Both Presidential candidates are claiming to be philanthropic, and both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have their own foundations. The Nonprofit Quarterly just issued an article entitled, “The Influence on Philanthropy on the Presidential Election.” I read it with interest and then wondered, “Who else really cares aside from those of us who are immersed in the field of philanthropy?”
Short answer: no one, really. At least – not in my social circle. I conducted a quick, unscientific poll of my friends and family, asking how the candidates’ philanthropic actions would sway their vote for that candidate.
No one knew a lot about the candidates’ respective foundations and no one cared. And despite the fact that philanthropic causes are one of my passions, I don’t care either. Really, I want to know and understand where each candidate falls in terms of domestic, economic and defense issues. I want to know whether they’ll keep an open mind on hearing others out. I want to know if they can play well with others, or if they will fly off the handle and start a nuclear war (ahem, Trump). And yes – I want to know if they will follow up their words with action and actually give to the causes that they promise to support. But, in the end, it still comes down to their views on the economy, our country and our international relations.
So to all my philanthropic peers – I beg of you: don’t distract us with trying to focus on the issues that aren’t nearly as important or impact the everyday American. Yes, it would be great if we could one day get to a place where every American “gets” the importance of philanthropy. But that is not where we are today, and we definitely won’t be there by November 8th.