Wealth, Power and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age

Thursday, April 13, 2017 -
9:00am to 11:00am EDT
Philanthropy New York, 1500 Broadway, 7th Floor, NYC
Members of PNY & Partner Orgs: 
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Since he launched the news site Inside Philanthropy in 2014, David Callahan has thoroughly enjoyed the role of provocateur. Whether he’s naming the foundations he thinks spend way too much on overhead or profiling the high-flying billionaires who have attended private schools their entire lives but are nonetheless on a mission to fix America’s schools, Callahan is a master of the Buzzfeed-style headline. He also has several very substantial ideas for reforming the philanthropic sector that will surely be just as controversial as his catchy headlines. 

In his new book “The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age,” to be published in April 2017 by Alfred A. Knopf, Callahan serves up plenty of insights from the funder profiles he’s been doing for years. His focus is on the “New Givers” – especially those who come out of tech and finance – and how their approaches to giving differ from the large philanthropic institutions that nonprofits have come to know so well.  One of his central questions: Are these new mega-donors disrupting democracy?

Watch live stream here: 
(Registration not required)

One man who knows a little something about what motivates today’s new philanthropists is Silicon Valley Community Foundation President Emmett Carson.  Since SVCF formed in 2007, it has become the largest community foundation in the world, with more than $8 billion in assets under management. Carson probably talks to more mega-donors about how they want to spend their charitable dollars than anyone else in California.

Carson and Callahan will offer up points of debate for Philanthropy New York members in discussion facilitated by New York Women’s Foundation President Ana Olivera.

In a “debate-style” format of 20 minute segments with time for audience questions in each, Carson and Callahan will discuss their perspectives on:

  1. Who are the New Givers and how are they different? What are their strategies and approaches, like earlier giving, bigger bets, more spend down, impact investing, and a rising focus on public policy? What are the implications of all this for legacy foundations? 
  2. What are the new structures of giving? Why are DAFs and other intermediaries exploding, like women's funding networks? What are the implications? 
  3. Does philanthropy threaten civic equality and democracy?
  4. Charitable v. Politicized Philanthropy. Can “politicized” philanthropy be isolated and defined separately from what is purely charitable? Should politicized philanthropy be limited?
  5. Transparency. How can we engender greater transparency? Are more rules, regulations or legislation necessary to ensure oversight of the philanthropic sector?
  6. Accountability. Does philanthropy need to be more accountable, broadly, to the American public? How? 

Copies of the book will be made available to attendees, on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • The new mechanisms of social change that are being employed by the mega-wealthy.
  • The role of philanthropy in a thriving democracy 
  • The debates about reforms being proposed to bring greater transparency and accountability to the philanthropic sector


Designed for

All interested funders.


8:45 - 9:00 AM  Check-in
9:00 - 11:00 AM  Program

Registration is required by April 12th

Members: To register yourself and/or a colleague at your organization, please log in and click the Register Now link above.

Non-Member Funders: Please email register@philanthropynewyork.org. ($150 fee)

Please email register@philanthropynewyork.org with any questions.

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