Reviewed by Michael Alberg-Seberich
This book is like a Matterhorn expedition in the world of philanthropy. As in mountaineering, you need to be prepared for a steep ascent when the author, German scholar, Ekkehard Thümler, explores the nature of philanthropic actions and social impact but, at the top, there are some fine views.
First, the book provides an extensive grounding of philanthropy in the philosophical school of pragmatism, adding to the still-small body of work on a theory of philanthropy.
Second, on the basis of case studies of foundation initiatives to tackle social problems, some new frames of analysis of social impact are developed, which could become the maps, ropes and pickaxes – the actual tools of analysis – of the philanthropy-mountaineers.