In a provocative and thoughtful essay in The Foundation Review, long-time foundation executive Karl Stauber argues that “Philanthropy is not a profession, and it should not become one. We should be rigorous. We should learn from our work. We should help our partners and be helped by them. But a wisdom-focused approach may produce better results than a science-based one.” This may seem like a startling conclusion, in a time when foundations are moving toward ever more “scientific” metrics for their work, a unique disciplinary vocabulary is growing up around grantmaking, and credentials are being awarded by academic institutions for professional standing in philanthropic work.
Is philanthropy a profession? Should it be? These and other questions raised by Mr. Stauber’s article “Philanthropy: Are We a Profession? Should We Be?” were addressed by a knowledgeable panel of scholars and practitioners.