Weekly Reader – August 31, 2015

What we’re reading and recommending this week. We add to this post throughout the week and look for your suggestions in the comments.

Monday, August 31

Can We Make Charitable Giving More Effective? (Jill Suttie, The Greater Good) Altruism is part of our evolved instinct. The desire to help others in need has been an evolutionary advantage in the course of human development, leading to greater cooperation and group survival. But can we leverage that instinct better, in order to provide relief from suffering to more people around the world, especially the very poor?

Tuesday, September 1

It’s All Part of Capitalism: How Philanthropy Perpetuates Inequality (Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout.org) Pro Bono?, Mikkel Thorup, Zero Books, 2015; Danish historian Mikkel Thorup’s latest book skewers philanthropic capitalism. Whether criticizing individual businesspeople, celebrities, corporate-giving programs or sales that benefit a particular constituency or presumed social good, Thorup argues that philanthropy perpetuates inequality by deflecting efforts to distribute wealth and power more equitably.

Wednesday, September 2

New trend in philanthropy: making a real social difference (Theresa Walker, Orange County Register) “It’s a real call to action to say, ‘Well, are we having the biggest impact we could have? What do people need to make their lives better and are we giving it to them? If not, what can we do differently?’”

Thursday, September 3

Listening In on a System (Sara Beggs, Exponent Philanthropy, and Colleen O’Keefe, Sauer Children’s Renew Foundation) I wanted an understanding of our grantees’ realities, not just a show they felt they had to put on for me. I wanted to come alongside them so I could make better decisions, to get around the typical grantor–grantee power dynamics and create authentic relationships.

Friday, September 4

Poverty Among Whites Demands Philanthropy’s Attention (Pablo Eisenberg, Chronicle of Philanthropy) Four in 10 poor Americans are white, and many live in rural areas, yet most of the dollars to help the poor go to aid minorities in cities.



Nikki Powell

Nikki Powell is PEAK Grantmaking's effective practices director. You can find her on Twitter @nikkiwpowell.

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