Over the next few days I will be in Chicago for the Women Leading Philanthropy Symposium. In the most positive sense possible, I hope that the symposium will have a high degree of disruption. In my world, disruption can lead to change and advancement. Let me explain.
Until recently, the word philanthropist tended to conjure up images of older, white men whose names are scrawled across the front of buildings at their Alma Mater or who fund high profile, big money endowments.
Today, there is a wave of next generation female change-makers who are embracing technology, leadership and innovative funding models to invigorate philanthropy for their generation. They are disrupting the way philanthropy has been working.
Young people have increasingly disposable incomes either through wealth they have created or inherited and they are becoming wiser about how to use it effectively. Whereas philanthropy used to be about writing a cheque and feeling good about yourself, young people today are more interested in being active philanthropists. They want to drive change rather than be passive.
A big shift we have seen is that young people don't tend to care about having their name attached to something. Instead they want to see granular impact down to the individuals they are affecting.
For this new breed of young philanthropist their giving is very personal. At the same time they see themselves as part of larger giving communities that give to a particular issue or a specific region. The thinking follows: If I can cause my impact with how I'm giving, I can be a leader who inspires others to give. They understand that individuals can accomplish more collectively.
While we share the same goals: economic growth, political stability and social innovation; the leaders of the G20 and the G(irls)20 delegates have different approaches. Perhaps it is because they are young or perhaps its because they have grown up in a riskier time. Whatever the reason, the 18- to 20-year-old girls we choose from around the world to share recommendations with G20 leaders are willing to go out on a limb. They are motivated, agitated, and disruptive. They are social entrepreneurs who are working to solve the world's toughest challenges and they are the new breed of philanthropist.
These young women are at the most impressionable part of their lives and we cultivate them to be the next generation of leaders. We teach them to look for local solutions to global challenges, create a business plan on how to solve them, and present their solutions to the world's leaders and then take these ideas back home and put them into action.
Traditionally, philanthropy has been about how much money you have. Today, money is not the only factor. Skills, networks and ideas are also seen as a form of currency when it comes to being a philanthropist.
One G(irls)20 leader had the idea to tackle illiteracy by creating a mobile library. She wrote a communications plan, got a bus donated, ripped down the seats, built bookshelves, got books donated and she had a mobile library. None of this took money. Yes, someone had to pay for gas, but she thought outside the box and achieved her mission - improve lives and improve opportunities. She found an awesome solution to a big problem that is affordable and scalable.
Now that is what can happen when you disrupt the status quo through effective philanthropy.
Farah Mohamed is the President & CEO of G(irls)20, a global organization that brings together one girl, aged 18-20 from each G20 country, plus a representative from the European and African Unions, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the MENA region to debate and design solutions that will economically advance girls and women around the world and present these ideas to G20 Leaders. The delegates return home and start their own social profit enterprises.