Why philanthropy must embrace the new age of scrutiny

Krystian Seibert

Philanthropy is currently experiencing a dramatic period of scrutiny. Researchers, commentators and critics are increasingly questioning philanthropy’s compatibility with democracy, its approaches and practices, as well as its ethical standing.

In this article, I argue that scrutiny of philanthropy is a good thing and call for foundations to provide arms length investment in a new body to facilitate more of it. Scrutiny should be welcomed rather than resisted. Drawing on a newly published article for the academic journal Third Sector Review, I set out the need and logic for such scrutiny.

The trustees of philanthropic foundations do not have to face voters at elections nor are they answerable to shareholders or customers distinguishing them from government or business.

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