The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most prosperous places in the United States, home to technological giants, entrepreneurial universities, and cities where more billionaires per capita reside than almost anywhere else in the world. But the Bay Area is also one of the nation’s most economically unequal places, marked by widening income inequality and under-resourced nonprofits. Alarmed by the region’s “prosperity paradox”—which intensified during the coronavirus pandemic—Northern California Grantmakers and Open Impact called on philanthropy “to chart a course toward a more caring, connected, and equitable region.” While inequality in the Bay Area has gained renewed attention in our time, the region’s simultaneous extremes of progress and poverty also concerned donors of the past. Their giving attempted to resolve disparities in wealth and political power in the region, and their successes and failures provide lessons for philanthropists of our era.

  • Philanthropy can allow some disadvantaged groups to influence civic life
  • Philanthropy can address public sector gaps
  • Philanthropy can divert or strengthen social movements
  • Places can shape how we give

Read the full article about lessons in philanthropy by Michah McElroy at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.