Before an almost-century-old social club, retired Bradley Foundation vice president remembers a famous cinematic bank run and overviews conservative-grantmaking history, then talks about philanthropic hubris, grantmaking in Russia, the Bradley brothers’ affinity for Milwaukee, and an increasing preference for localism on the part of donors.
Last week, The Giving Review co-editor Daniel P. Schmidt spoke by Zoom for more than an hour to the Right Angle Club of Philadelphia, a social club founded in 1922 for the intellectual enrichment of its members.
In the first, about 17-minute audio clip from his remarks below, the longtime vice president for program of Milwaukee’s Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation talks about the importance of faith and social trust, after playing the notorious “bank-run” scene from It’s a Wonderful Life; reflects on Alexis de Tocqueville’s thinking about the value of civil society; and overviews the historical success of ideas-driven, conservative grantmaking.
In the second, roughly 15-minute clip below—during an enjoyably conversational question-and-answer session—Schmidt addresses the hubris of Big Philanthropy in America, among other things. Establishment foundations, he laments, “are no longer satisfied with being a spark.”
He also covers his experience with grantmaking in Russia, the entrepreneurial Bradley brothers and their passion for the well-being of Milwaukee and its neighborhoods, and what he thinks may be a coming increased preference for localism on the part of all givers throughout the U.S.