Saturday, April 14, 2007

Diaspora Philanthropy

Here's an article from about 5 years ago, concerning financial flows from the Diaspora back to the homeland:

"There is an enormous potential" in diaspora giving, says Kathleen D. McCarthy, a history professor at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York who studies philanthropy. "People are just beginning to figure out how to tap it..."

...In an era of cheap international travel and high-tech communications, "our very notions of community are being redefined," Ms. McCarthy observes. "With constant migrations of people and with the Internet as a way of keeping in touch as a community, there's a possibility for rethinking the scope and nature of philanthropy."

Pittsburgh already understands the value of its Diaspora, particularly the connections to Hollywood. There is the Steeltown Entertainment Project:

Since its formation in 2003, Steeltown has recruited 40 former Pittsburghers now successfully working in New York and Los Angeles to serve as Steeltown advisors. Steeltown has participated in dozens of conversations with advisors regarding film and television projects that they could bring to the Pittsburgh region and has, in collaboration with the student organization Pitt-in-Hollywood, presented over 30 speakers from the entertainment industry.

One of the results of these efforts is an identifiable Pittsburgh community in Los Angeles, poised to help aspiring talent currently "incubating" back home. This isn't necessarily a story about remittances from Pittsburghers working "abroad", but all kinds of capital are made available to people in Pittsburgh.

I'm curious to see how successful these initiatives are keeping creativity in Pittsburgh. I'd bet such organizations help Pittsburgh students successfully migrate to New York or Los Angeles. If that's true, that's good news. Pittsburgh will still be known as a great place to start out in the film industry.

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