On their recent tour of Australia, Lucy Bernholz and Rob Reich from Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS) debated a range of issues around how philanthropy works in a modern, democratic society.
In what he termed “a provocation” Rob Reich addressed audiences in Melbourne and Sydney and asserted that philanthropists deserve scrutiny as much as they deserve thanks from society when they spend their private funds on a social good.
Rob suggests we need to ensure that philanthropy advances democratic ends, and that we constantly assess the power philanthropists wield.
According to Rob, this scrutiny doesn’t just ensure that philanthropy benefits our democracy – it can help philanthropists deliver better, more effective philanthropy. Indeed, used wisely and over the long-term philanthropic power can advance social good in ways that private businesses and government agencies – with their financial return or political objectives - just can’t do.