"Trust in Philanthropy is Eroding": How the field grapples with scrutiny and critique
In a recent post, Melissa A. Berman, Renee Karibi-Whyte, and Olga Tarasov of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, state that "trust in philanthropy is eroding."
Widening inequality is contributing to public fears and anxiety about the roles various types of institutions play in public life—be they philanthropy, government, business, or academia. For the philanthropic sector specifically, many people question the degree of influence individual and institutional philanthropists have over the public sphere, simply by virtue of having large endowments. In some quarters, there is a sense that wealthy individuals “game the system,” including through their charitable works, further contributing to a sense of mistrust.
Berman, Karibi-Whyte, and Tarasov explain that in a recent report, "Social Compact in a Changing World. How Philanthropies are Grappling with Growing Scrutiny and Critique," Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors tackles "an organization’s license to operate or its agreement with society about what public good or value it creates."
The social compact encompasses concepts such as accountability, legitimacy, transparency, and public trust. It also reflects shifting notions of how philanthropies view their role in society, demonstrate value, express accountability, and interact with stakeholders.
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