A March 25 opinion by Chester Finn in the Chronicle of Philanthropy expresses concern over the growing trend of “public-private” partnerships. The author writes: “in the Obama era it seems to signal a reduction in the independence of the nonprofit world generally and the foundation world particularly, and a concerted push to align the use of philanthropic resources and energies with those of government–especially the government that President Obama heads.”
It’s not news to me that government of late is crossing lines into philanthropy, desiring to take on more of the burden for doing charity’s work and shaping the ‘proper’ goals of charity. I’ve known that organizations like the Greenlining Institute are lobbying for government, through the tax code, to determine where foundations ought and ought not spend their money. I was, however, surprised that Finn notes a trend of philanthropists desiring to partner with government in reaching government designed goals.
Why on earth would anyone willingly give more money to the government than they’re required to give in taxes, I wondered? Read for yourself some of those answers on the Chronicle’s website (subscription required).
What do you think? How independent should philanthropy remain from government? Is tax exemption for charities really a government subsidy? Share your thoughts by posting a comment below.