At the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s 2013 Nonprofit Management Institute, Dr. James Doty criticizes Silicon Valley’s reluctance to attribute success to support and goodwill in favor of personal genius. He argues for the necessity of altruism and funding for both societal and individual benefit. Drawing on his expertise as a neurosurgeon, Doty highlights the mental and physical health benefits that result from compassion. Referencing a “compassion deficit” among the wealthy, he addresses their general fear of “wasting” funds, despite access to vast resources. Finally, using his personal story as an example of the importance of social entrepreneurship and funding support, Doty urges listeners to consider whether the amount of emphasis our society places on compassion is enough.
Dr. Doty is a practicing neurosurgeon and professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University. He is also director of the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism, serves as a chairman of the Dalai Lama foundation (among other nonprofits), and is an active entrepreneur and philanthropist. Facing a test of character, Doty followed through on a promise to give valuable stock to a promising start-up, despite losing most of his wealth in the dot-com crash.