Community Forum on the Nonprofit Sector

The Self-Help Myth: How Philanthropy Fails to Alleviate Poverty
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  • Can philanthropy alleviate inequality?
  • Do antipoverty programs work on the ground?
  • How do we develop a “win-win”?

Through the lens of a provocative set of case studies, The Self-Help Myth discusses how philanthropy maintains systems of inequality by attracting attention to the behavior of poor people while shifting the focus away from structural inequities and relationships of power that produce poverty. Foundation professionals pursue well-intentioned, hopeful strategies that contain specific “theories of change” based on traditional American ideals of individualism and hard work. But when used in partnership with well-defined limits around what foundations will and will not fund, do these ideals become fuzzy concepts that leave relationships of poverty and inequality untouched?

Join Guest Professor Erica Kohl-Arenas for an enthusiastic debate into the root causes of poverty and what the existing philanthropic structure can and cannot do to address them.

Please call (414) 229-3176 for more information.