A PATH TO ETHICAL PHILANTHROPY
Mark Twain said, “There is nothing more dangerous than a do-gooder”. When doing philanthropic projects in developing countries one needs to be sure he or she is not falling into this trap. Too often projects stifle initiative, create dependency, and leave things worse than they were before the program was initiated. Since 2005, the PowerFlour project has undergone a metamorphosis from a program that was creating dependency and making things worse in the long run into a program that promotes self-sufficiency, is sustainable, and effectively addresses the problem of malnutrition in a cost effective way.
After completing his education and service in the United States Army, John Herlache practiced general surgery in Door County for 28 years. During that time he instituted several medical services outside of his surgical practice that significantly improved medical care in Door County. As a Rotarian, he also was responsible for the initiation of several programs that continue to enhance the lives of those who live in Door County. It was through Rotary and his desire to provide “service Above Self” that he became involved in PowerFlour, a program to fight malnutrition in the world. It should also be perfectly clear, that while he had the role of initiator and leader for these projects, nothing is done in a vacuum. There were many other people and institutions that were very much involved in making them successful.