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In Detroit, foundations stepped in to cushion bankruptcy blow, but how much should philanthropy intervene when local government can't do its job?

"The foundations that agreed to pool more than $330-million to smooth the way for a bankruptcy settlement in Detroit are proposing to use philanthropy in an unprecedented way to shore up a troubled city, going beyond traditional grant making to help cover municipal debts.The move raises the stakes in the perennial question about how much philanthropy should step in to cover functions normally undertaken by public bodies. If this effort succeeds, some experts ask, will other cities with financial problems ask foundations to bail them out? 'Have we now crossed a line where foundations are in fact picking up the slack for government?' asks William Schambra, a Chronicle columnist and director of the Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal at the Hudson Institute." -- Suzanne Perry, the Chronicle of Philanthropy

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