Q: Who is your philanthropic or charitable role model?
A: Molly Melching the founder of Tostan [the Africa-based community empowerment program] is certainly at the top of my list. She’s fantastic.
I am also inspired by new and interesting models which challenge conventional thinking about aid, like “Give Directly”. I have deep appreciation for those who engage in philanthropy in low-key, data- and impact-driven ways, and who aren’t afraid to experiment or alter course in the face of evidence.
Q: If you could start your own organization (or a second one), what would it do/focus on?
A: I did! The Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic/WAVE is an organization that is both dedicated and uniquely positioned to drive positive outcomes for the people and environment in the Lake Tanganyika Basin by:
•Delivering health care by boat to the millions living in the basin, as well as providing healthcare worker training and local health center support;
•Acting as a reliable, independent, and current knowledge bank for stake-holders, NGOs and other actors seeking to work in the region;
•Serving as a research and development platform for a wide range of parties including academic research institutions, medical technology companies, businesses, NGOs, and multi-laterals; and
•Heightening awareness both in Africa and globally of the millions effectively off the grid today in the region, and moreover the increasingly clear geopolitical, environmental and economic significance of the Lake Tanganyika Basin.
Q: Describe your giving philosophy in three words?
A: Data, Passion, & Action
Q: How do you fit in time for the causes you care about?
A: Well, my problem is more like: how do I fit in time for other activities around the cause that I care about!? Of course there are many important issues out there, so I always think it’s crucial to be generous with one’s networks and contacts. Doing good should not be a competitive sport! I can help other causes and their champions that way—simply by being generous with ideas, experience, and networks.
Q: Who in your own life inspires you by their generous work or actions? Give us two examples
A: I come from a family which has always valued and modeled civic responsibility and engagement. So, my parents and siblings certainly inspire me.
Q: Who do you think Altruette should make a charm for in 2015? (We'll enter it into a contest and will select a winner next fall.)
A: Village Health Works in Burundi or Shining Hope for Communities in Kenya (or if must be US-based, Center for Youth Wellness in San Francisco)
Q: Who would you like to hear from in our next Philanthropy Friday interview? (Please pick someone you think will inspire others to give. And please pick someone from outside your own organization.)
A: Jill Iscol, the educator, activist and philanthropist.