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Showing posts from July, 2013

The Charitable-Industrial Complex - A review

This opinion piece by Warren Buffet's son Peter Buffet is a game-changer in the world of philanthropy not because of what is said but for who is saying it and where and what the implications are for his foundation and others.

It's good to see the wealthy, powerful, and charitable own up to their shortcomings, their savior complexes and their ignorance. Of particular significance if the 'conscience laundering' (his term) and the inappropriate use of certain business principles in the growing industry that is philanthropy.

For those of us who are part of the implementation of these philanthropic endeavors who have struggled with the challenges of changing priorities, trendy strategies and what often seems like the whims and fancies of well-meaning (and guilty-feeling) wealthy donors, this op/ed (his first, hopefully of more) makes us feel heard. That finally, someone gets what we have been saying, writing and even whining about all these years; that just because you have…

Dear Barack Obama, What About the Poor?

I could write a long list of statistics about poor people in the USA but at the end of it all, you will know what you already know: being poor in America is a hard row to hoe. What with the cutbacks in food stamps, subsidized childcare and a stubborn unemployment rate, being poor means to do without and to struggle to get what you have and fight to get what help is offered.

And yet.... it is not the poor that President Obama is worried about as he does his stump(?) speech on his economic plan for America. It's the middle class. It's the people who may have to tighten their belts but their kids will go to college. They have health insurance (or soon will be forced to under Obamacare) and tend to live in the suburbs unless they are flush enough to live the more expensive life of the urbanite. It seems the poor have nothing to contribute to economic growth. Our Gini index could put us on par close to Jamaica and Cameroon and behind Uganda in terms of income inequality, which data…

Global Citizen v Global Subject: A critical discussion of study/service abroad

Full disclosure: I have developed and led service-learning abroad programs in Central America for 5 years. It is my experience as leader and as traveler that have led me to question the methodology and intent of such programs with regard to their implications for the communities outside the USA in which they are implemented.

As globalization penetrates the towers of ivory, there is a push for the development of graduates who can participate in the world beyond their own localities and their own national borders. This corps of 'global citizens' are supposed to have an identity that transcends geography and borders with an identification with the common humanity that bounds us all.

To create this cadre of new world graduates, institutes of higher learning are pushing the study/service abroad agenda. With colleges and universities setting targets for how many of their students get to go abroad before they graduate. Of course, this trend is also growing among the high school crowd…