By Terry Mazany, senior vice president, philanthropy
In an era defined by the increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, we have witnessed extraordinary generosity benefiting organizations and causes. Surely this is all good – or is it?
Anand Giridharadas, author of Winners Take All, makes the case that the rise of big philanthropy might be cause for concern. While philanthropy is playing a greater role seeking to solve social problems, we are also experiencing the decline of government’s public ability to tackle the challenges facing our cities and regions, our state and nation.
Giridharadas contends that this trend threatens to undermine our democratic processes by shifting decisions of public interest from democratically elected officials to private citizens. The issue boils down to who decides what matters most to a community and its residents, and who is funding the solutions?
Community foundations offer a bridge connecting donors and their philanthropy with matters of public interest. By design, community foundations are a unique form of philanthropy that ensures community perspectives are represented on its board and its priorities are established to address the most pressing needs of the community it serves.
They are the quintessential anchor institution whose mission is the community they serve – deeply rooted in that community by generous donors who care passionately about the place they call home. We all want the best for our neighbors and fellow residents. Our success benefits from the success of others. It is our shared love of community and spirit of generosity that has the power to overcome much of what ails and binds us together in the caring embrace of community.
Community foundations transform taking to giving, helping us all achieve better for ourselves, our families, and our community. As an anchor institution, we are a permanent resource for our community, invested in the long-term health and opportunities of our region of metropolitan Atlanta. We are here for good to do good.