Media Philanthropy

I’ve been working on what I think is a new style of giving I’m calling “media philanthropy.” I’m sure many folks have had this idea before, and I gotta think that someone has already done this. However, I can’t seem to find any major examples of it.

The one example I know of right now is Fred Wilson who donates the proceeds from his personal blog, and I understand he is making $10k $2k (thanks for update Fred.. I thought I remember a top month where you had Sonos ads or something) a month.

The concept of MP is to create sustainable, high-quality media properties that generate not only awareness–but also revenue–to make the world a little better.

On Friday I’m going to announce my first two partners for my personal podcast which I’m calling CalacanisCast. I don’t need to make money from my personal podcast, but I realized that the podcast will create an amazing advertising opportunity for certain sponsors. I really don’t have the time to sell the ads, so that value was going to just go away.

After announcing my plan for CalacanisCast two weeks ago I received a dozen emails offering support. Two people took out their checkbooks to host and support the podcast and their two donations will be over $100,000 for the year.

Think about that… I’m going to read live commercials for these two parties on the show, and in return they are going to give $100k to my personal charity Bay Ridge Prep. I’m on the board of Bay Ridge Prep, which is a small private school in Brooklyn that is less than 10 years old but already has 200 students. Going to school like BRP costs over $10,000 a year.

That’s something my parents could have never afforded, and certainly there are many poor families which could never (never, ever) consider a private school at all. So, with these first two donations we’re going to put two seriously disadvantage kids, from families that are having a hard time even making their monthly bills, into a private school for 4-6 years.

Imagine that… one day you’re in a public school class with 45 students in it and the next day you’re in a private school with an average class size of 15. Huge!

Ted Turner sold CNN and gave his fortune to charity. That was an amazing gesture by an amazing man (highly recommend Ken Auletta‘s bio of Ted btw). Imagine if he didn’t sell CNN, but rather turned it into a non-profit and gave all the profits to the UN every year. Instead a of huge one-time donation there would be a sustainable resource. Not sure if that’s better or not, but it is interesting to think about for sure.

We’ve been wondering what to do with HackADay.com, one of the old Weblogs, Inc. blog which we didn’t sell. I’m thinking we could make it a non-profit and donate the proceeds to the EFF to defend hackers and freedom on the Web.

I’m going to really put my effort into the podcast and try and get AMAZING value for my first two sponsors. I’m just blown away that folks respond so quickly and generously–you guys are amazing (and you know who you are).

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