Philanthropy Daily Digest


  1. Erik DeMarco says:

    It is wonderful that a group of wealthy individuals are becoming vocal about the need society has for its top earners and asset holders to share their money philanthropically.

    However, fighting for a tax rate increase is sure to be a fight they can’t win. There is a middle ground in there: somewhere between (a) trying to change tax laws for every citizen in the country, and (b) quietly cutting checks to the organizations worthy of your private funds without spreading the word.

    I hope the Responsible Wealth Network project can remain a vocal presence long after decisions for 2011 tax rates have been determined.

  2. Beth N says:

    I think this is a really interesting and innovative way to encourage wealthy individuals to act more philanthropically. It also encourages people to think about taxation and its connection to public services instead of a individual centric approach. I agree with Eric that there has to be a middle ground, and this may be a start. The concept of wanting to pay more taxes sounds shocking and grabs attention; once people are paying attention they are more likely to consider what they do with this excess money from tax breaks and compare it to what that money could do to benefit society.

  3. Kristen V says:

    Erik, in case this helps, the Responsible Wealth group isn’t lobbying to pay more taxes, but instead is suggesting that they don’t agree with the Bush tax cuts. The calculation provided by UFE and RW shows what they would have paid if the cuts had not been put into effect, and then these people can pledge to donate that amount (ie pay what they “would have” paid). Also, as the cuts are set to expire, Congress can decide to extend the cuts, and RW members suggest that they should not be extended. I know, minor differences of language, right? (But worth noting). So yes, this is an advocacy campaign more than anything. The angle of “wealthy wants to may more taxes” just makes for a better headline (and since I used to work at UFE, I’m glad to see the press)!

  4. Rachel Dellon says:

    Like other commenters, I applaud the Responsible Wealth Network and UFE for drawing attention to the connection between philanthropic- and taxpayer-funded initiatives. However, I do think it’s interesting to look at this in light of the NYT Green, Inc. column further down the page about “single-action bias,” and wonder what the group’s next steps will be: will they send out their checks (either to the government or to their personal causes) and consider their responsibility fulfilled, or will they truly delve into all the areas those tax dollars fund and expand their engagement with the nonprofit and public sector, and examine the most effective ways in which they can contribute?

    Of course, I realize there’s a middle ground there, too. But I do worry that the engagement potential might end up getting lost, assuming it’s been built in strongly enough to begin with.