How to Use This Book
This playbook is written for people and teams who make philanthropic gifts directly to entrepreneurial nonprofit ventures—as friends and families of founders, individual givers, family offices, and executive directors of foundations—as part of their broader portfolio of capital allocation. While we believe that redemptive action is needed and applicable across all types of philanthropic activity, this playbook is written with deploying capital to innovative venture building as its primary context.
We assume that venture philanthropy is part of your portfolio because you have a particular interest in entrepreneurship, curiosity about innovation and the role of nonprofit ventures in lasting change, a desire to form personal relationships with founders and their teams, and the financial capacity and risk tolerance to develop a sustained competence in this demanding craft.
Most specifically, we write for those who see philanthropy as a deeply meaningful act of cultural creation. Redemptive philanthropists aim to create significant personal, social, cultural, or environmental impact through their giving; they are also intent on partnering with nonprofit entrepreneurs to build lasting ventures that can scale for the long run.
At Praxis we have had the privilege of working with many pioneers in this way of understanding and practicing philanthropy. They have discovered that their maturing philosophy of philanthropy has reshaped their approach to deploying most of their capital, including other types of giving and investments. This effect explains why we trust this playbook to have a broader “secondary scope”—for we hope its ideas about relationships, risk, time horizons, and cultural impact will shape our approaches to wealth stewardship as a whole.
Praxis is a community dedicated to putting our Christian faith into practice through redemptive entrepreneurship—in our leadership intentions and behavior, and in the products, services, and organizations we build and fund. So, though this book is not exclusively for Christians, it is written to Christians, as it is rooted in historic Christian conceptions of human identity, purpose, wealth, and the common good.
The playbook is structured in two main parts: a First Principles essay, followed by six sections covering areas of philanthropy that we believe are most vital to redemptive impact: Mission, Portfolio, Terms, Partnerships, Entrepreneurs, and Worth. In each section we offer several “redemptive opportunities.” Read these as a generative menu of aspirational but real-world practices that you can adapt and apply in your journey of redemptive philanthropy.