Steve Mayer at Just Philanthropy:
“Philanthropy is what allows a nonprofit to stand on its own two knees.”
Who owns philanthropy? For the answer, look at the board of directors of any philanthropic organization. Today’s form of philanthropic organizational governance comes directly from the private sector, drawing on forms from the early 20th century. “Scientific management,” all the rage then, took over American industry and from there, the institutionalization of human welfare and philanthropy itself. Scientific management advocated a standardized approach to the production of goods, managed from the top down, leading to consistent outputs that easily can be stamped out, measured and accounted for. And if it works for the production of goods, why not services? This put evaluation firmly into the hands of the bean counters. Business managers on philanthropic boards today continue to focus on organizational goals, organizational outcomes and the organization’s bottom line. The organization’s contribution to solutions to larger problems is off the books and not considered. The field of evaluation, born under the same signs that birthed scientific management, serves up what it can, resulting in the big disconnect between the answers we get and the knowledge we want.
Steve, a just society is built on deference. As the solution reporting to the problem, it is best to be humble. No, it is not fair, but life is not fair. The strong prevail and the weak perish, as my funder reminds me. Who owns philanthropy? Who owns everthing! I am just glad my last evaluation was as positive as it was. "Needs improvement" is better than termination. She said if my metrics improved by June, I could get my old cubicle back. That is justice.