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November 26, 2010


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Beth Steinberg

This line struck a chord for me. 'Social justice philanthropy offers us a way of recommitting ourselves to philanthropy’s great aims while holding ourselves accountable for its heretofore lacklustre outcomes.' That's a good thing, know? And yet, as you say earlier, haven't solved any of the root causes despite all the money put towards the problems. What to do really? Linking social justice with philanthropy is a good thing ultimately but how to move beyond just throwing $ at things? Whenever I catch Extreme Makeover at the gym, where they redo someone's house into a McMansion because the family has met some sort of need parameters that all seem right and good, I'm moved but irked. I want them to deserve a good living situation w/o the television audience watching, just like the kids I serve in my program for kids with special needs deserve programming in their community with the typical kids. Man we have work to do.

Albert Ruesga

I'd like to see an "Extreme Makeover" program for foundations. A team of five experts, including some nonprofit EDs, parachutes into your organization and gives you and your borad some pointed advice. Maybe add an anthropologist to the team so she can observe board meetings through a two-way mirror.

phil cubeta

Root Causes meet to consider the elimination poverty, and decide to stage a banguet honoring themselves instead.

Beth Raps, Raising Clarity

Greetings. I'll be in the audience at the Hudson Institute dialogue, Albert, where you'll be a featured speaker February 2, 2012.

Jesus didn't say the poor will always be with us. He said we always have the poor with us (to serve) but you don't always have me (and you do right now).

It's easy, as a translator, to mistake "always" as a statement about the future. A few have. Most don't. (Compare: http://bible.cc/matthew/26-11.htm.) But forecasting a future where there will "always" be poor people is inconsistent with and unsupported by any other information we have about Jesus.

Who's he talking to? Judas. And why? To say that in this moment, that woman with the jar of expensive anointing oil you are criticizing is doing the right thing with the right tool at the right time.

In closing, I'd like to offer that a possibly useful resource was published October 2011 on social justice philanthropy metrics:


Beth, thank you for your comment. I'm very thick about these things, but doesn't our always having the poor with us (to serve or to revile, as the case may be) imply that we always have the poor with us? And doesn't forecasting a future with poverty as one of its persistent features speak not so much to the character and ministry of Jesus as it does to the spirit of this and every age? Blaming the poor for their own misery certainly seems to be a common conceit in recent debates by presidential hopefuls.

Beth Raps, Raising Clarity

We-e-e-ll, Albert, people put an awful lot of stock in the Bible, I'm sure you've noticed. It does seem important that folks stop using Jesus as a warrant for poverty being inevitable.
But what's also important about the story you cite in your work is its upside: the warrant to do the right thing at the right time with the right tools.


Agreed. Very much look forward to meeting you in DC.

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