At the modest offices of Responsible Wealth, a Boston-based nonprofit, Mike Lapham stops at a bulletin board covered with clippings and notices. Lapham, the organization’s co-director, points out a favorite cartoon, in which one pipe-puffing gentleman says to the other, “I used to ask myself what I could do to help my fellow man, but I couldn’t think of anything that wouldn’t put me to considerable inconvenience.”

Responsible Wealth’s goal is to counteract the mind-set that this cartoon...

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