Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Revolution Will Not Be Funded

This is a very challenging article on a topic of great interest to those of us working in the social services side of our sector.... although written on 4-4-2005, it is part of a debate that still rages today:

LiP Magazine's "The Revolution Will Not Be Funded," by Andrea del Moral

This line, in particular, resonates: Foundations and the grants they give are a byproduct of a tax scheme that keeps the rich rich.

The idea is hard to swallow, particularly for fund-raisers. One of the major challenges of my life right now is trying to understand myself as someone who spends his day courting the rich in order to change the lives of the poor. How can I simultaneously solicit funds from foundations while also understanding that they are also involved in deepening the trenches that keep the poor locked into poverty?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the Council on Foundations Announces Philanthropic Partnership Agenda "to grow philanthropy in both rural and urban areas...(by) partnering with government to advance a legislative agenda that promotes the growth of philanthropy.

I am not sure what the answer is. Although we obviously cannot condemn a wealthy person for their desire to donate, we need to realize that the charitable sector only exists to do the work that the government would have to do otherwise (and which most of our wealthy donors would prefer the government not to do).

I do not intend for this blog to become a source of debate on tax policy and government spending. It's purpose is to cite interesting articles related to fundraising ... but we must realize that our work as fundraisers cannot be fully extricated from this debate without losing much of its spirt and soul.