Episode 3: Philanthropy & Entrepreneurship: Stephen Culp

About the Episode

Host Monty Bruell chats with entrepreneur, angel investor, and philanthropist Stephen Culp about the changing face of philanthropy. Now more than ever, individuals and small groups have found new ways to work together and make things happen in their communities.

Behind the Episode: The future of philanthropy

Almost three decades after the Red Hot Chili Peppers first sang
“Give it away, Give it away, Give it away now,” few things are
more in vogue among America’s uber-wealthy than talking about
how they’re gonna give away all their darn money. In fact,
billionaires Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates have
formally created The Giving Pledge. So far, 170 of their
philanthropically minded ilk have drunk the Kool-Aid and pledged
to give away at least half of their wealth. Now that’s a chunk o’

I suppose that this is a good thing (and on the whole sure does
beat a sharp stick in the eye), but what does it really say about
our society…and about us? Back in the good ol’ days, such
fantastic wealth was generally inherited and passed down from
one generation to the next. It was considered gauche to talk
about money or to call attention to one’s charitable giving.
Creating foundations and giving to good causes was just
considered noblesse oblige, a duty that came with one’s
aristocratic station in life.

However, times they are a changin’. At no time in the history of
man has it been more true than now that the rich are getting
richer and the poor are getting poorer. The good news is that,
thanks in large part to technology, we are creating new
millionaires and even billionaires at a dizzying pace. Sadly
though, we are also sending people and families into poverty at
an even faster rate. Watch out, Middle Class. The hangman is
coming down from the gallows, and he appears to have his sights
set on you!

Time and time again we’ve seen that money isn’t the solution to
every problem. It may not be the best solution to most problems. So what if billionaires want to give away all their money to good causes? What’s the big deal? Well, for starters, we run the danger of creating a culture of dependency and learned helplessness. After all, isn’t it better to teach a man to
fish than to simply give him a bucket of fish? Next (if you’re the
rich guy) is stroking a big ol’ check really enough? There’s
something to be said for working shoulder to shoulder with your
neighbors to improve your community. Finally, giving away
money isn’t a sufficient counter to the sense of entitlement that a
lot of our 1 percenters feel.

So, what is the answer? Across America (in communities big and
small) people are finding ways to reach out and lend a hand. In
Chattanooga, Tennessee, there are organizations like Causeway
and The UnFoundation that inspire good works and provide
resources to get the jobs done. On the latest installment of
Studio Next, I talk with Stephen Culp, a founder, entrepreneur,
and investor. Stephen brings lessons learned from the Peace
Corps to the philanthropic world. As founder of Causeway, he
has brought live to the Peace Corps mantra, “Help people to help

Tune in and take a listen. I hope that you will be inspired to
make a difference in the world around you with the resources you
already have. So, use your knowledge, give of your time, and
lend a hand. I don’t really mean to discount the generosity of the
wealthy. We certainly need their philanthropy. All I’m saying is
that we shouldn’t wait for solutions to come down from on high.
Let’s just engage with our neighbors, roll up our sleeves, and
create positive change by working together to improve our

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *