Money with Meaning: A Guide to Creating Joy and Impact through Philanthropy

By Alex Johnston
|
12 / 14 / 23

In 2021, at the height of a global pandemic, 98 new billionaires joined the Forbes list in America alone. Collectively, the wealthiest 100,000 Americans have now amassed over 11 trillion dollars.

As wildfires, floods, and hurricanes ravage countries all across the world, and as war and political unrest displace millions of people, the world has never been in more need of meaningful giving. Despite this, many well-intentioned, thoughtful people with lots of resources and a genuine intention to give back are not gearing up their giving in line with their own goals and the world’s needs. It’s no exaggeration to say there are hundreds of billions of dollars sitting on the sidelines in a world that is literally on fire.

Over the past dozen years, along with our team at Building Impact, I have advised donors who have given over a billion dollars to causes that matter to them, including education, democracy protection, and more. For the second half of that time, I’ve also delved deeply into the intersection of personal development, philanthropy and systems change, to explore more on what holds philanthropy back from giving more. This journey ultimately led me to distill my own learnings into a book: Money with Meaning: How to Create Joy and Impact Through Philanthropy

Catalyzing More Joyful, Impactful Giving

I wrote this book to serve primarily as a guide for ultra-high net worth individuals who want to give more in absolute dollars, while also deriving personal satisfaction from their giving and making a difference. I also explore how our psychological perspective and growth connect with our work to advance both impact and equity through philanthropy. 

I owe a huge debt of thanks to the social entrepreneurs I’ve gotten the privilege to work with over the past four years through our Joyful Impact Accelerator. Witnessing the challenges they experience raising resources has been a huge motivator to finish this book.

Whether or not you’re an ultra-high-net-worth individual, there’s a bit of something in the book for anyone who allocates resources, whether as donors, advisors, or foundation staff. Since publishing, I’ve also heard from many foundation staff members and independent philanthropic advisors that the book has helped them shift the way they think about supporting donors. I’m glad to hear it’s resonating with all members of the philanthropic community, because we all have a role to play in catalyzing more meaningful giving. 

At Building Impact Partners, we envision a world in which resource engines distribute capital in all its forms joyfully, effectively, and equitably, so that resources flow where they are most needed to create transformative impact on the issues that matter most to our shared future. My book is a resource to help facilitate a shift towards this vision: to get more meaningful giving out in the world.

I’d be thrilled if a year out from the book launch we could see billions of dollars moving from the sidelines into the hands of social entrepreneurs. It’s likely that the biggest impact of this book will be in ways I’ll never know about directly. I hope that’s true.

You can buy my book on Amazon. I continue to be so grateful to those who have shared it, reviewed it, or helped get it into the hands of the donors who could benefit from it. Thank you!  You can also get access to a free online playbook including chapter by chapter videos and worksheets through this link.

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