The Future of Philanthropy is Here

A message from Brian Gallagher, President and CEO of United Way Worldwide, on the future of philanthropy and how United Way is make giving accessible, easier and more effective — changing the face of philanthropy as we know it.


It’s time for vision to become reality.


Starting last week, Philanthropy Cloud is available to United Way’s corporate partners across the United States and Canada. From here, the sky is the limit.


I first wrote about the United partnership in February, but the journey began long ago.


It began when globalization collapsed geographic boundaries, and people embraced digital technology. It took form when we realized that communities around the world were becoming more polarized, and that people needed new ways to come together and strengthen our society.


Community Chest

Philanthropy Cloud is our answer. I believe it will be the Community Chest of the 21st Century.


Community Chests, an early iteration of workplace charitable giving, pooled people’s money for good causes. Philanthropy Cloud will do more – much more. It’s a game-changing platform that will connect people to community and make it easy for companies to create change at scale, in real-time and around the world.


For employees, it will mean an unparalleled, personalized experience that helps them turn their passion into action, connect with causes that matter to them, and reach out to change makers and fellow employees. The best way to explain it is by example.


Imagine seeing a homeless person on the street. Sometimes, instead of stopping, we walk by. Other times, we pause and give money or offer a kind nod. I’m willing to bet that all of us wish we could do more.


With Philanthropy Cloud, you will be able to do just that. Once you have a profile (set up through your job or eventually on your own), you can search for nearby homeless shelters to volunteer. You’ll be introduced to others passionate about the cause and discover tools and techniques to advocate for better services. Like a ripple in a pond, your actions and impact will radiate outward, growing in influence.


Empowering individuals through technology is the most effective way to create change at scale today. If the past was about institutions telling people what to do, then the future is about institutions empowering people to create the change they seek.


I’ve been working at United Way for more than 35 years. I’ve seen communities and philanthropy evolve. Yet I’ve never been more excited about the potential we have – together and individually – to make the world a better place.


Earlier this month, the United States marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. Like United Way, Kennedy believed in the power of bringing people together to create greater opportunity. Here’s how he put it: “Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.”


Philanthropy Cloud is the product of a partnership between the world’s most innovative company and the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit. Like Robert Kennedy did, we are challenging the status quo, dreaming of a better world and fighting to enable every person to lead their greatest lives.