December 2006

The shadow side of philanthropy

Volume 11 , Number 4

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December 2006

The shadow side of philanthropy

Volume 11 , Number 4

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‘The moon has a shadow side but since we always see only the bright side we could only guess what the other side was like and we had to go on a journey to outer space to really see it. As for philanthropy, we do see its shadow side almost as often as the bright one, but we don’t often talk about it.’ So writes guest editor Nilda Bullain. The December 2006 edition of Alliance focuses on this neglected ‘shadow side’ of philanthropy.

‘The purpose of exploring the shadow of philanthropy is to help us do better philanthropy,’ writes guest editor Michael Lerner. Gender, caste and racism are some of the issues examined in this issue of Alliance, along with the waste of resources and the failure to redistribute. How do you survive spiritually as a funder? How do you keep fresh ideas flowing in foundations? How do you overcome the corrosive effects of power on relations with grantees? These are some of the questions we attempt to answer. Also in this special feature is a plea for intuition and trust in face of the current mania for metrics and a discussion of some issues raised by donor site visits.

Also in this issue of Alliance: Sylvia Borren of Oxfam Novib argues that if funders want to be intelligent, they must also be more humble, while Carolyn Reynolds Mandell examines the prospects for World Bank engagement with civil society under Paul Wolfowitz’s leadership.

Guest Editors' Article

What have we learned?

1 December 2006
Nilda Bullain

The moon has a shadow side but since we always see only the bright side we could only guess what the other side was like and we had to go on a journey to outer space to really see it. As for philanthropy, we do see its shadow side almost as often as the bright one, but we don’t often talk about it. Alliance has been brave enough to explore and invite us on a …

 
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