A 'Flip' Chat With...Matthew Bishop, 'Economist' Bureau Chief and 'Philanthrocapitalism' Author
August 26, 2010
I remember a time, not that long ago, when August meant lazy vacations by the shore, big fat beach reads, and a growing pile of unread New York Times in the corner of whatever cottage we happened to be renting. Because most New York-based reporters and editors were also on vacation, the odds of missing a big story were pretty slim -- and if you did, you knew you could catch up, along with everyone else, when you got back to the office at the end of the month.
Those days are long gone. In today's hyper-connected mediascape, the news never sleeps -- and neither does Matt Bishop. Earlier this week, I sat down with The Economist's New York bureau chief to chat about two of the biggest philanthropy-related stories of the month: the news that forty families and individuals had signed on to the Giving Pledge, a campaign launched earlier this summer by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to encourage the nation's billionaires to pledge at least half their fortunes to charity; and, more recently, the kerfuffle (Bishop's Steve Goldberg's word) over accusations of favoritism and conflicts of interest at the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a private-public partnership administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service that last month announced grants totaling almost $50 million to eleven intermediary organizations, including New Profit, Inc., a Boston-based venture philanthropy fund with ties to SIF's current executive director.
In part one of our chat, Bishop, who's probably best known to philanthropy practitioners as the author (with Michael Green) of Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World, talks about the spirit behind the Giving Pledge campaign and offers some thoughts as to whether it will be judged a success:
(Total running time: 5 minutes, 50 seconds)
In part two, Bishop explains why SIF is important and what it should do differently to avoid similar controversies in the future:
(Total running time: 5 minutes, 42 seconds)
What do you think? Is the Giving Pledge a good idea? Will it encourage others -- the merely affluent as well as the super-rich -- to give more and be more intentional in their philanthropy? And what about the Social Innovation Fund? Is it an idea whose time has come? Does it have the potential to move the needle on deeply entrenched social problems? And how badly has it been hurt by the current transparency controversy?
Use the comments section to share your thoughts....
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-- Mitch Nauffts