Giving Compass’ Take:
• In this Philanthropy New York article, Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation, argues that we must challenge the status quo by having the question “So what?” embedded in our minds.
• This means tackling the root causes of problems, rather than just the symptoms — and it also advocates for spreading awareness about inequality, rather than getting too bogged down in data.
The concept of two Americas is becoming increasingly prevalent. Americans are feeling more financially vulnerable than ever. As asset and income inequality continues to grow, the schism in our society is no longer a risk but an increasing reality. Philanthropists have never been more focused on results, but I wonder whether we are letting our focus with data distract us from the big picture — ensuring that the paths to opportunity and upward mobility still exist.
Whether they focus on income inequality, educational attainment, health outcomes, social development, or the various points where these issues intersect, policymakers and thought leaders recognize the challenge we face. There is a role for philanthropy in funding interventions that treat the consequences of erosion.
But if we make treating the symptoms the goal — in other words, if we lose sight of the ‘So what?’ — philanthropists risk becoming tacit supporters of the status quo.
Moreover, we should also be willing to use our philanthropic capital to challenge the status quo by investing in social movements that will bring greater awareness and understanding — both about the impact of financial vulnerability on our society and economy, and about the reasons why our success as a nation depends on reversing this downward economic cycle.
Read the full article about challenging the status quo by Brandee McHale at Philanthropy New York.
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