Rising inequality in America over the past four decades has undermined living standards and social mobility, dampened economic growth, and corrupted U.S. politics.
But what about the effects of inequality on civil society and the nonprofit sector? That question has gotten much less attention. Yet there are growing signs that the vast chasm between the super-wealthy and everyone else is also having negative effects in these realms, too.
The problem, in a nutshell, is that the rich have become an ever-more dominant force in philanthropic giving, and as a result, increasingly shape the priorities of civil society. While many Americans still take great pride in U.S.’s remarkably diverse nonprofit sector—seeing it as the realm of the everyman, as Tocqueville famously said—this view is dated and romanticized in key respects. Many of the most influential nonprofits today depend not on the membership dues or small donations that once powered leading civil society groups in earlier eras, but on the largesse of wealthy donors and private foundations. With that largesse comes clout.
Read the full article by David Callahan about inequality from Inside Philanthropy
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