Purpose News: January 2017

by Andrew Ripley, Co-Founder of PurposeMatch. Follow us on Twitter: @PurposeMatch and @AndrewRip

Happy New Year! Here’s some interesting news from around the world on the topics of purpose and social impact…

The "James Bond of Philanthropy" Gives Away the Last of His Fortune

I love this story about an amazing man - Charles F. Feeney, who just finished contributing his entire $8 billion net worth to charities.

None of the major American philanthropists have given away a greater proportion of their wealth, and starting in 1982, Mr. Feeney did most of this in complete secrecy, leading Forbes magazine to call him the “James Bond of philanthropy.”

His name does not appear in gilded letters, chiseled marble or other forms of writing anywhere on the 1,000 buildings across five continents that $2.7 billion of his money paid for. For years, Atlantic’s support came with a requirement that the beneficiaries not publicize its involvement...

During the early 1990s, Mr. Feeney met secretly with paramilitary forces in Belfast, Northern Ireland, urging them to drop armed guerrilla conflict and promising financial support if they embraced electoral politics. Atlantic grants paid to create a public health system in Vietnam, and to provide access to antiretroviral treatment for AIDS in southern Africa. The last rounds of grants, about $600 million, included support for Atlantic Fellows, described as young emerging leaders working in their countries for healthier, more equitable societies.

Speaking of wealth... it just so happens that Having a Sense of Purpose not only makes you happier, but it could also make you wealthier...

We already know from past research that having a greater “sense of purpose” is good for us psychologically: it’s linked with experiencing more positive emotions and generally feeling better about life.

Now a study in the Journal of Research in Personality suggests there are material benefits too. Researchers followed the same sample of people over a period of about nine years, and they found that during that time, those individuals who reported a greater sense of purpose at the study start had accumulated greater wealth. 

And finally, as we noted last month, Purpose was a major theme at the World Economic Forum Conference. 

In fact, here's another article, this time from the CEO of Royal Phillips, Frans van Houten, about "Why Every Company Should be Innovating with Purpose."

Mr. Van Houten details how Royal Phillips has implemented this strategy....

Meantime, global leaders gathered to tackle grand challenges and, from their collective discussions, were borne the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Among these, three – ensuring healthy lives; responsible consumption and production and revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development – were areas where we knew Philips could make a great and lasting contribution.

We knew we could put the company on the right side of history by decisive transformative action and by redefining our purpose to improving people's lives through innovation. We determined to become a focused health technology company that would serve customers right across the health continuum – from healthy living and prevention, through effective diagnosis and treatment, to home care – where the cycle to healthy living could be restored again.

We undertook a huge internal transformation to sharpen our customer focus, step up innovation, improve productivity to ensure competitiveness, change our culture and simplify our ways of working so that our size and scale became a competitive advantage rather than a bureaucratic hangover after years of diversification.

Definitely worth a read, and you can check out the entire article here:

Why Every Company Should be Innovating with Purpose


Oh, and by the way, looks like even the Pope is talking about Purpose!

Pope urges the faithful to help youth find purpose

So here's to a purposeful 2017!