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The Rise of Philanthropy’s ‘Shadow Giving System’


At a time when many ordinary Americans are feeling disenfranchised and disconnected from the financial and political institutions governing the country, the nation’s wealthiest are stepping into that void, quietly exerting influence – and pushing their agendas – in Washington, and in state capitals across the nation.

According to author David Callahan, they are “pouring into the public square with big ideas, able to finance very loud megaphones.” Callahan is the founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy and author of a new book called The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age.

In this podcast he tells us why we should be concerned about the growing influence that private donors are exerting in national and local politics and explains why the power the wealthy are wielding today is likely to intensify in the years ahead.

Additional Resources:

Inside Philanthropy: The Givers

Are You Rich Enough to be a True Philanthropist? The Washington Post reviews The Givers

How Top Philanthropists Wield Power Through Their Donations The New York Times reviews The Givers.

Callahan’s op-ed in The New York Times (2015): Who Will Watch The Charities?

Philanthropy New York and Other Sector Leaders Respond to Callahan’s Op-Ed

Callahan on Twitter

Featured Image: David Callahan

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