Giving Compass’ Take:
• Sally Osberg shares her insight on how proximity and closeness to others strengthens our abilities to be social changemakers in the world because it helps us to listen to the people around us.
• How can developing empathy help philanthropists with their impact giving?
• Read about how the skills needed as a social entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Proximity with our fellow humans awakens our feelings of empathy and compels us to respond. Person to person, in groups and communities, we are better able to understand each other, relate to one another’s needs, and feel moved to act. But faced with injustice and suffering on a large scale, we can feel overwhelmed. When our individual impulse to give and then give more begins to wane, we draw back and look for ways to turn problems over to the agencies we believe have the mandate to develop solutions commensurate with the scale and scope of what’s needed.
Like others, I am heartened by how many have embraced the challenge to regenerate the institutional pillars of their democracies. People of all ages, across all backgrounds and from communities the world over have come together to hold the powerful to account, to insist on more just and sustainable societies.
The Skoll Foundation’s years of supporting social entrepreneurs and learning from their experiences have shaped our understanding of successful social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs must commit to proximity to gain knowledge of the contexts affecting the communities they serve and the institutions that can help them scale their solutions. They don’t try to be the smartest people in the room but to ensure that those most engaged in and affected by their societies’ challenges come together in order to forge the alliances that will accelerate true and lasting equilibrium change.
The social entrepreneurs who gather at Oxford, and virtually around the world, have sparked conversations leading to real action. This community has helped us see ourselves not as philanthropic protagonists, but as fellow travelers—as proximate partners.
Read the full article about proximity by Sally Osberg at Thomson Reuters Foundation.
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