Special Features

Foolanthropy 2005

What is Foolanthropy?

Foolanthropy 2005

Think of it as an interactive, cooperative charity drive -- the Internet's first and longest-running.

As many of you know, The Motley Fool's continuing mission for 13 years and counting has been to help our members make better investment decisions to secure their future. Starting in 1997, it occurred to us that we couldn't provide our members with a complete solution for investing in the future if we didn't help them make better charitable investment decisions. We also felt we wouldn't be the most effective guides at this if we didn't work on a completely voluntary basis -- and that includes our employees. So for nine years now, Foolanthropy has been a volunteer-operated venue for people seeking to donate to some of the most worthwhile charities in America and around the world.

Who decides what makes a charity worthwhile? You do. Our volunteer committee fields nominations from our membership and readers and selects five of the most Foolish, according to our Foolanthropic tenets listed below, to be the recipients of the year's campaign.

In recent years, it has become apparent that Foolanthropy also serves to increase awareness about charitable organizations our members might otherwise never have known about, since we tend to have a slight bias toward "small- and mid-cap" charities, if you will. So these organizations stand to benefit from Foolanthropy long after the year's drive has officially ended.

In general, at The Motley Fool, we tend to gravitate toward sustainable solutions, and Foolanthropy is no different. If we make effective decisions about how and to whom to give, we truly better our world. It's also unfortunately true that if we make poor decisions when we give, we risk wasting our donations. Due to unforeseen and unintended consequences, we may even ironically worsen the world! That's why Foolanthropy aims to further The Motley Fool's general goal of offering our members well-informed, vital, and wise options. To make every dollar count.

Here are the five tenets we use to select our Foolish charities:

1. Foolanthropy seeks to fulfill the same mission as The Motley Fool: to educate, to amuse, and to enrich. The Foolish charity is one that is able to jazz people, generate contagious enthusiasm, and get the public at large psyched about its goal.

2. Foolanthropy expects. As Foolish charities frequently confer a sense of ownership upon those whom they serve, they naturally expect a lot back: They expect their beneficiaries to exert themselves, to try, to care.

3. Foolanthropy makes its finances transparent. Anyone giving to a Foolish charity can clearly see exactly where his or her money has gone, starting with a simple look at the financial statements.

4. Foolanthropy creates sustainable solutions. Foolanthropy is far more about reaching a sustainable solution than it is about quick fixes. In other words, we seek to teach people to fish rather than simply hand out fish.

5. Foolanthropy involves the public at large. The Foolish charity can lay legitimate claim to being epic in the grandeur of its concept and its mission.

Foolanthropy Discussion Board
We encourage you to discuss any ideas, news, or thoughts on the topic of philanthropy, especially in terms of how it applies to Foolanthropy. We'd love to hear from you! Remember, a few of your dollars can save many lives. So far, The Motley Fool community has raised over $2,000,000 for some pretty amazing charities. Join us in our latest annual drive. Help us raise a bundle to make the future (and present) a better place.