Lets face it: foundations have produced big-time cultural damage over the last four decades. Racial
preferences, identity politics, gender studies, welfare and homeless rights—all were catapulted into nearly
untouchable status by the biggest names in philanthropy: Ford, Rockefeller, and Carnegie. These
charitable giants, despite their vaunted independence, all just happened to start promoting “social change”
at exactly the same moment, decades after their fabled namesakes had passed away. The reason? The
tyranny of the “philanthropy expert,” soaked in “progressive” values and wholly untouched by the
supposedly corrupting influence of the market.
Now those experts are working overtime to preserve their reign. Philanthropy schools have sprung up to
teach the wealthy how to give. Predictably, the curriculum embraces the big-government, victocrat status
quo with a vengeance. Rockefellers $20,000 Course in Practical Philanthropy invites such left-wing
advocacy groups as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Natural Resources Defense
Council to teach would-be donors what societys problems are and how to fix them. Students learn to see
the same “root causes” of poverty in New York and Rio de Janeiro—naturally, these would be unfair
economic systems and inadequate government spending on the poor.
Fortunately, a few foundations, such as Bradley and Olin, have remained true to their founders values.
The results have been vastly disproportionate to their size, producing such seismic cultural corrections as
welfare reform and the law-and-economics movement. We need many more such foundations, needless to
say. But I would add some additional insurance against future charitable disasters. Though it seems
presumptuous to do so, I would advise would-be philanthropists to do the following.
First, support what you love, not what you feel you ought to support. If donors were guided first by their
passionswhether for unknown 18th century operas or Civil War history—there would be a flourishing of
wonderful new institutions that would increase real cultural and social diversity. Donors would be more
likely to stay with causes that they know best. And the “experts” would be left to rave about “postcolonial
structures of discourse among excluded peoples” without an audience.
Second, ignore the experts. But if experts you must have, my recommendation is: test their advice against
your own values. Anyone who makes a fortune knows a little something about how the world works. He
will have developed habits of mind that created opportunities not just for himself but for many others. He
understands how to motivate people to do their best work. So when a philanthropy expert tells you: “The
best way to help the poor is to increase their welfare entitlement and give them an unconditional right to
shelter,” ask yourself: “Would these ‘benefits have helped me to succeed?” Better yet, ask the expert:
“How many jobs have you created? To how many people have you given the chance to move up in life?”
The stupidity of the wealthy in the face of philanthropic expertise remains a wonder to behold. The Bill
and Melinda Gates Foundation is Exhibit A. The foundation recently announced a new initiative to
improve high-school graduation rates among poor minority students. Its breakthrough concept? Putting
low-skill students in specially created “college” courses starting in the 9th grade. The foundation noted
that two-thirds of high-school graduates were unprepared for college work. The Gates solution: Have
them start accumulating “college” credit in high school, so that by the time they graduate from high
school, they will be half-way through “college.” If you are not following the logic here, dont feel bad:
there is none. Suppose Bill Gates or his father (who runs the foundation) had asked themselves: “Would
calling illiteracy and innumeracy ‘college skills have helped me succeed? Would I hire anyone whose
‘college credits consisted of pseudo ‘college courses designed for 10th graders who cant read?” Had
they consulted their own experience, this ed-establishment lunacy would still be poking around for the
cool $30 mill. it has now pocketed from the Microsoft legacy. A successful entrepreneur could sign on to
such nonsense only by totally suspending what he knows.
Third: if, after pursuing your passions, you still have time and inclination to do more, I would suggest the
following opportunity: Give voice to grass-roots black conservatives. The Bradley Foundation taught me
to look for them, and what I have found astounds and heartens me. In city after city there are courageous
black men fighting for conservative values. Cincinnatis Tom Jones has nothing but contempt for that
citys tyrannical race-hustler Damon Lynch III. While Lynch is comparing Cincinnati to apartheid South
Africa, Jones is putting his life at risk trying to clear his neighborhood of drug dealers and working with
the police. Naturally, the media hangs on Lynchs every word and cant spend a minute with Jones. Jones
has twice lost his bid for City Council; his presence on that body could begin to challenge the citys
virulent race politics.
Hartfords Cornell Lewis, founder of the Men of Color Initiative, which escorts children safely to school,
scoffs at blacks who call the police “the enemy” on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then on Thursday,
when they get mugged, expect the cops to show up and provide assistance. Indianapoliss Olgen
Williams, director of Christamore House, a self-help center, is fed up with “diversity” blather and just
wants the elderly to be able to go to the store safely. Milwaukees Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr., wonders
why his deputies get accused of “racial profiling” for merely going after criminals.
The press wont go near these iconoclasts, because they contradict the cultural elites most cherished
belief: that the U.S. remains an ineradicably racist society. These unsung radicals dare utter the heresy
that self-discipline and hard work are the keys to success. Finding a way to make them heard will not be
easy; the medias power to silence non-conformists is daunting. But if the victimologists monopoly on
what constitutes respectable “black thought” could be broken, efforts to eradicate minority poverty and
underclass dysfunction may finally make some progress.
Original Source: http://pcr.hudson.org/article_docs/Heather_MacDonald.pdf