NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Relying On Foundations For Social Answers

February 28, 2000

Some observers of American social trends predict that foundations and nonprofit institutions will emerge as the problem solvers of this century. They expect that citizens and voters to put more confidence in these entities to confront and surmount social ills, as they increasingly lose respect for government's attempts to fix things.

The resource base of charities has deepened dramatically in just the past few years -- thanks to the booming value of equities. Among a sample group of foundations surveyed by the Foundation Center, giving jumped 22.2 percent in 1998 -- to $9.8 billion.

Foundations have the ability to work for beneficial change -- which the public sector lacks. This was expressed by a series of questions in an editorial in today's Wall Street Journal.

  • Who, the editors asked, is more likely to rehabilitate a criminal, the Department of Corrections or Charles Colson's Prison Fellowship?
  • Who is more likely to get the ghetto child onto a college track, the New York City public-school system or John Cardinal O'Connor's parochial schools?
  • Who is more likely to teach new Russian immigrants English, city hall or the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society?

Source: Editorial, "Embarrassment of Riches," Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2000.

 

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