Factors such as profitability and quantifiable performance are fixed requirements for granting support. The shift in professional management has also resulted in a greater focus on long-term goals.



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