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Richard J. Tofel

A conversation with Second Rough Draft’s Richard J. Tofel (Part 2 of 2)

The former Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones executive, onetime top Rockefeller Foundation official, former ProPublica president, and current Substack writer and consultant talks to Michael E. Hartmann more about the relationship between funding and content in nonprofit and for-profit journalism, groupthink and diversity in the news business overall, and some specific challenges facing both foundation funders and management teams of nonprofit news organizations.

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Richard J. Tofel

A conversation with Second Rough Draft’s Richard J. Tofel (Part 1 of 2)

The former Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones executive, onetime top Rockefeller Foundation official, former ProPublica president, and current Substack writer and consultant talks to Michael E. Hartmann about the changing natures of philanthropy and journalism since he began his career—including the necessary lines in journalism between those funding it and those producing it, in both the for-profit and nonprofit contexts.

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Karl Zinsmeister

A conversation with The Brothers author Karl Zinsmeister (Part 2 of 2)

The former White House official and Philanthropy Roundtable vice president talks to Michael E. Hartmann and Daniel P. Schmidt about the Tappan brothers’ belief in the primary role of individual human beings to do what’s right and get things done, as well as how today’s alternative faith in the promise of technology is a serious challenge for any return to that primacy of people.

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Richard Vedder (Ohio University)

A conversation with economist and historian Richard Vedder (Part 2 of 2)

The Ohio University professor emeritus talks to Michael E. Hartmann about whether tax-incentivization is a subsidy, the taxation of endowments in higher education, Milton Friedman’s 2003 e-mail to him about negative externalities in higher ed, whether there might also be negative externalities in philanthropy, and the taxation of endowments in philanthropy, as well as a little about the Ohio Bobcats’ football team.

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Harvard Hall, Harvard University (Wikimedia Commons)

Legislation proposed to increase taxes on large university endowments

The College Endowment Accountability Act, according to Sen. J. D. Vance, responds to “a problem, borne of unfairness and of mass subsidy from the American taxpayer, that has now metastasized into one of the most-corrupt and one of the most politically active and politically hostile organizations in the United States of America, and that is elite colleges.”

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Michael Poliakoff and Emily Koons Jae

A conversation with ACTA’s Michael Poliakoff and Emily Koons Jae (Part 2 of 2)

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni’s president and vice president talk to Michael E. Hartmann more about the need for and nature of higher-ed reform in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attack and its aftermath—including on-campus pro-Hamas activities, their tolerance if not encouragement by administrators, and the “donor revolt” against all of it.

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Robert E. Wright

A conversation with Liberty Lost author Robert E. Wright (Part 2 of 2)

The American Institute for Economic Research senior research fellow talks with Michael E. Hartmann about the perverse incentives of the tax system on nonprofits, what hypothetically would happen to the third sector absent tax-incentivization, whether progressive Big Philanthropy might do damage to it along with Big Government, and encouraging more bottom-up experimentation in addressing social ills.

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Robert E. Wright

A conversation with Liberty Lost author Robert E. Wright (Part 1 of 2)

The American Institute for Economic Research senior research fellow talks with Michael E. Hartmann about his research, why Tocquevillian voluntary association became such a beneficial part of America’s social contract, the relationship between volunteerism and governmental and individual sovereignty, and the detrimental effect that enlarged government and its taxation had on voluntariness.

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John Fonte

A conversation with the Hudson Institute’s John Fonte (Part 2 of 2)

The historian, researcher, and teacher talks to Daniel P. Schmidt and Michael E. Hartmann about The Bradley Project on America’s National Identity in 2008, the risks of “conservative accommodationism”—including in philanthropy—and the need for conservatives to provide a genuine American narrative that stands as an alternative to progressivism’s false one.

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Donors’ distance in Decades of Decadence

The anti-elite tone of Marco Rubio’s new book is evidence that he understands what gave rise to Donald Trump in 2016 and what that ascendant populism portends for future political and policy debates, including the politics surrounding—and potentially, the policy structuring—establishment philanthropy.

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Contributions to “Conservatism and the Future of Tax-Incentivized Big Philanthropy” compiled in one document

All contributions to The Giving Review online symposium, which have been published here during the past weeks, are now compiled in one printable document, “Conservatism and the Future of Tax-Incentivized Big Philanthropy.” The symposium is meant to earnestly and meaningfully explore conservatism’s past and future relationships with the country’s philanthropic establishment, which is overwhelmingly predominantly progressive,… Continue reading Contributions to “Conservatism and the Future of Tax-Incentivized Big Philanthropy” compiled in one document

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Georgia Senate race shows why the fraying line between charity and politics must be repaired

This article, republished with permission, originally appeared in The Chronicle of Philanthropy on December 13, 2022.   With Democratic Senator Rafael Warnock’s victory last week, another contentious Georgia Senate race is over, and with it, the attention focused on nonprofits for their role in registering, educating, and mobilizing voters and monitoring the fairness of the electoral process.… Continue reading Georgia Senate race shows why the fraying line between charity and politics must be repaired

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Philanthropy in Control

Adam Rutherford’s new book about eugenics reminds us again of those progressive foundations that supported it—and that it’s long past time for a full and fair accounting of them for what they funded and fomented, and why.

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Ken Paxton’s questions of Mark Zuckerberg-funded CTCL show investigative power of state attorneys general

Earlier this month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that he issued a “civil investigative demand” to the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) as part of an investigation into whether the nonprofit charity solicited donations under the pretext of protecting voters from Covid-19, while actually using raised money for partisan electioneering or election… Continue reading Ken Paxton’s questions of Mark Zuckerberg-funded CTCL show investigative power of state attorneys general

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Recalling the debate between Robert Egger and Pablo Eisenberg about nonprofits and politics

Egger: “I question openly whether those laws were designed by people to keep us right where we are. … [O]ur ultimate goal is to change the laws.”

Eisenberg: “[H]e strongly believes that the regulations governing nonprofits are too restrictive and should be changed to allow nonprofits to participate directly in political campaigns and partisan politics … and I heartily disagree.”

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Some narrowness in longtermism

The short of it: in his new book’s ambitious thinking about the “full scale of human history,” William MacAskill undervalues the past—by definition, but more than needed—and elides in practice what that thinking could perhaps offer those of a different ideological worldview.

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An updated collection of articles about the tax treatment of higher-education endowments

President Joe Biden’s recent announcement that the federal government will forgive $10,000 in federal higher-education debt for most borrowers and up to $20,000 for recipients of federal Pell Grants has again brought some attention to large endowments of colleges and universities. Some have proposed increasing taxes on these endowments to help government finance the forgiveness. The 2017… Continue reading An updated collection of articles about the tax treatment of higher-education endowments

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Revisiting Westminster before the fall of the Wall, and Sheptytsky before Schabowske

Forty years ago this week, President Ronald Reagan delivered his historic speech to the British Parliament at Westminster, during which he famously predicted that Marxism-Leninism would end up “on the ash heap of history.” Daniel P. Schmidt writes about the Westminster speech in the article that we republish below, which originally appeared here on November 18,… Continue reading Revisiting Westminster before the fall of the Wall, and Sheptytsky before Schabowske

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A conversation with retiring Murdock Trust CEO Steve Moore (Part 2 of 2)

After 16 years as chief executive officer and executive director of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust in Vancouver, Wash., Steve Moore is retiring at the end of next month, when Romanita Hairston will succeed him in the role. During Moore’s tenure at its helm, the Trust—one of the largest philanthropies in the Pacific Northwest—has continued… Continue reading A conversation with retiring Murdock Trust CEO Steve Moore (Part 2 of 2)

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Symposium on conservative international giving: Kenneth R. Weinstein

“The turn of so much of mainstream conservative philanthropy away from engaged foreign and defense policy work has been to America’s detriment, and to the detriment of the world as well,” according to the former Hudson Institute president. “It is time for conservative philanthropy to … return to supporting serious, sober, creative, security-oriented foreign-policy work ….”

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Symposium on conservative international giving: Craig Kennedy

“Left of center American donors now largely set the agenda and dominate international giving. There is a strong emphasis on exporting American morality on gender, orientation, and race, as well as a major focus on various development schemes in Africa and elsewhere,” the former Joyce Foundation and German Marshall Fund president writes. “There are no conservative donors that are supporting alternatives to this agenda.”

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Symposium on conservative international giving: Introduction

Overall, giving by conservatives in America to support organizations and projects concerned with foreign policy and national security, as well as to groups and efforts at work “on the ground” in other countries that promote democracy or provide humanitarian aid, seems to have changed in many ways during the past decade, if not longer—concerningly to… Continue reading Symposium on conservative international giving: Introduction

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From populist crusade to comprehensive regulation: the Tax Reform Act of 1969

This article, republished with permission, originally appeared on the great Rockefeller Archive Center’s (RAC’s) RE:source website on February 20, 2019. It is based on the keynote address of a conference RAC organized on the 50th anniversary of the Tax Reform Act of 1969. (Footnotes omitted.)   Fifty years ago, on December 30, 1969, President Richard Nixon… Continue reading From populist crusade to comprehensive regulation: the Tax Reform Act of 1969

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A collection of Giving Review articles about conservative international philanthropy, during and informed by the Cold War

William A. Schambra, Further thoughts on “other-side” giving, July 17, 2019 (“The tricky part of ‘other-side’ giving for conservative funders—the dilemma that also faced capitalist funders of socialist trade unions after World War II—is that the grants aren’t going to compliant ideological allies who share the full range of conservative political beliefs. They’re going to… Continue reading A collection of Giving Review articles about conservative international philanthropy, during and informed by the Cold War

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Philanthropy’s original sin

From the Carnegie Corporation’s promotion of eugenics to—as Maribel Morey’s new book provocatively argues—its furthering of white supremacy, establishment philanthropy in America has much to answer for, and to resolve. It will have to do so in the coming years, in what will likely be an uncharitable cultural and political context. In all of American establishment philanthropy’s… Continue reading Philanthropy’s original sin

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A collection of Giving Review articles about or related to philanthropy reform

Checking the power of progressive Big Philanthropy An updated collection of various recent ideas to reform philanthropy Plutocrats and their philanthropy: More ideas for saving the soul of the charitable sector Conservatives should applaud—not fight—efforts to change philanthropic giving rules We agree, foundations should be held accountable for high salaries and staggering expenses What would… Continue reading A collection of Giving Review articles about or related to philanthropy reform

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Getting lost on the way to root causes

In any real-life revision of the parable so often cited by philanthropists, there’s a strong likelihood that the philanthropists forging their way upstream to the source of the problem will never get there. As with the challenge of homelessness in L.A., they will instead become hopelessly entangled in the real-world obstacles that invariably complicate the drive for simplistic, root-cause solutions.

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