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July 18, 2011


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Ray Kohn

Nice article but leads the reader into thinking that any grantmaker acts in isolation from other grantmakers. Therefore, their answer to the ur-question requires addressing all the issues at once. A grantmaker accepts that whilst she is supporting one recipient, other grantmakers will be supporting other recipients. Two conclusions should be drawn from this 'market assessment'. First, it would be sensible for grantmakers to coordinate their actions. Secondly, individual grantmakers would be well-advised to work IN DIALOGUE with the recipient and, therefore, focus on those with whom the grantmaker has learnt to become competent in communicating.


Ray, I want to make sure I understand you on this. Are you arguing that by coordinating their actions funders effectively answer the Ur-Question because all goals are put on the table and there are then enough funders around the table to address them? If so, I'm not convinced. The challenge of answering the Ur-Question arises for a group of funders--however large--as much as for an individual funder. You can do the analysis yourself. If you combined all the giving in one year of all the foundations in the United States, I doubt this amount would be enough to cover the operating expenses of the 300 largest not-for-profit hospitals. And that's just one possibility in a space of infinite possibilities.

Your suggestion that funders should coordinate their efforts and work in meaningful partnership with the communities they serve, is well taken.

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