On Charity vs. Investment

Ute, we have been responsible to say the least in using this slow building format that allows us a seemingly neutral place on the matter or funding relationships but I think it would be irresponsible if we didn’t spend a little bit of time on some of the complicated messy stuff. This is what the dinner table is for, after all!

I would like to engage you then Ute, in a conversation about the difference between charity and investment. An issue that has come up recently when a person was suggesting that there is a way to steward those who are without certain means and maybe they should not be given money directly. That they should be given services or materials instead, implying that their stewardship could not handle the responsibility of a cash gift. His tone was that of god! It really struck a chord because I sometimes think that funders assume a certain amount of responsibility over how well their gifts will be used and feel they have to make judgement calls about how significant their impact will be. Sometimes, the desire to have small dollars do huge things is enough to keep some artists from winning awards because their practices are not that way. But I am also talking about the culture of determinism and how those judging the character of an artist’s profile and work can be so potentially different from the makers. The basic questions are how do we determine the value of a philanthropic gesture- what does the money (or other resources) have to do? Who deserves these resources and by what rubric?

Do you have any thoughts on this stuff. I am attempting to avoid a rant and will have clearer thoughts in a couple hours. I could also use some outside help on this one.

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