…Consumption philanthropy corrupts the very behavior that should expand our capacity for empathy and turns it into the social equivalent of paying a sex worker for “the girlfriend experience.” Philanthropy should imply a categorically different relationship with money than the one we have a consumers: something we embark on because we want to participate in a larger goal of improving the world and linking our values, histories, and resources with the needs of other people. Instead, this sector is increasingly vulnerable to what Michael Sandelcalls “the corrosive tendency of markets” to crowd out non-market values. “When we decide that certain goods may be bought and sold,” according to Sandel, “we decide…that it is appropriate to treat them as commodities, as instruments of profit and use.”
If we insist that this is the only way to effectively address massive social problems, we resign ourselves to a world dictated by consumer impulses. From our Warby Parker glasses all the way down to our TOMS shoes, we can cover ourselves head-to-toe with signifiers of empathy in lieu of actual connection to humans who need help. Philanthropy means “love of humanity.” Yet as philanthropy merges and then is overridden by consumer activity, it is our own humanity that gets lost in the process…
Mark and I served together in the Covenant House faith Community in the early 1980′s and were both blessed by the influence of this great woman of faith, marge Crawford.
America’s biggest donors gave $7.7-billion to nonprofits in 2013, with higher education and family foundations receiving the most money. Read more about how The Chronicle compiled this list.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy released its annual “Philanthropy 50” list this week, detailing the gifts of the most generous donors in America. These individuals are “ditching the caution that marked so much of their giving as the economy stalled and are roaring back” with $7.7 billion in contributions, 4 percent more than in 2012, the publication says.
Some $7.7 billion is nothing to scoff at. It’s also possible that the figure would be higher if anonymous donations were included. The Chronicle publishes an excellent data set, however, and a closer look at the numbers suggests there is not quite a “surge” or “boom” in the largest gifts….
The country’s fourth-largest philanthropy, with nearly $10-billion in assets, has given in near secrecy to both liberal and conservative causes, says Bloomberg Businessweek, which reveals three of the men behind the funding.
The unknown man’s donations to the fight against Huntington’s, it turns out, were just a small part of his generosity. A year ago, when I was trying to solve a different mystery, I noticed in an obscure Internal Revenue Service database the existence of two huge charitable funds known as Gabriel Trust and Endurance Funding Trust. They had been established on the same day in 2002. Together, these trusts hold about $9.7 billion. That’s one of the largest pools of philanthropic funding in the U.S., bigger than the Carnegie and Rockefeller foundations combined. Only three private foundations in the country—the Gates, Ford, and Getty foundations—are bigger.
But someone had taken elaborate steps to make sure no one figured out where this money came from, using layers of company subsidiaries to obscure its origins. Gabriel’s and Endurance’s reports to the IRS, on file with the agency in Ogden, Utah, showed the trusts were controlled by companies in Nevada and Wyoming, using the addresses of local law firms. The companies, in turn, proved to be controlled by others in Delaware. I kept digging. Finally in August, a sheaf of papers I’d requested arrived in the mail from the Delaware Office of the Secretary of State. They showed that the man behind the companies that control Gabriel was Andrew Shechtel of Princeton, N.J….
The highest ranking hedge fund managers here.