Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy, and How to Redeem It

Join us for a conversation with Chiara Cordelli and Rob Reich, jointly sponsored by Stanford Continuing Studies and the University of Chicago Graham School.

Two headshots, side by side: Chiara Cordelli (left) and Rob Reich (right)
Feb 03

About the Event

Is philanthropy a threat to our democracy? Are there political risks hidden in what first looks like altruism? In this public event, two political scientists—Chiara Cordelli (University of Chicago) and Rob Reich (Stanford)—will explore how governments have outsourced public functions to private entities, leaving philanthropy to fund important services like education and health care. This has allowed Big Philanthropy, financed by an affluent elite, to gain significant power over public policy, not to mention lavish tax advantages that further contribute to social inequality.

The respective authors of The Privatized State and Just Giving: Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better, Cordelli and Reich will explore the hidden social costs of modern philanthropy, and then consider how philanthropy can be redeemed. When properly structured, they contend, philanthropy can play a crucial role in supporting a strong liberal democracy. Throughout this conversation, they will pay particular attention to how the redemption of philanthropy depends on putting constraints on privatization, democratizing the governance of philanthropic entities, and changing existing tax rules.

Who's Speaking

Chiara Cordelli

Chiara Cordelli

Associate Professor of Political Science

Rob Reich

Rob Reich

Professor of Political Science and, by courtesy, of Education; Co-director, Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society

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