Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lucy's "Open Manifesto" about Philanthropy

"We need a Freedom of Foundation and Nonprofit Information Act."
That is from Lucy Bernholz's Open Philanthropy - A Modest Manifesto.   In it, she nails six theses to to the door of the philanthropy cathedral.  As usual, philanthropy is lagging behind other fields in the area of openness and transparency.  This is ironic, because you would think philanthropy would lead rather than follow.  Yet many of the established foundations continue to operate in a closed and inward-looking way that would render them obsolete in the modern market economy.

Lucy's salvo is long overdue and most welcome.  Now comes the hard part of putting it into action.  As I read through the theses (and their sub-points), I asked myself the following questions: "To what end?" "What should be the top priorities?" "Which one or two of these would be the most catalytic?" and "What business model would support the rollout of these ideas on a broad scale?"

PS:  Here is a copy of the manifesto that Mari and I wrote in 1999 that led to GlobalGiving.