This morning, the Chronicle of Philanthropy published a new piece from Arabella senior director Loren McArthur titled “Philanthropy Can’t Replace Our Broken Government — but It Can Help Rebuild It.” In the piece, Loren notes that “decades of disinvestment in government at all levels has resulted in weakened institutions that are less capable of addressing our most challenging societal problems.”
We have all witnessed the results of such disinvestment, in the attack on the US Capitol this week, in the failure of our government to adequately address COVID-19 over the past year, in the lack of a coherent response to racial injustice and inequity, and more.
Faced with such challenges, “stepping in to safeguard health and life where government has fallen short is a necessary and moral response on the part of philanthropists,” Loren argues. But it’s only a start and not a long-term solution. “Philanthropists cannot simply step into the breach and try to replace government. Instead, philanthropy should insist on government’s essential role in protecting the welfare of its residents and dedicate itself to restoring the ability of governmental institutions to fulfill that role.”
Why? “As Covid-19 has shown, government is the only entity with the authority and resources to mobilize the large-scale, society–wide responses needed to confront the types of global and existential threats we may face with increasing frequency in the coming years.”
In sum: Philanthropy can’t replace our broken government, but it can help to rebuild it. To learn more about what funders can do to help, read the full article here.