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robertogreco : jessiespector   3

Philanthropists Should Put Themselves Out of Business — The Development Set — Medium
"Instead, we must organize to confront and change the cultural and economic systems that perpetuate inequality."

"The fundamental problem, though, is that philanthropy is voluntary. It is not a long-term solution to society’s ills to rely on the benevolence of the wealthy, even those who are focused on social justice philanthropy.

Instead, we must organize to confront and change the cultural and economic systems that perpetuate inequality. By “we,” I mean those of us with wealth and existing foundations. Our long-term goal should be to put ourselves out of business."

"It means advocating for mandates like raising the minimum wage and requiring an annual payout higher than 5 percent for foundations. We could even consider legislation requiring foundations to share the power and decision-making over where and how their philanthropic dollars are spent with the people who are directly affected by economic injustice. Many social justice funders already do this, but legally requiring the presence of non-wealthy people on foundation boards would produce a real sea change.


In the end, the real issue is that the wealth in foundations shouldn’t all be theirs to begin with. This country was founded on the genocide of Native Americans and the forced labor of enslaved Africans. The stolen land, labor, and lives served to amass resources for mostly white European men. That is the history of wealth accumulation in the United States, and we need to face it squarely.

And yet our culture reinforces the myth that wealth is accumulated through the hard work of extraordinary individuals (again, disproportionately white men) who deserve every penny, when the reality is anything but.

Wealth is generated from the hard work of ordinary individuals, who labor and produce or grant access to their land — or have it taken from them. It isn’t that those who are accumulating wealth don’t work hard to get it or maintain it. It’s that, if the myth of meritocracy were true, there would not be millions of working poor people who struggle through multiple jobs or work over 40 hours a week just to scrape by.

Calling into question the very myths that uphold wealth accumulation and class privilege allows us to reckon with the ways that wealthy people are given unfair boosts in our society. Without recognizing that philanthropy is one of those boosts, we’ll be hard-pressed to actually address wealth inequality as we know it."

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philanthropicindustrialcomplex  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  2016  change  jessiespector  inequality  socialjustice  work  labor  economics  power  foundations  capitalism  control 
august 2016 by robertogreco
A New Gospel of Philanthropy? — The Development Set — Medium
"How should philanthropy consider the tension between its maker and its mission? In many cases, foundations wish to solve social problems like extreme poverty and hunger — but acquire their resources through forces that have arguably helped create those very problems. Can philanthropy get past this contradiction? How?"

[***] "In Philanthropy, Who Is Actually Broken?" by Courtney Martin

“The story we’ve told about the poor in America, the story that we continue to ask them to tell in order to get funding, is that they’re broken. In fact, we are.”

In this thoughtful essay, writer Courtney Martin highlights people and institutions who break traditional hierarchies by elevating the voices of traditional recipients of philanthropic dollars — people of color, the working class, and women. Relationships, she asserts, are at the center of all good work.
Philanthropists need more than ‘big ideas’ about how their profession could and should change. They need radically new habits — or these ideas just become bold in theory.

"A Bright New Generation Battles Inequality" by Darren Walker

Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, noted the significance of our current moment: Populist sentiment is rising on both sides of the political spectrum, and evidence shows that people are increasingly dissatisfied with capitalism.

Philanthropists, he says, must grapple seriously with the root causes of inequality — and he expresses faith in their ability to face them with ingenuity.
This is a tremendous opportunity to get in front of questions about how philanthropy and our economic system intertwine.

[***] "Philanthropists Should Put Themselves Out of Business" by Jessie Spector

Jessie Spector, Executive Director of Resource Generation, is on a truth-telling mission. The new mandate of philanthropists, she says, should be to put themselves out of business by organizing for structural change and advocating for redistributive policies — all while honoring the histories of “stolen land, labor, and lives” that have led to unequal wealth accumulation in the United States.
Instead, we must organize to confront and change the cultural and economic systems that perpetuate inequality.

"Hey, Philanthropy: Don’t Wring Your Hands. Get to Work." by Richard V. Reeves

The Brooking Institute’s Richard Reeves challenges philanthropists to recognize the inherent tension at the heart of their work, and then move on to action. What if big foundations fought inequality not just with their operating budgets but also with their assets, through socially responsible investments? What if philanthropy was more purposely experimental?
There is a real tension at the heart of contemporary philanthropy. The challenge is to make it a creative one.

[***] "How to Fix Philanthropy" by Daniel Lurie

Daniel Lurie, CEO of Tipping Point, which operates under an “intentionally hungry model” of zero endowment, believes philanthropy has an “existential crisis.” As a first step to counter it, he said, we need to embrace honest and uncomfortable conversations about race and class.
We need to get hungrier, partner with the public sector, and have uncomfortable conversations about race and class.
philanthropicindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  inequality  us  2016  leahhunt-hendrix  jeekim  fordfoundation  courtneymartin  darrenwalker  jessiespector  richardreeves  daniellurie  charitableindustrialcomplex  race  class  racism  institutionalracism  capitalism  power  control 
august 2016 by robertogreco
If you really want to make a difference Mark Zuckerberg, let go of your power | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian
"The Facebook CEO is the latest ‘philanthrocapitalist’ to try to make a better world. But when the rich meddle with development, can they ever disrupt the status quo?"

"Occupy would never have been funded by a large philanthropic organisation, but the spontaneous global movement is almost wholly responsible for putting the issue of inequality on the political map. Large private donors are prepared to fund technocratic causes, and in more enlightened cases – “democracy”, but they’re not prepared to relinquish power and control themselves. In fact, they only serve to concentrate power further into an increasingly narrower set of ideas about how change happens.

For example, the Gates Foundation makes a decision about vaccines and requires governments to match fund the donation to access it. Those governments then have to choose between saying no to funding for vaccinating, or diverting funds from something else, such as public health or education. Gates made the de facto decision for that government. His new agricultural alliance was similarly defined: bring together large agri-business and government to improve agriculture in Africa on a technology-rich, large-land-holder led platform. Green agro-ecology approaches, despite having been proving significant success in the region where it has been applied, get sidelined.

Parmar sees this as even more sinister. “There are other priorities other than those that are publicly stated – increasing the level of power, through increasing their networks in non-western countries,” he says.

The funding arena has become increasingly narrow, focused on issues like health or education. Very few focus on voice, power or challenging the mainstream. Anyone who has filled out long funding application forms, struggling to come up with short-term targets and outcomes, will have felt the limits of the donor relationship. Indeed, most foundations are now more focused on “value for money” than ever before, in spite of the fact that development is complex, and attribution for success can’t usually be ascribed to any one intervention.

Coupled with the trend towards governments limiting the ability of charities or grassroots organisations to campaign in many parts of the world – from India to China, and increasingly on western shores – development NGOs, enabled by the funding community, are at risk of becoming little more than contract agencies who deliver basic public services while further entrenching a system of inequality and divisions. If governments are stripping citizens’ rights, if communities are divided, if resources are extracted only to benefit the wealthy elite, then we will be aiding and abetting the status quo, leading to a shrinking and less vibrant civil society in the long run. And a less vibrant and agile civil society signals a reduction in long-term development for the many. “Is there a model of power and development which is more focused on local concerns through local participation itself?” asks Parmar.

A powerful letter written by Jessie Spector, the executive director of Resource Generation, urges Zuckerberg to let go of power and to fund root causes. In an ideal world, Zuckerberg never would have been allowed to accrue this much wealth and dictate how it would be spent. But in the world of realpolitik, I would take Spector’s recommendations further, and say to Zuckerberg: set up an independent entity; don’t sit on the board; set some guidelines about tackling root causes like corporate power or tax justice; ensure smaller organisations have access to the funds without jumping through excessive hoops; make sure it’s governed openly by a broad group of stakeholders, representing gender, race, class, none of whom can sit on the board indefinitely and finally, agree to relinquish control. Only then can Zuckerberg truly begin to make a positive difference with his wealth and dent the power dynamics that dominate the funding community."
deborahdane  philanthropy  philanthrocapitalism  inequality  democracy  wealth  2016  markzuckerberg  georgesoros  billgates  power  control  influence  jessiespector  gatesfoundation  charity  charitableindustrialcomplex  robberbarrons  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  capitalism 
january 2016 by robertogreco

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