Nonprofits and the Greater Good of Politics

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Speaking of the agenda behind the broad progressive movement (as I did yesterday), Naomi Schaefer Riley finds that some in the “nonprofit” “community” have convinced themselves that the higher cause of politics is intrinsic to their charitable work: 

… the folks who run philanthropy are so angry about the results of the election they don’t know what to do with themselves. Caleb Gayle, a former program officer at the George Kaiser Family Foundation, wrote an op-ed last week for the Chronicle [of Philanthropy] arguing that the philanthropic sector shouldn’t spend more to make up for gaps in government funding.

“It should instead exercise strategic restraint,” he wrote.

Gayle is unabashed about his plan to put partisanship above helping people. “To many foundations, it might seem cruel to resist calls to spend more . . . But if grant makers start to far exceed the 5 percent annual minimum, they will validate the conservative desire to strip money from government antipoverty measures.”

Conservatives believe society has more capacity to do good deeds outside of government (and that such deeds are more appropriately handled in that way), so in order to discredit that belief in the eyes of the public, some people in the philanthropy industry would prefer not to provide evidence that such a worldview is tenable.  Put differently, they want it to remain necessary for the vast majority of charitable giving to be confiscated from taxpayers and redirected as insiders see fit.

I’d suggest that their priorities are skewed.



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