A Catchy, Popular, Attractive, and Bad Idea

[This post was co-published in The Chronicle of Philanthropy on August 9, 2016.]

The charitable world has been buzzing recently about a new idea from the Minneapolis Foundation: The Pay It Forward Forever Fund, a uniquely structured effort to build a community endowment. Many people see the Pay It Forward Forever Fund as innovative and far-sighted, but it strikes me as precisely the wrong sort of initiative. Its founders miss the point about how philanthropy should work, and they misunderstand the needs of society and the appropriate role of a charitable endowment. Continue reading

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