Philanthropies and Education: Breaking the Cycle of Systemic Inequity
By Kevin Welner
The Huffington Post
December 17, 2010
I teach at a public university, which pretty much guarantees that I'll never be a major philanthropist. But the main beneficiary of my largess -- such as it is -- is my local homeless shelter. It's well-run, and it really does excellent work. But it does almost nothing to help end homelessness. Instead, it addresses the immediate and dire needs of my community's homeless -- needs that are likely to continue long after I'm gone.
I've been thinking about those donations because of a report I just wrote for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. My co-author Amy Farley and I contend education grantmakers will have the most success in advancing equity and access if they do two things. First, and perhaps most obviously, focus greater attention and funding specifically on the needs of vulnerable communities. Second, focus on addressing systemic inequality by devoting more funding to policy engagement and community organizing.