Forum Discussion Essay Example
Although the major source of funding for social services and education sectors is the government through the taxpayer’s money, these two entities also receive significant funding from both philanthropic organizations and individuals Naturally, the assumption would be that the funding received from philanthropy would augment the funding from the government and that there would be notable improvements in both the social services and education sector (Sugden, 2012). However, his has not entirely been the case. In fact, philanthropy has hugely been a derailing force in the improvement of the social and education services sector.
The reason for this is that many people have assumed that philanthropy is a quick fix to the problems that plague the social services and education sector. Therefore, even when availing philanthropy in terms of funding, not much thought and planning is given in regards to how the funding will bring about improvement in the mentioned sectors (Katz, 2005). Many of the philanthropists end up developing change or reform strategies that are too broad to be effective in any manner. Additionally, they are rarely given enough time to mature. As Vanessa Kirsch, who is the President and founder of a Boston-based venture philanthropy fund, puts it, philanthropy should be used to invent and develop projects and programs what work and this can then be followed by the scaling of these programs to demonstrating models that can then bring about change (How Many Billionaires Does It Take to Fix a School System, 2008).
This is the not the case however in many philanthropic endeavors nowadays, and this is why philanthropy is a derailing force. It gives too much hope when in the real sense, it has brought about little change. This is obvious for instance in the United States education sector which has experienced minute changes in the last few years in spite of the enormous number of philanthropic organizations and individuals who pump funds into the sector every year (Cohen, 2007).
There is however some hope for the future. Grant makers have started being increasingly strategic when it comes to funding (Greever, 2012). Funders are putting more thinking into their work and trying to have a strategic focus. The funders and philanthropists want to know that their money or funds are making a difference, and this occasionally means narrowing the focus of their main object of funding (Greever, 2012).
It is extremely important for strategic thinking to be incorporated into funding programs (Tilak, 2006). In the article “Strategic Thinking Comes to Higher Education” (2013), it is argued that the only way, through which philanthropy can have a significant impact in the education sector, is if strategic thinking is incorporated.
In this article, an example of the Bill Gates foundation is given. The author attributes the success and the impact of the organization not to its size but to its strategic approach. This organization defines its strategic goals from the beginning and then works very closely with grantees (Gose, 2013). In addition, this organization embraces advocacy as a tool for influencing policies that furthers the goals of the organization and also uses this advocacy to leverage or influence its grant making budget through tapping into the much more spending done by the federal and state governments (Gose, 2013).
This is the perfect example of how philanthropy can be a driving force or tool in the education sector. Focus should be on a strategic goal (Reckhow, 2012). This goal should be one that has the ability to cause a butterfly effect or stimulate similar education developments (Reich, 2012). Rather than attempting to change an entire system, it is more advisable to focus on specific areas in which change will be visible (Tröhler, D., & Barbu, 2011).
If philanthropists and grant makers adopt this approach, changes will become visible in various sectors such as the education sector which is one of the largest recipients of philanthropy funding (Sugden, 1982).
Gose, B. (2013). Strategic Philanthropy Comes to Higher Education. Retrieved January 11, 2015, from http://chronicle.com/article/Strategic-Philanthropy-Comes/140299/
How Many Billionaires Does It Take to Fix a School System? (2008, March 8). Retrieved January 11, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/09/magazine/09roundtable-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0
Greever, J. C. (2012). The Foundation Center’s Guide to Proposal Writing, rev. 6th ed. New York, NY: Foundation Center.
Reckhow, S. (2012). Follow the money: How foundation dollars change public school politics. Oxford University Press.
Tröhler, D., & Barbu, R. (Eds.). (2011). Education Systems in Historical, Cultural, and Sociological Perspectives. SensePublishers.
Tilak, J. B. (2006). Private higher education: Philanthropy to profits.
Sugden, R. (1982). On the economics of philanthropy. The Economic Journal, 341-350.
Katz, S. N. (2005). What does it mean to say that philanthropy is" effective"? The philanthropists' new clothes. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 123-131.
Reich, R. (2012). A failure of philanthropy: American charity shortchanges the poor, and public policy is partly to blame. Civic Investment in, 42.
Cohen, A. M. (2007). The shaping of American higher education: Emergence and growth of the contemporary system. John Wiley & Sons.
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