Ideas to Action:

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Views from the Center


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!


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD does not take institutional positions.