PhilanthroCapitalism is much more than a mouthful to say…

Nick Ayton
8 min readOct 29, 2021
Its more than just Doing Good…humanity surviving may depend on it!

There are few words harder to say, or movements gaining momentum like “Philanthropic Capitalism” especially after a few sherbets. Two words from different realms thrust together. Let’s be honest the words and where they come from seems odd when placed together — philanthropy and capitalism. Odd bed fellows indeed.

I must admit I didn’t realise philanthropy was linked to profit, or capitalism allows giving stuff away for free. But then lots of the tags are subverted for media purposes. Or just maybe some peoples idea of philanthropy is only to do with profit motives?

Wiki describes it like this:

Philanthrocapitalism is a way of doing philanthropy, which mirrors the way that business is done in the for-profit world. It may involve venture philanthropy that actively invests in social programs to pursue specific philanthropic goals that would yield return on investment over the long term, or in a more passive form whereby “social investors” benefit from investing in socially-responsible programs.

Yes I like cake and I want to eat yours too…

As described the new word feels like philanthropists want their cake and eat it. Yes I will give money, investment money as long as the returns mirror the for-profit business world. This also I assume the same measures and metrics are used by the business world to judge success…?

I can’t help feeling there is a mismatch here, and certainly the Family Offices we speak with agree, Whilst Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are heralded as great philanthropists, much of what they give away is supported by ‘trade programs’ that accumulate large profits to fund their foundations, supported by UN Directives and Sustainability objectives. In essence philanthropy can represent massive tax breaks, and a positive PR campaign for their brands and share price. It’s all about Doing Good right, that is also good for business right?

The art of giving has its benefits to. While others just want their name above the door and to be remembered. But there is a certain amount of distrust of the real motives of both the gentlemen mentioned above.

Family Philanthropy has shifted

Nick Ayton

Nick Ayton is General Partners Multi Family Office, Futurist, Film Maker