Maps of Philanthropy as of Manhattan
Folly Preaching to the Confirmed on The Moral Dimension of Philanthropy

Law Outside the Market: The Social Utility of the Private Foundation

In Harvard Law Journal, Carl Schramm, head of Kaufman Foundation.  Adapted from Schramm, the thought process seems to go like this: Great wealth once amassed can go in only so many directions. It can concentrate into an aristorcary, an oligarchy or plutocracy; it can be taxed away;  it can be invested in businesses further enhancing a family's wealth; it can go outright en bloc to a public charity; or it can be stored up under donor control in a private foundation for public good. The benefit of the last alternative is a) its attractiveness to self made wealthy people who love control and b) the opportunity it affords them for boldness. An institution is created outside of market constraints, goverment constraints, and the constraint of any other stakeholders, may do audacious things not only within the system, but against the grain of the systems. If only, if only. Instead we seem most often in practice to have the petty projects and technocratic metrics so beloved by the MBA foundation clerisy. What we need is not more accountability and more peformance measurement, but more imaginative grantmakers who would, as Erza Pound once said of poetry, "Make it new!"  We need more who are like the poet or prophet whose "private action in a public space" (a definition of  graffiti, poetry and philanthropy) would widen the horizon of what is imaginable, much less possible.

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