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Philanthropy Project


 

For thousands of years do-gooders have unintentionally instigated famine and war. Europe and England’s Crusades were only one example. Leaders that attempted to do good in the name of religion, or any other ideal, often caused more harm than good. The United States of America was a fresh start built upon an ideal that was dependent on individual responsibility.

To promote responsibility is the motto and reason for the Harry Singer Foundation. To remind the world that freedom cannot exist without  personal  responsibility  is our goal. Unfortunately, 2008 showed  the  world  that—only too well. Laws are restrictions on freedom and since Americans continue to prove that men are not angels, our laws continue to  proliferate and  we  end up  with  a government where a few people decide how to direct everybody’s effort and spend other people’s money.  Thankfully,  America  is more than a country—it is an idea that can be embraced by  any individual in  the world. However, that individual will only attain the promised freedom by also embracing personal responsibility.

The founders of the Harry Singer Foundation view philanthropy as an integral part of the thinking of the founders of United States of America.  Embedded in  those founding documents was the desire for  independence, freedom from tyranny and the opportunity  to achieve whatever individual hard work and determination could produce. The role of government was minimal as it was expected to be balanced by philanthropy. Philanthropy is the natural impulse of people sharing hardships and hardships are the byproduct of independence, creativity and determination. This is stated in the following quotation from The Theory of the Moral Sentiments, the 1759 book that made Adam Smith famous:

“A  sacred and religious regard not to hurt or disturb in any  respect  the happiness of  our  neighbour, even  in those  cases where no law can properly  protect him, constitutes  the character of  the perfectly innocent and just  man; a  character which, when  carried to a certain delicacy  of  attention,  is  always  highly respectable and even venerable for its own sake, and can scarce ever fail to be accompanied with many other virtues, with great feeling for other people, with great humanity and great benevolence.”

Philanthropy is not an obligation, a responsibility nor a “we’re-all-in-this-together” bromide. It is the natural outpouring of support that flows from proud, free, independent human beings. It is empathy between responsible people.

It  is also an essential  part  of  the  American ideal.  Only  when  private  sector philanthropy  takes  its  place  as  a  co-equal  with government can the size of government be contained. Government, a consumer, not a producer, now takes money  directly  from the producers and redistributes it instead of allowing those who produce the pleasure of doing it themselves.  Government  usurped philanthropy’s role by  taking on social programs and creating previously non-existent rights.

The small groups of  English that  first settled in New England  had struggled  to  achieve  the  highest  ideals  of  communism; struggled and failed. One hundred and fifty years later courageous and determined men penned the Declaration of Independence which nurtured another ideal. They were influenced by the words published in 1776 of a Scotsman, Adam Smith:

...every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of  the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to  promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support  of domestic to that of  foreign industry, he intends only  his own security; and  by directing that industry in  such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor  is  it  always  the  worse  for  the  society that  it was no part of  it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776

As John Adams, the second President of the United States reminded us: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

All of our programs and the programs of all the organizations that make up America’s independent sector are part of the Philanthropy Project. Some links are provided to help  you find responsibly run organizations and causes.

Guidestar - analysis of philanthropic projects and nonprofit tax returns

Independent Sector - research and  accountability reports 

Idealist - people, organizations, groups, jobs, volunteer opportunities, events, and more

Open Directory - provides categorized links to philanthropic projects

Atlas Economic Research Foundation - promotes free market projects

Building Blocks for Youth - seeks to protect minority youth in the justice system

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