Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill

Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill is director of the Campus Free Expression Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Earlier in her career, she was Executive Director of the Fund for Academic Renewal, a program of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. She has been an adviser to Washington think tanks and educational nonprofit organizations. Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, Jacqueline served on the faculties of St. John’s College and the College of William & Mary. She has published articles about political philosophy, philanthropy, and higher education in journals such as The New Atlantis, Society, and Philanthropy. Jacqueline earned her M.A. and Ph.D. Duke University and her B.A. from the University of Calgary. Jacqueline is a trustee of the American Academy of Liberal Education. She was a trustee and president of Advocates for the Goucher Prison Education Partnership, and she has taught in the college program at Maryland’s only prison for women. She lives with her husband and their children in Takoma Park, Maryland.  Views expressed are her own.

Discretionary philanthropy? It’s the only kind.

To speak of philanthropy as “giving back” rather than simply of “giving” makes philanthropy seem to be a matter of justice rather than of generosity, stripping it of its moral character.

Philanthropy and Democracy

We often think of philanthropy as simply making a positive contribution to the life of the republic. But so-called “big philanthropy” – philanthropy carried out on the grandest scale by the wealthiest individuals and foundations – has a complicated place in a democracy like ours.

How the other half lives today

There have been two dominant approaches to explaining poverty: a liberal approach that emphasizes structural economic and historical causes of poverty, and a conservative approach that emphasizes cultural factors and individual failings.