"We Need to Articulate the Unique Role of Institutional Philanthropy"
In a recent blog post, Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP), reflected on the role of the Council on Foundations (COF) and how a strong voice for foundations is needed, in Washington and with the public, "to articulate the unique role of institutional philanthropy."
Buchanan argues that while critique of philanthropy is healthy, "it should also be met with reminders about what philanthropy has achieved, does achieve, and can achieve in this country and globally."
"It’s certainly the case that individual foundations are sometimes too quick to tout their own roles or successes. But foundations as a group have not done a very good job explaining their relevance and distinct role — or that of the larger nonprofit sector they support," he writes, stating COF's role in making that argument.
We need to be reminded that philanthropy and nonprofits have contributed to much of what we take for granted as good in this country — from protection of our beautiful landscapes to vaccines to progress in civil rights to our vibrant arts and culture institutions. And philanthropy and nonprofits have contributed to tremendous progress on issues globally, perhaps most significantly declines in childhood mortality and levels of extreme poverty. Many of us have worked hard to help improve the efficacy of philanthropy because of a shared belief in its power and potential. But I am not sure anyone has really done a good enough job communicating what it all adds up to and why it matters to the people who need to hear that message most.
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