Giving with Impact:

Season 3 Episode 4
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Exploring Philanthropic Approaches: Trust-based and Strategic Giving

Since the late 1990's, the philanthropic sector has been focused on data- and results-driven approaches, often referred to under the umbrella of "strategic philanthropy." It can be argued that this thinking has strengthened the field of philanthropy in many ways, helping to bring greater rigor and focus to the hundreds of billions of dollars in annual charitable giving. At the same time, some have argued that an unexpected outcome of these practices is a distancing between donors and those grantees who are doing the work of effectively addressing issue areas, lessening their voice, and reinforcing systemic inequities. These critiques have led to the emergence of the movement known as trust-based philanthropy. At its core, trust-based philanthropy is about redistributing power—systemically, organizationally, and interpersonally—in service of a healthier and more equitable nonprofit sector. So, as a donor, how do you reconcile these two approaches? What does each mean for giving strategies? And are they really as disparate as some would believe?

Moderator: Michael Gordon Voss, publisher of Stanford Social Innovation Review


  • Philip Li, President and CEO of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation
  • Nadia Roumani, Senior Designer with Stanford, and Co-founder of Stanford's Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative
  • Julia Reed, Director-Relationship Management, Schwab Charitable

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