Are Charitable Foundations Real Catalysts for Change?

By Schramm, Carl J. | The Christian Science Monitor, December 18, 2003 | Go to article overview

Are Charitable Foundations Real Catalysts for Change?


Schramm, Carl J., The Christian Science Monitor


At a time of year when people traditionally assess how they can help those in need, charitable foundations would also do well to ask themselves some searching questions: Are they still valuable institutions - or have they outlived their usefulness? Is the spirit of charitable foundations still willing, but the structure weak?

Over the next few years, foundations certainly will have the resources to make an impact. By the year 2010, the assets of American foundations are projected to grow to $800 billion, roughly a fourfold increase since 1994. This fall, the House of Representatives overwhelming passed the Charitable Giving Act, which will further provide charitable foundations with tax advantages.

But despite this progress, are charitable foundations really helping to improve society? Collecting and disbursing money is something that government, a United Fund, or an individual patron can do. But foundations fulfilling charitable goals should not just be a matter of showing generosity. At the very least, foundations should be leaders in innovation, experts in identifying challenges and opportunities, and willing servants in the catalyst for change.

The charitable foundation has entrepreneurship in its bloodlines. It was created at the turn of the 20th century by captains of industry who had devised or adopted new technologies and production methods to build railroads, manufacture goods, and marshal resources on an unprecedented scale.

The new capitalist class applied the same innovative mind-set to sharing their wealth that they had used in creating it - and broke taboos while doing so. Leland and Jane Stanford, for instance, applied the principles of seeding and leveraging when they founded Stanford University in the 1890s. From the start, the university admitted women - in contrast to most elite schools of that time. Other early philanthropists took risks, such as the Sarah Mellon Scaife Foundation when it backed Jonas Salk's use of a live virus to develop a polio vaccine.

Over the years, charitable foundations have also introduced management innovations. When Andrew Carnegie gave the money to build and stock 2,500 libraries around the world, in almost every case the municipalities had to bear operating and maintenance costs - entrenching the concept of free public libraries. The present day Silicon Valley practice of "renting" CEOs for start-ups was introduced over 30 years ago by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, when it needed proven administrators for short-term pilot programs in healthcare. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Are Charitable Foundations Real Catalysts for Change?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.