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April 11, 2011


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Antoine Möeller

I quite enjoyed these last two pieces. The world is better for you being in it, I'm thinking. Keep a stiff rope, old boy.

Albert Ruesga

Thank you, Mr. Möeller. A man on a unicycle balancing an axe on his head is a great metaphor for something in civil society work. It'll come to me.

S. Lav

"My fear is that us old-timers have done too good a job of reproducing ourselves in the next generation of grantmakers." --this sentence makes me quiet, and thoughtful. As a young person in philanthropy, I wonder about this quite a bit.

I am curious as to why you think neither young people or technology will be what changes philanthropy. It is sometimes said that foundations have not changed much culturally in the last 40 years. So I don't think you're too far off base with your prediction. If it can't be young people or technology to change it, what will it be?


Thanks, S. Lav. I responded to your comment in this post.

Prentice Zinn

I think many of us crave that brutal honesty you speak of.

Our 300 thread count sheets seem to block it like giant pastel deflector shields and our evaluation industrial complex seems to create an impenetrable wall.

But we are not alone in this existential dilemma.

This morning I talked with a young community organizer who said he gladly takes to task his frothily righteous nonprofit colleagues about how they too replicate themselves all too easily.

"If we don't question our privilege, status, power, and wi-fi socially networked air-conditionedness, how can we expect to envision an alternative?" he said.


Why do you even go to the Council on Foundations meeting? It's full of bureaucratic philanthropic stalwarts engaging in philanthropy's favorite activity: examining itself. Just don't go.


Sage advice. A friendly amendment, however: Philanthropy does precious little by way of taking a hard look at itself. Many of these conferences are orgies of self-congratulation, leaving our most basic assumptions unexamined.

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