In Defense of Private Giving


This collection of brisk, short texts on philanthropic freedom outlines the vital role private giving has always played in improving America, and why it is important to defend philanthropy’s continuing value to the nation.

“America is Built on Giving” by Adam Meyerson
Philanthropic freedom is an indispensable part of political freedom.

“Necessary, Important, and in Jeopardy” by Daniel Patrick Moynihan
A warning on the subject of government vs. private social aid. What follows is an excerpt from the late Senator’s March 5, 1980 address to the charter meeting of the new philanthropic organization Independent Sector.

“Beware the Concept of ‘Tax Expenditures” by Peter Berger and Richard John Neuhaus
A cautionary about using the slippery term “tax expenditures” to describe the measures that protect private charities from taxation, from the book To Empower People by Peter Berger and Richard John Neuhaus. 

“The Great Charitable Myth” by Heather R. Higgins
On the danger of treating philanthropic dollars as public money.

“How Foundations Should and Should Not Be Held Accountable” by Adam Meyerson
The independence of foundations is essential to a free society.

“The Politics of Giving” by Katherine Mangu-Ward
Adam Meyerson discusses American philanthropy and the importance of the charitable deduction in this diverse sector.

“The Myth of the ‘Third’ Sector” by Irving Kristol
Philanthropy is part of the private sector and needs to be defended against centralizing impulses, says the distinguished social critic Irving Kristol in this excerpt from a 1980 speech to the Council on Foundations. 

“Democracy in Action” by Stephen L. Carter
Individuals acting as donors measure community needs differently than centralized policymakers, says a Yale law school professor. 

“Preserving National Values Through the Charitable Deduction” by Robert J. Shiller
Yale economics professor Robert Shiller argues in a December 15, 2012 New York Times column that “instead of curtailing the charitable deduction, we should be aiming to make it an even bigger part of our culture.”

“The Rising Threat to the Charitable Deduction” by Howard Husock
A warning against viewing the charitable deduction as “just one more ‘tax expenditure,’” by Howard Husock in Forbes, December 14, 2012. 

“What’s Behind Recent Attacks on the Charitable Tax Deduction?” by Joanne Florino
Does the government know how to spend money better than private citizens? Do uniform monolithic solutions to social problems trump diversity and experimentation? From an open letter published by the Triad Foundation.