On Maintaining Health Skepticism about Government

From Chester E. Finn, Jr., Thomas B. Fordham Institute: “When you team up with the government, you compromise your ability to be critical of the government, and sometimes you compromise your ability to do controversial and maybe unpopular things with your money.”

  • Even though I don’t like it, I find this to be a true statement. In partnering with our city, we found it harder to be true to ourselves.
  • Far too often, government funding seems to come with restrictions that jeopardize innovation.
  • Actually, government needs foundations to be critical and do controversial and unpopular things. When we in government collaborate with private organizations, we are often looking for someone who can be controversial where we can’t be.
  • As an independent funder, we often make grants to NGOs which are otherwise reliant on government funds in order to give them some spare capacity to be critical of government when necessary.
  • We work with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. This quote is especially true for these communities, as their interests are not always in line with governmental policy, as can be seen most acutely today with the issue of marriage.

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Working with Government.