The Corner

Philanthropies Left and Right

The Left has a whole organization devoted to studying conservative philanthropy. It’s called the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, also known by its acronym NCRP (pronounced “N-crap”). Actually, I’ve found a lot of their publications to be professional and worthwhile — all from a certain perspective, of course, but also honest attempts to understand and evaluate the Right. I spoke at a Hudson Institute forum last year and one of my co-panelists was from NCRP. He sincerely believes that the Left has a lot to learn from the Right in terms of infrastructure and organization. A simple observation: Conservative philanthropies are much more likely to stick by their grantees over long stretches of time–in other words, they keep going back to the tried and true (which is not surprising for conservatives). On the Left, however, donors often pursue fads and trends–they may help get a group up and running, but rather than trying to sustain it over time, they abandon it for something else. This winds up having an impact on which ideas are developed and which messages are heard. Mike Joyce was definitley a member of the “stand by me” school of thought–if he believed you were talented and hardworking and worth supporting, then his support of you (through the Olin Foundation and later the Bradley Foundation) was likely to last quite a while.

John J. Miller — John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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