By: Susan Raymond, Ph.D., 12/21/06
There is an irony emerging in philanthropy, and it will grow enormously as wealth changes hands in the coming generational shift in America. It is an irony that is good neither for public policy nor for civil society.
In our nation there are two expressions of public will. The first is at the ballot box. There is, of course, an indirect path from the expression via voting to the ultimate embodiment of public will in public policy. One makes the assumption that a vote for an individual will be expressed in the policies that are enacted. But, as all participants in democracy know, that link can be less a hoop of steel than a fine silken thread. Whether or not public will leads to publicly willed public policy is often hard to tell."