Challenges impact us all

Richard Marker

Congratulations to Alliance on its 100th issue. It captures both the developments in the field over the last generation but also the continuing dialectic tensions that underscore our work. 

The profound institutional and technological changes that inform what we call ‘philanthropy’ should not be allowed to define us. The use of voluntary resources for public good has been a part of every society. There have been mega-wealthy before. There has been international philanthropic intervention that was both beneficent and controversial before. When living through what are surely transformational times, it is important to acknowledge the universality of the challenges as well as the long-term uncertainties about what works and how history will define us. 

Evidence can make philanthropy more effective, but only if we can figure out which questions are the right ones. Risk can reveal new approaches or disrupt through hubris. Emerging trends can be cutting-edge thinking or just a fad – and trends need to be distinguished from change. 

I congratulate Alliance on its willingness to challenge our assumptions, to keep us honest, and to guarantee that we will continue to ‘learn’ as we ‘do’.  

Next Letter to read

How can we do the most good?

Hannan Ali