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Ford Foundation

New Gospel of Wealth

“Charity is like a Band-Aid. It’s getting you the resources to address an injury, but not actually getting at the reason for the injuries to begin with,” says Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Poo is just one of the leaders and visionaries thinking about the future of philanthropy, and the role it plays in creating a more just, more equitable society for all.

Transforming philanthropy for the 21st century requires a bold vision—one that moves giving from a model of generosity to one of justice. Generosity is focused on helping someone in need; justice is about solving the problems that created the need. A healthy society needs both, but we believe it’s time to dedicate more resources to the fight for justice.

New Gospel of Wealth is an online forum, dedicated to conversation about the future of philanthropy. It features prominent figures from every field and sector sharing their thoughts about the future of philanthropy, its role in society, and the part each of us plays to bring the world closer to justice.

These conversations are part of a larger movement to use philanthropy to build a fairer, more just future—a movement we hope you’ll join.

  • 1:05

    How can we reimagine philanthropy so that we create a future where there is justice and dignity for all? What are the root causes of the issues and how do we encourage the participation of many and not just a few?

  • 9:26

    Jeff Raikes, co-founder of the Raikes Foundation, says dismantling racism requires philanthropy to ditch its colorblind approach. People in power need to acknowledge that privilege is invisible to those who possess it. Privilege and power need to be transformed into a force for changing our society for the better.

  • 7:28

    Entrepreneur Nick Hanauer asks us to reimagine the economy. He believes we need to change our beliefs about the economy to create a more just, more equitable society for all. By choosing better economic beliefs, we can change society for good.

  • 6:23

    The Art for Justice fund was created to help end mass incarceration. Founder Agnes Gund says philanthropy is about addressing issues like this. Catherine Gund believes art has an important part to play in the fight for racial justice and can help change the policies that led to mass incarceration.

  • 5:57

    Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, says the sector of caregivers and domestic workers continues to grow. Building a future of work that works for all is centered on justice-based philanthropy and not a generosity model.

  • 4:57

    Wes Moore, CEO of Robin Hood, and Deval Patrick, managing director of Bain Capital, see philanthropy working hand-in-hand with government in the fight for equality. Philanthropy can often provide the initial capital needed while government can take over and scale the solution.

  • 8:52

    Ford Foundation trustee Gbenga Oyebode has seen the value of impact investing on the African continent. He believes philanthropy should not just be giving, but investing with a social impact and an economic return. Giving is inherently part of African culture, but needs to be more strategic and collaborative.

  • 5:54

    Heather McGhee, distinguished senior fellow at Demos, shares her experience of working to make the Demos think tank more diverse and led by people of color. Institutional racism, however slight, drives inequality, she says, so transformation needs to be a must-have and not a nice-to-have.

  • 5:54

    CEO of Lincoln Center Henry Timms asks how philanthropy can supercharge civic engagement. Timms, who started Giving Tuesday, says trust-based philanthropy needs to shift from generosity to justice, driving more participation from more people, and encouraging meaningful ways to participate and collaborate.

  • 5:17

    Jennifer Loving, CEO of Destination: Home, says a public-private partnership, like the one between her nonprofit and Cisco, headed by Chuck Robbins, can help create a model for the future of philanthropy, and tools like social bonds can help address some of the biggest crises of our time.

  • 3:50

    As a philanthropist, Jon Stryker, president of the Arcus Foundation, believes the act of naming gives power and influence to the work that is supported through his gifts. His philanthropy supports those on the frontlines of justice, providing resources and power to those who need it most.

  • 5:45

    Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck and Co, believes one of the greatest injustices in our society is the health disparities experienced by women of color. A zip code is more likely to determine health outcomes than genetic code. Frazier uses philanthropy to address mortality rate and wants to see more medical personnel listen to their women patients and patients of color.

  • 5:25

    Laura Arnold, co-chair of Arnold Ventures, believes policy change is the lever that will lead to sustainable change. She says we need to attack the systems that are creating the injustices we see, like criminal justice. Philanthropy can create better alternatives that governments can adopt.

  • 9:44

    Composer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda believes all art is political. He and his father, Luis A. Miranda Jr. of the MirRam Group, see the value philanthropy has to empower communities that may have been neglected, and allow them to share their stories through the arts, like Puerto Rico did after Hurricane Maria.

  • 9:33

    The top 1 percent of the United States controls 42 percent of the national wealth. Lynn Forester de Rothschild, founder of the Center for Inclusive Capitalism, explains that reimagining the economy and making it a sustainable, inclusive system that leads to strong economic growth requires reform.

  • 8:09

    Through philanthropy, Robert Smith, CEO of Vista Equity Partners, has alleviated the burden of student debt for a graduating class. He says private philanthropy can help address public policy challenges, such as student loan debt, and is a disruptive opportunity that liberates people to contribute to society in positive ways.

  • 10:29

    Writer and producer Shonda Rhimes has seen the power storytelling has to make change through her work, which centers marginalized people and issues. Rhimes believes philanthropy sets an example others can follow, and says supporting organizations that are already on the ground doing the work is key.

  • 6:36

    The top 1 percent of the United States controls 42 percent of the national wealth. Lynn Forester de Rothschild, founder of the Center for Inclusive Capitalism, explains that reimagining the economy and making it a sustainable, inclusive system that leads to strong economic growth requires reform.

  • 3:48

    Tara Westover, author of "Educated," sees a disconnect between the rural and urban parts of the United States. She believes philanthropists need to be more proximate to the issues they care about, and that spending time with people who aren’t like you is key to disrupting inequality.

  • 10:04

    Henry Ford III, trustee of the Ford Foundation, and Valerie Rockefeller, chair of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, discuss transforming philanthropy for the 21st century. The families have seen the value of impact investing and believe in partnerships to increase the difference that can be made.

  • 11:13

    Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, on art, activism, and acknowledging adversity.