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Is Philanthropy a Profession? Should It Be?

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.

Panel

William Schambra, Moderator

Hudson Senior Fellow and Director, Bradley Center for Philanthropy & Civic Renewal

Karl Stauber, Panelist

President & CEO of the Danville Regional Foundation

Susan Wolf Ditkoff, Panelist

Partner at The Bridgespan Group

Teri Behrens, Panelist

Editor of The Foundation Review

Joseph Palus, Panelist

Ph.D. student at The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University

Experts

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