The Tenets of Foolanthropy

Foolanthropy is The Motley Fool's take on philanthropy, and it all started as one of the Internet's first community charity drives.

Through the years, Foolanthropy has supported many world causes, but in 2007 we announced our refocused commitment to financial literacy for young people. The Motley Fool, through Foolanthropy, is committed to helping ensure that young people enter adulthood armed with a basic financial education. We accomplish this goal by working with Foolish partners in the financial-literacy arena to help spread financial and economic education to schools and communities. 

What makes a partner organization Foolish?
In keeping with our mission at The Motley Fool to educate, amuse, and enrich, we aim to support organizations with long-term, sustainable goals and transparent, sound finances -- the very same thing we would expect from any of our stock picks. The questions we ask when determining Foolanthropy worthiness include:  

  1. Does it offer a long-term, sustainable solution, as opposed to a quick, temporary fix? We tend to favor organizations that have programs that encourage self-sustaining solutions. Teaching financial literacy, by definition, provides a long-term sustainable solution to an increasingly evident educational shortcoming.  Every potential partner organization can have a different approach, but each should strive to produce similar results: arming young people with the necessary financial skills.
  2. Are its finances transparent and sound? We conduct due diligence on each potential partner organization, and we expect them to have sound financials. The management team should have the background needed to run the organization, for instance, and the board of directors should have qualified experts. We also look at financials, with an eye toward excessive overhead, egregious CEO compensation, and any other red flags that point to a lack of stability within the organization.
  3. Is the organization small enough for our support to make a difference, yet established and broad-minded enough that we can be certain of its reputation, effectiveness, and appeal? We like to know that we're making a real difference in an organization's ability to operate effectively, but we also want to make sure we choose partners that are established and that have broad appeal to as many Fools as possible.
  4. Do our readers support it? Partner organizations are selected by The Motley Fool, but the real impact and support comes from the entire Fool community. It's important as we conduct our due diligence to consider reader support for each potential organization.
  5. And finally, does it educate, amuse, and enrich? As with everything we do at the Fool, we like to have fun while we educate and enrich. Is the charity innovative in its approach to problem-solving? Is it working in a unique way that merits enthusiasm and attention? If it is, it's probably a good candidate.

If an organization can pass those tests, then we would consider it a Foolish candidate worthy of consideration for Foolanthropy.


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Foolanthropy 2010

“With an innovative, deserving partner in Thurgood, we’re focusing our efforts where Fools can make a real difference,” says Motley Fool Co-founder and CEO Tom Gardner. This holiday season, help The Motley Fool give disadvantaged students a superior education.

To learn more about our adopted school, or to make a donation, click here.

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