Books & Ideas

Warranted wariness of philanthropic “problem-solving”

Civil society should not be seen by experts, or funders, merely as a tool to solve social problems.

Philanthropy is power — for better and worse

Considering the principle of “subsidiarity” as a way to untangle the complex relationship between philanthropy, power, and justice.


Making generous children: a review of “The Gift Inside the Box” by Adam and Allison Grant

With increasing wealth inequality, more parents are more concerned to foster generosity in their kids. A new children’s book from Adam and Allison Grant seeks to teach children about gift-giving.

Is the business of business business?

Sector-bending has always been a symptom of a larger intellectual problem: utopianism.


“The almoner of the world”: America’s role in global charity

A recent book discusses the role of religious media in promoting international charity and humanitarian aid. With new communication technology and access to photography in the 18th century, Christian missionaries and magazines publicized images and stories of dire need abroad, driving American Christians to give generously in support of the needy in foreign lands.

A look at Anand Giridharadas’ “Winners Take All”

Giridharadas prescribes the replacement of one center of power for another. Where does that leave civil society?


Realism vs. radicalism: the practice and promise of philanthropy

Phil Buchanan’s “Giving Done Right” offers practical advice to grantmakers during times of radical outcry.

The higher calling of fundraising

Several authors reflect on the value of nonprofit fundraising as a vocation and its role in strengthening our democracy. They also also offer important practical tips for fundraising professionals.


Back row America: the fascinating work of Chris Arnade

Bond trader-turned-writer and photojournalist of the “down-and-out,” Arnade has insightful lessons to share with philanthropists who are serious about helping the poor.

“Art of the Steal” raises tough questions about donor intent

A documentary that details the fight over the stewardship of a $25-billion art collection raises enduring questions of donor intent.




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