The Center for American Progress held “Progressivism on Tap,” a relaxed event at a local D.C. restaurant and bar. The guest was former president and CEO of the Atlantic Philanthropies and current fellow at New York Universitys Robert Wagner School of Public Service Gara LaMarche. The event highlighted the liberal question, “Is Big Philanthropy Undermining Democracy?”
There was an inevitable question on “right-wing philanthropy”, but LaMarche actually gave praise where it was deserved. However, LaMarche believed that conservative organizations like the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society only survived because “the right has been very shrewd in building its infrastructure, media” and non-profits and avoided the scrutiny of the media and liberal philanthropies.
One of the greatest ironies is that LaMarche said that philanthropies, which he assumes to be actual charitable organizations and non-profits, are “trying to make sure they don’t tilt one way or the other”. He pointed out that too many people think nonprofits are “thinly veiled” political fronts. Then, LaMarche emphasized the need for more activist non-profits. He said that “if they have good views on things like social justice, they need to be less concerned with Republican support” to get the results they want.
Yet, even though he is a Soros supporter, LaMarche concluded that he still worries “about the disproportionate power of big foundations” in today’s world.
Spencer Irvine is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.
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