Serving Professional Down on His Luck
The White Underclass

Of Philanthropic Data and Desire

A good piece by TPI’s new VP, Cindy Gibson (formerly of Carnegie) and Bill Dietel, former president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The authors’ say: while metrics are critical and have their place, the "data dash" of recent years has sometimes overlooked how personal relationships, social networks, family dynamics, passion for causes, and other factors shape giving. She and Mr. Dietel suggest that the nonprofit world needs to strike a balance "in assessing what donors need and want—and that that balance falls somewhere between data and desire." Actually, a life lived between data and desire would certainly make a good film. Dr. Spock would never "get" philanthropy. More on the piece here.

Can passion be more than emotion? Can it also be, say, judgement, taste, discernment, appreciation? Nah! That would be the liberal arts and what self-respecting philanthropist would waste time on developing his or her human capacities? Aristotle be damed. We are all logical positivists now, long after that philosophy was soundly discredited. Business schools are trade schools, suitable for those who devote their lives to pedestrian concerns, but again, we must not say so. Cynthia Gibson, like H. Peter Karoff before her, is a holdout. The forces of logic will soon sweep past such discredited instutions as literature, ethics, religion. Truth will prevail, by trimming all but a few limbs from the human tree. Cynthia, surrender and it will go easier for you.

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