Debating philanthropy’s value

March 22, 2011 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

Budget deficit reduction is now the overriding issue for governments at every level of our country. From the halls of congress to the chambers of village councils, elected officials are confronted with high stakes decisions, destined to be unpopular with many of their constituents.

While the current struggle necessarily focuses on “fixes” for the upcoming fiscal year, concern is growing about the long term need to reduce the national debt and federal deficits, lest we put our entire economy at risk. That’s why over the next few months, we can expect to hear lots of debate about the need for comprehensive tax reform, including charitable giving incentives.

We should welcome this conversation as an opportunity to articulate more clearly the benefits of philanthropy to American society. What would life in the cities and towns of Ohio be like without foundations, corporate giving programs and other grantmaking public charities? What are the contributions – financial and otherwise – that philanthropy makes to the fabric of our society? Do the public benefits generated by philanthropy offset the cost to federal, state or local budgets or are there better ways to achieve the value added through charitable giving?  

In the months ahead, OGF will provide an Ohio-based platform for this national conversation. The overarching goal is not only the development of consistent and persuasive messaging for future policy debates, but the prompting of a critical examination–by the field in general and each of our members in particular–of how we enrich the common good. Since the outcome of these discussions may affect us all, I urge your active participation. Watch for program details in upcoming editions of NewsLine.

George E. Espy

This post is the President’s Pen column from the newest edition of OGF Connection, available online.


Entry filed under: Commentaries.

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