Just when I thought I'd seen it all . . .
March 3rd, 2008. . . comes Oprah's Big Give - Oprah's new "reality" TV show that was introduced last night on ABC. I did wait until I actually viewed it before expressing my opinion.
A "charitable" view would be: "Hey Diana who does this harm anyway? It may inspire people to give back to their community and why should YOU complain when sometimes organized philanthropy may not always address all the needs in our communities." Okay . . . I realize all this.
However, I am concerned when giving back is depicted as a contest - - - - okay I hear another possible comeback - "But isn't that what applying for a grant from the GRCF or any other funder is like?" NO! This isn't a popularity contest.
So here's what has me going on this one. I do not like the depiction of giving as a commercial act of charity and the show seems to be a takeoff on "The Apprentice" in its approach to giving. Good and responsible philanthropy examines needs, tests various approaches to address the needs and measures the relative success. It is long term - not necessarily depressing or sobering but frankly sometimes it is.
I hope that people are inspired more by what happens in their own communities and giving to organizations that can make a difference. Don't be afraid to give and always ask what has happened because of your generosity.