What We’re Reading: 12 Common Criticisms of Philanthropy–and Some Answers

  • March 8, 2018
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Karl Zinsmeister, creator of The Almanac of American Philanthropy, a new encyclopedic reference to the field recently released by The Philanthropy Roundtable, describes the criticisms he heard about philanthropy while traveling around the country to talk about his new book. For example:

3. Charitable donations are just a drop in the bucket!
America’s nonprofit sector now commands 11 percent of our workforce and 6 percent of GDP—not including volunteer time, which, if we attached a reasonable hourly wage to it, nearly equals the $360 billion we donate in cash every year.

The Gates Foundation alone now distributes more overseas assistance than the entire Italian government. It is estimated that in just its first two decades, its overseas vaccine program alone will save the lives of 8 million preschool children. Then consider that members of US churches and synagogues—just one division of America’s larger philanthropic army—send four and a half times as much money overseas to poor people every year as the Gates Foundation does!

The fact that most philanthropy takes place out of the public eye—in small doses, and often in private or even anonymous ways—makes it easy to overlook its size and power. But getting seduced by the giantism of official aid is an egregious mistake. Small actions can and do converge into mighty rivers of cumulative effort.

Read the full article here: http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/12_common_criticisms