Texas Philanthropist: Our Contributions Can Not Replace Public Funding

Print Share on LinkedIn More

February 17, 2011; Source: America-Statesman | According to Janet Harmon of the KDK Harmon Foundation of Austin, last week Texas grantmakers who support public education took a field trip to the Statehouse to talk with legislators. It was the first time they had ever done so, although they have been involved in public private partnership efforts for some time. They spent some time listening to lawmakers and finance experts apparently, but they also had a message to send – "don’t depend on philanthropy to replace public money!"

Harmon writes in this opinion piece from the Austin American-Statesman, “According to some, philanthropic foundations, corporate giving programs, United Ways, faith-based organizations and nonprofits will be able to absorb the cuts made to critical state services. Though this notion has obvious appeal to policymakers making heartbreaking budget cuts, the simple fact of the matter is that private philanthropy cannot fill the chasm that will be created by cuts to education and health and human services currently under consideration.”

Perhaps this is an obvious point but well worth repeating to legislators who may still be entertaining fantasies that if they let critical services go others will pick it all up.—Ruth McCambridge

  • Nikki Zeuner

    Not only will philanthropy be unable to pick up the tab… it shouldn’t. Social services that are dependent on charity, and on the choices of the wealthiest few… that’s called plutocracy. More kvetching about this here:

  • Donald Griesmann

    If the government currently supports an entity, say the arts, and on a given date stops funding the arts entirely, what will the private donors do? Will they add to their contributions? Will they help the boards of the arts programs solicit funds? I do not think so. But I could be wrong. I think it is highly possible that many will join government and also stop supporting the arts because much of it cannot pay to survive on the contributions and other income alone. That is a severe negative impact. Dare I say that is the result sought by our representatives? And why don’t they admit it?