SPEA V336 – Nonprofit Book Review
23 September, 2014
The Foundation: A Great American Secret; How Private Wealth is Changing the World. Joel L. Fleishman. New York: Public Affairs. 2007. 621 pp.
The emergency phone response system of nine-one-one, rapidly growing economy abroad in India, public radio and public broadcasting, financial assistance to college students and their families through government programs, and community-development corporations (CDC). What do all these structures have in common? They all align with a foundation that has assisted in their development. Private foundations have been the cornerstone of social improvement since their invention, however only a small percentage of the public is aware of their existence. Joel L. Fleishman seeks to educate unfamiliar readers of the multipurpose actions foundations fulfill. The Foundation: A Great American Secret; How Private Wealth is Changing the World explores the many themes that foundations and philanthropies gratify. There are over sixty-eight thousand foundations that allow Americans to supersede previous norms and extend education, change debauched human behaviors, create new policy and biological advances, and more. Without the funding or relentless effort to achieve the establishment of these foundations’ countless discoveries and beneficial accomplishments would not have happened. Twelve high-impact foundation case studies, out of the one hundred compiled by Fleishman, support foundational success in a number of different categories. When observing these case studies, one cannot help but be in awe of the large impact foundations have made on society. Expansion of medical education, building schools in rural areas for African Americans, attributing to reduction in world hunger, creating contraceptive methods to lessen population over-growth, and strategizing to reduce teen smoking are just a few efforts. Implementing good-cause foundational variations into society makes for a more intelligent, better operating, and more humane world. Foundation work is not one hundred percent wholesome though, there are several flaws noted that are imbedded into certain organizations. Somewhat downplayed at the start of the book Fleishman states, “Foundations, after all, are among our most powerful, least accountable, and significantly tax-benefited institutions” (42). With foundations being unrealized by such a vast amount of the population, they are able to slide by on these denunciations. Although, a later chapter dives further into the subject of poorly operated foundations; a few whom operate unethically and exhibit an impression of arrogance. Several behaviors that corrupted foundations typically demonstrate include discourtesy, inaccessibility, arbitrariness, failure to communicate, and quickly shifting contributed grants after brief terms. These faults are easily overlooked and continue to occur due to only ten percent of the public being aware of any foundation existence. The shortcomings of foundations need to be addressed and altered respecting the initial aspirations set for the organization. In contrast, many foundations are faith-based and give to ministries across the globe. The Christian philanthropic view centers on being faithfully present. They aim to lift up those who are in need, bring peace and understanding to conflict-torn places, spread knowledge and truth, and fix systems in societies that cause or allow harm. Moreover, faithful presence compels faith-based foundations to pursue matters of true importance and ones that make an impact on society, but the missions must always retain to what is right and true. This attitude carries over to the active members of the organization who are expected to encompass good faith and good-will in order to be fully engaged in their work. In relation to this statute, John D. Rockefeller comments on the relative subject of selfishness among the rich, Fleishman…