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The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof makes recommendations for charitable giving this season here. But he missed half the point and way more than half the potential impact. Here’s what I had to say in a comment on his blog:
Nick Kristof: You are leaving out leverage! Please do a complementary column on how contributors can be force multipliers by mixing philanthropy with good politics. To quote Ezra Klein in the Washington Post : "Charities that work to make the government's policies better have a unique ability to take small investments and turn them into tremendous outcomes. If you're looking for bang for your philanthropic buck, they're the place to start."
Of course I like that he mentions the Center for Global Development as the example on international policy, with "an outsize influence on decision-makers."
But philanthropists large and small should diversify their portfolios: A smile on a child's face today with a better meal, yes; AND that child's life transformed because the U.S. opened its market to shoes from Cambodia and her mom got one of the new jobs thus created. Policy leverage!
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