Giving Compass’ Take:
• In this Center for Effective Philanthropy story, Lori Bartczak grapples with conflicting data regarding whether the sector is growing and improving.
• What might explain the stagnation that Bartczak has observed over the past two decades? Are the positive examples of today really indicative of a tipping point for the sector?
• To learn more about what effective philanthropy success looks like, click here.
As Grant Oliphant of the Heinz Endowments kicked off the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s 2019 conference, he reminded us of the seriousness of the time we’re in — increasing income inequality, a climate crisis that is quickly approaching, and a rise in xenophobia and hate. I felt fear and hopelessness take grip in me — feelings that have become increasingly familiar the past few years. I looked around the ballroom at my philanthropic colleagues, thought about the vast amounts of money, knowledge, and talent this group represents, and wondered, “What difference are we making?”
As I sat there, I reflected on the dozens of philanthropic conferences I’ve been to over nearly two decades … and how much seems to have stayed the same. There were a lot of familiar faces in the room and a lot of familiar questions up for discussion — should philanthropy be more regulated? Should foundations live in perpetuity? Is philanthropy a force for social good or a vanity project for the wealthy?
I believe in the power of learning together to drive changes in practice. Yet despite all this earnest discussion in hotel ballrooms over plated chicken lunches, data show that much of what we tout as good practice is not taking hold. There continues to be a lack of diversity in foundation leadership. And no matter how many conference sessions end with rallying cries for increased general operating support, the proportion of unrestricted grant dollars has held steady at a paltry 20 percent.
Read the full article about philanthropy sector by Lori Bartczak at the Center for Effective Philanthropy.
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