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In October 2014, David Callahan, editor of Inside Philanthropy, posted a blog called Be Afraid: The Five Scariest Trends in Philanthropy. Callahan’s ‘trends’ all relate to philanthropy in the US. Are these specifically US trends or are they happening more widely? In either event, how scary are they? Alliance magazine asked a number of observers from around the world – from India, Mexico, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa and the UK – for their reactions. Their responses formed the basis of an Alliance article, ‘Should we be afraid?’ published on January 19. This program will look at Callahan’s trends and ask: are these significant trends in the US? If so, should we be worried about them? Are these trends observable in other countries and regions?
The five ‘scary trends’ are:
- The growing push to convert wealth into power through philanthropy The ‘footprint of private money’ has grown in many aspects of US life, particularly education.
- How philanthropic dollars have become another form of political money While philanthropic money has always been used to influence policy, now more money – and therefore potentially more influence – is involved.
- The decline of the public sector relative to private funders Cuts in public sector spending mean increased clout for private funders.
- The rise of the know-it-all funder ‘Hands-on living mega donors’ also bring with them the possibility of ‘big screwups’.
- A rising flood of anonymous money The lack of transparency has particularly worrying implications for political funding.
- Are these trends really scary? What makes them so?
- How they manifesting in the U.S. and internationally (or not)
- What can funders do as they navigate within this shifting context
- Charles Keidan, Philanthropy Practice Research Fellow, Centre for Giving and Philanthropy, Cass Business School - City University London
- Timothy Ogden, Contributing Editor, Alliance Magazine
- David Callahan (Moderator), Founder & Editor, Inside Philanthropy
All interested funders.
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