Promoting social and environmental justice through arts and education.

President's Welcome

According to Wikipedia, “philanthropy is the effort or inclination to increase the well-being of humankind.” The term philanthropy was coined around 2500-years ago by the Greek playwright, Aeschylus, in his work Prometheus Bound. The myth of Prometheus is about the primitive creatures who were the first humans. At first, they had no knowledge, skills, or culture of any kind, so they lived in dark caves and in constant fear for their lives. Zeus, the tyrannical king of the gods, decided to destroy them, but Prometheus, one of the Titans, interceded on their behalf and gave early man two life-empowering and life-enhancing gifts. First, he gave them fire, which he stole from Mt. Olympus-the very home of the Gods. Fire symbolizes not only physical light and warmth, but also the ‘light’ of knowledge from which all skills, technology, arts, and science could evolve and uplift man. Prometheus’ second gift was equally as precious—blind hope or optimism. With these two gifts mankind could evolve to be like the gods themselves.

Prometheus’ name arises from the Greek philanthropos tropos or in other words having a humanity-loving character. It also means forethought. Philanthropos is the combination of two words: Philos or loving, in the sense of benefitting, caring for, nourishing; and Anthropos or the human being, in the sense of humankind, humanity, or human-ness. What Prometheus evidently loved, therefore, was their human potential- what humanity could accomplish and become with fire and blind hope. These two gifts, in effect, completed the creation of humankind as a distinctly civilized animal. Philanthropia or loving what it is to be human could be considered the key to civilization.


My personal quest for finding meaning in philanthropy began nearly a decade ago after transitioning away from a twenty-two year career in the fashion industry and into a new life committed to perpetual learning and personal development in the service of others. In a just world where all humans would have their basic human rights met— the rights to shelter, food, healthcare, and education, there would be no need for philanthropy since all of us—the citizens—would be empowered to improve our lives through education and hard work in a safe and nurturing environment. But in the real world where our planet is more polluted than ever, where income inequality is at its highest, where racism still prevails, and lack of access to the most basic needs such as clean water still remains a challenge, there continues to be the need for intervention across the entire socio-political ecosystem. These areas include most significantly the interconnected challenges of advancing universal human rights and fundamental freedoms for all people, women’s and children’s rights, most critically, in ensuring environmental and ecological rights even in the most remote reaches of the Earth, in visioning holistic education models that truly develop the critical consciousness and principles of compassion in the present and future generations, and in creating transparent, ethical media so all well-informed people can manifest a thriving global community free of corporate tyranny, corruption, and prejudice in all its forms.

This journey of the past nine years has taught me to be mindful of my motivations, to be strategic yet remain spontaneous, to trust my intuition and never forget that philanthropy as we know it today, is an elite exercise. In our global and local communities where politics, economics, the environment, education, and healthcare are all inter-connected, and as our government continues to reduce budgets for education, healthcare and other social services while maintaining military spending, the responsibility lies with philanthropy to pick up the slack and fill the gap. Through indie-philanthropy and a non-linear ecosystem approach, we pursue our mission to advance a thriving global community with the ideals of social justice in all its forms by supporting organizations and innovative initiatives that are committed to such ideals, in the spirit of humanity and humility, to the advancement of all basic human rights. We at NNF contribute to the world we envision where social justice is upheld equally in the service of all peoples and where every citizen has equal opportunity to positively contribute to society by exploring their highest potential. I have personally been blessed with both “fire” and “blind hope,” and deeply believe in the power of human potential and love what it means to be a human.


-Neda Nobari