Philanthropy as ‘a pebble in a pond’

Monday 17 December 2018

Today’s image of philanthropy focuses on philanthropy’s potential to act as a catalyst and create far reaching ‘ripples’. This is nicely illustrated by the idea that philanthropy is like ‘a pebble in the pond’.

While the idea of ‘a pebble in the pond’ was originally developed by Steve Wilson as a strap-line and logo for The Rank Foundation in 2004 to reflect its emphasis on relational, long term, funding to create greater impact, the analogy can subsequently also be found in the Institute for Philanthropy’s publication ‘Strategic Philanthropy: a handbook’:
“Strategic philanthropy is like throwing a stone in to a pond to cause ripples. It’s a skill. You have to get it just right. But when you do, a very small stone, of just the right shape, will cause many, many ripples.”

The Rank Foundation, Engaged Philanthropy,

Institute for Philanthropy (2012), Strategic Philanthropy: a handbook, London/New York, p.18


Drawing on some of the findings from our ‘Images of Philanthropy’ Initiative, each entry in this accompanying blog series introduces one image that has been put forward in an academic or non-academic context to depict or characterise an aspect of philanthropy in its different forms and expressions.

For further information about the ‘Images of Philanthropy’ Initiative, please contact Dr Tobias Jung.

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