DAVID CALLAHAN is founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy. He has written extensively on trends in philanthropy, as well as American culture, public policy and business. David is author, most recently, of The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age.
Before launching Inside Philanthropy in 2014, David co-founded Demos, the national think tank, where he held various leadership positions and conducted research on a wide range of issues related to economic and political inequality, as well as writing on moral values, professional ethics and business. Previously, David was a resident scholar at the Century Foundation and managing editor of the American Prospect, the public policy journal.
In addition to The Givers, David is the author of seven widely reviewed books on domestic and international issues, including The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead. He has appeared on hundreds of television and radio programs, including major networks and national NPR shows. He has published numerous op-ed and feature articles, including in the New York Times and Washington Post. He has spoken at over 150 universities and associations around the U.S., frequently as a keynote speaker.
David is a graduate of Hampshire College and received his Ph.D. from Princeton University, where he studied American politics and international relations. David lives in Santa Monica, California.
In recent years, many foundations have put equity front and center in their work. But economic stratification only seems to be getting worse in America. Here's where funders have gone wrong.
There's a lot going on in philanthropy right now. We cast an eye forward, offering predictions about what lies ahead for the world of giving in 2018.
For years, donors have been complaining that it’s hard to find nonprofits that can absorb very large grants. Now, MacArthur hasn't just made its own $100 million bet. It's teed up a whole bunch of other well-vetted ideas.
It's not just that the bill will increase the dominance of wealthy donors over civil society by reducing giving by ordinary Americans. It will also lead to more government cuts, with private givers filling the void left behind.
Two years after the founding of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, there's a lot to like about the couple's giving, including their risky push into advocacy. Less appealing is their embrace of an uncritical techno-optimism.
By now, it's a familiar story: funders feeling compelled to change tactics by the rise of Donald Trump. For some, like Propel Capital, that's meant backing hard-hitting grassroots activism in new and bolder ways.
Amid a fresh onslaught of attacks on the Clinton Foundation, it's a good moment to look at how the shadowy world of elite philanthropy often draws suspicion—and what dangers may lie ahead for the sector.
The House tax reform bill is the most sweeping attack on private charity in decades. To understand it, you need to look at how a tribal and libertarian right has come to view the nonprofit sector as an enemy.
Top donors are mainly guided by their relationships and instincts as opposed to research or metrics. These are among the findings of a new must-read study about this elite group.
News of a hidden $8 billion foundation based offshore in Bermuda underscores just how opaque the world of big philanthropy really is. What other surprises may be coming?
A new academic journal on education and philanthropy, launching this week, stands out in a field with little peer-reviewed scholarship. But will it be able to win respect in the ivory tower?
While few top U.S. foundations are paying attention to a campaign of genocidal violence in Myanmar, a cadre of small and determined grantmakers are deeply engaged in this crisis.
Giving by the wealthy is growing even as ordinary Americans are giving less, a trend that mirrors broader patterns of inequality in the U.S. How does this imbalance affect civil society?
Improving America’s schools has been something of a Holy Grail for funders—as well as a graveyard for ambitious philanthropic schemes. Lately, this funding field has been changing at warp speed.
Six weeks after the New America Foundation ousted a project that criticized Google, it's an open question whether dissenting voices that challenge the power of big tech can find the funding they need.
In a major shift, the Gates Foundation will focus on supporting locally driven K-12 solutions—embracing an idea that animated the Annenberg Challenge of the 1990s. Is the era of top-down K-12 reform coming to a close?
A large country like the U.S. will always have people with fringe viewpoints. But given the way that money can now buy influence and access, it's easier for extremists to shape public life. Robert Mercer is Exhibit A.
While a massive infusion of new wealth into OSF isn't expected to change its grantmaking in the near-term, the news underscores the earthquake in modern philanthropy as living donors write (much) bigger checks.
The giant bank has become a surprising leader in philanthropy's push for inclusive economic growth. We take a deep dive into the backstory—and what JPMorgan brings to the table that's new.
With the news that Zuck will soon begin to sell off millions of shares in Facebook, billions of dollars are set to flow to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. How will these funds be used?
It’s been cool to see a top foundation throw open its doors to any and all ideas, as MacArthur has done with its offer of a single $100 million grant. But this drawn out competition has also sent a wrong message.
The Facebook co-founder and his wife are expanding their policy agenda, moving into new and controversial issues, including criminal justice reform and housing. Where's the money flowing?
Ted Turner's $1 billion pledge to U.N. causes in 1997 ushered in a new era of big philanthropy. Twenty years later, we look at what this gift achieved.
Chris Stone is out as president of OSF. What led to his departure from one of the world's largest foundations? And what challenges, internal and external, does OSF face as it confronts a new era of authoritarianism?
Sean Parnell of The Philanthropy Roundtable and David Callahan, author of The Givers, have an extended debate over the book's ideas and policy prescriptions.
A report that the New America Foundation ousted a leading critic of Google, one of its funders, has raised familiar questions about where supposedly independent policy groups get their money.
With ever more untraceable money moving through philanthropy to shape public policy and public life, it's time to reckon with the dangers of this trend and overhaul an outdated set of disclosure rules.
The first anti-trafficking group in the U.S., working locally with survivors who've escaped bondage, is now going stronger than ever. Where does its funding come from?
Nat Williams and the Black Social Change Funders Network argue that under-investment in black-led organizations is hurting the social justice sector writ large. What needs to change?
Everywhere we look, donor-advised funds and venture philanthropy groups are growing as new wealth floods the sector. We sort through the upsides and downsides of this trend.