Don’t Go Overboard over the Giving Pledge

December 17, 2010 at 6:57 AM

Last week the Huffington Post published an article listing reasons the Giving Pledge billionaires will reshape philanthopy.

This week, in a bit counter-programming, they feature National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy’s Aaron Dorfman arguing that we should dial down our enthusiasm. While he says that it’s “fantastic” that they’re giving away billions and agrees that it will spur other super-wealthy to give, he sounds a couple notes of caution.

First, the pledge is likely to have an extremely small impact on total giving, especially in the first few years. Second, little of the money is likely to benefit the most under-served populations. And third, giving by billionaires has typically been limited in its effectiveness and has dangerous implications for democratic decision-making.

The current post explains his thinking on the first two points; a second article will explain his third (and most interesting) objection, and I’ll try to link to it once it’s up.

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Entry filed under: Big Donors.

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