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Some weeks ago Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, had a post in the Chronicle of Higher Education, where he is a regular blogger, arguing that  "American higher education depends profoundly on philanthropy, and whatever threatens philanthropy threatens American higher education."

In his post, Wood calls attention to Greenlining's efforts to impose diversity regulations on private foundations.  His entire post may be read here.

Greenlining's Orson Aguilar and Bruce Mirken have respond, arguing that because private foundations receive favorable tax status, their assets belong, at least in part, to the public.  As such, Aguilar and Wilson claim, the public -- through greater regulation -- ought to have greater say in how private foundations are governed and where they invest their philanthropic resources.  Aguilar and Mirken's post may be read here.

Peter Wood responds to Aguilar and Mirken,  arguing that "Greenlining supervenes the principles of philanthropic giving that have been in place for some two hundred years in the U.S. It breaks the trust that donors have placed in foundations to carry out their lawful wishes. Under greenlining, their wealth is diverted for purposes they never intended, and future philanthropists would find their choices constrained." Wood's post may be read in its entirety here.

It is helpful here to recall Naomi Schaefer Riley's excellent monograph on philanthropic diversity, American Philanthropic Diversity: What It Means, Why It Matters.  Schaefer Riley argues:

True diversity does not come from charitable organizations meeting some cosmetic ratio of race, ethnicity, and gender (or any other arbitrary criterion) among staff, boards, and grantees. That is a cramped, narrow, and unnatural understanding of diversity. Rather, true diversity exists when many different individuals and many different institutions freely commit themselves to a sweeping array of charitable activities.

Charitable giving in the United States is diverse because the American people are diverse—diverse in our aspirations, diverse in our beliefs, and diverse in our most deeply cherished values.

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