October 28, 2010
by Bradley Center
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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. Panelists included author Karl Stauber, as well as Susan Ditkoff of The Bridgespan Group, The Foundation Review's Teri Behrens, and Joseph Palus, a Ph.D. student at The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. Bradley Center Director William Schambra moderated the discussion.
Hudson Institute's Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal aims to explore the usually unexamined intellectual assumptions underlying the grantmaking practices of America’s foundations and provide practical advice and guidance to grantmakers who seek to support smaller, grassroots institutions in the name of civic renewal.
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