Gift Hub (Blogging Philanthropy from A Dumpster) is a favorite blog of mine. On “ Foundation Trustees as Stewards of the Public Interest” I left this comment:
Personally, I’d like to see society make a point of separating out Charity (giving to those of equal social standing) and Mercy (giving to those of lesser standing). Imagine if the IRS determined the status of your donations based upon your income and the organization’s clientelle. Flat taxes, graduated giving; now there’s a platform.
I received this reply from the blog’s author, Phil Cubeta (Morals Tutor to America’s Wealthiest Families):
Ben, interesting comment. Mercy implies maybe a differential in power. Charity implies maybe caritas or gifts made out of solidarity, in the sense that we are all children of God. Philanthropia from philia is redolent of Greek concepts of magnificence. The philanthropist would create or endow great public buildings or monuments or entertainments. Whether gifts to the poor or into things that help the poor should receive a bigger tax benefit, or be somehow required for foundations, is a big debate right now. The more rules and penalties though the less the rich will play. They have the option of opting out and keeping the money. How much philanthropy we have and how it is directed or shared are two different questions. I suspect we will have more if we leave givers free to be themselves, though we may deplore the self they are.