Giving Compass’ Take:
• Dara Major discusses the criticisms of legacy foundations and why new philanthropy LLCs get more praise for taking risks.
• Do you agree with Major’s assessment? How should critiques of philanthropy play into your philanthropic strategy decisions?
• Read about one philanthropic legacy focused on empowerment.
For the last decade or so, the philanthropic sector has been struggling to adapt to changing external conditions — including government devolution, the rise of the knowledge economy, the dramatic deepening of inequality, new players, new opportunities and a growing popular awareness of philanthropy itself — and by extension reckoning with its very purpose. Some major, mainstream national conference themes throughout this period can be distilled as:
- Should a foundation have goals and strategies?
- Should a foundation engage stakeholders?
- Should a foundation invest in things that are counter to its mission?
Yikes. What makes this sector unique is not that it wrestles with these questions, but that such a large segment of it struggles to align practice with purpose.
For instance, according to a recent study by the Center for Effective Philanthropy, fully two-thirds of foundation CEOs believe it is possible for foundations to make a significant difference in society – but few think they are actually doing it. Why? Most cited internal organizational barriers that are under their own control to address: too many goals, lack of agreement on goals, undisciplined implementation of strategies, lack of long-term commitment, and… fear.
Read the full article about legacy foundations and risk-taking by Dara Major at Philanthropy New York, via The Center for Effective Philanthropy.
Learning and benchmarking are key steps towards becoming an impact giver. If you are interested in giving with impact on Impact Philanthropy take a look at these selections from Giving Compass.
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