Philanthropy Action

Analysis, Interviews, and Reviews



Oct 15, 2008

The End of Service Trips?

Each year, more than a million Americans, the majority of them teenagers or college students, travel to other countries on “service trips.“ Lasting for a week or two, the trips are conceived as a way for Americans to see developing world poverty up-close and to “help.“ More and more the reality that these trips are a bad idea is sinking in, and many are being canceled. Still, it’s hard not to wonder what the long-term impact of the end of such trips might be. As silly as many of them are, these trips are likely the only time most participants will ever come into contact with people living in absolute poverty.

Oct 09, 2008

Top Nominees for Charity Bail Out Benefactors

Enabling a person with a solid credit rating and a $130,000 annual household income to buy a home he cannot afford is just as irresponsible and exploitative as allowing someone with bad credit and $30,000 a year in income buy a home he can’t afford. Unfortunately, Herb and Marion Sandler don’t see the connection.

Aug 05, 2008

New AIDS Numbers Reveal Past Inaccuracies, and Conflict Over Best Approaches

The newest CDC data on HIV/AIDS infections in the United States suggest that the agency has underestimated new US infections by 40 percent since the late 1990s. The agency nonetheless asserts that the number of annual new has remained stable since the late nineties. The UN likewise says that new infection rates worldwide remained stable this year overall, with decreases in some countries (such as Uganda and Ethiopia) offset by increases in others (such as China, Russia and Vietnam). The conclusion being drawn from the evidence is that prevention efforts are failing the vulnerable.

Jul 21, 2008

Interview: United Way of America CEO Brian Gallagher

Recently we discussed United Way’s refocusing, the meaning of accountability, and the state of philanthropy in general with CEO Brian Gallagher.

Jun 23, 2008

Putting a Price on Water

The huge underwater aquifiers that have sustained agriculture in water scare regions in India and the Southwest United States have run dangerously low due to decades of uncontrolled pumping and wasteful irrigation. Without intervention, this scarcity will become only more acute, as farmers and other landowners preemptively pump even more in an effort to get as much as they can for themselves before it is gone. Making water a trade-able commodity that costs something based on availability and price is one solution to the problem.

May 20, 2008

Interview: AIDS Journalist Helen Epstein on The Invisible Cure

Philanthropy Action sat down with Helen Epstein, author of The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West and the Fight Against AIDS, to discuss her book, Uganda, and how Western dollars could best make a difference in the African AIDS crisis.

Apr 23, 2008

Paying Parents to Keep Kids in School

For families living in poverty, the cost of sending a child to school can involve more than just educational fees. The “opportunity cost” of attending class—generally measured in potential wages lost as a consequence of having a child who’s in school rather than taking care of younger siblings so parents can work, or working himself—can be too great to justify the expense and delayed benefit of a formal education. To deal with this conflict governments are experimenting with conditional cash transfer programs which, in the case of education, provide incentive payments to poor families that send their kids to school.

Mar 27, 2008

Are they Venture Philanthropists, Philantropreneurs or Philanthropcapitalists? Ask the Times

The debate about how business thinking should be applied to philanthropy has been circulating in the nonprofit sector for nearly a decade.

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