Confronting philanthropy’s image problem: does participatory giving offer a way forward?

She couldn’t have put it more clearly:

“Philanthropy means people helping other people…Philanthropy also means corruption: the rich hiding their ill-gotten wealth in foundations and using them to exert political influence.”

The setting was an overheated university classroom at the university in Bogota, the start of an afternoon session on the topic of “Rethinking resourcing of civil society.” I had asked the room, whose audience was made up of a diverse mix of people from NGOs, donors, foundations, and social social movements to take a minute to discuss with their neighbour what associations the word “philanthropy” inspired in them.

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