High Impact Philanthropy Blog: Rethinking the E-Word

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The following post was originally published on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog as part of a series exploring the meaning and value of strategic philanthropy.

Evidence-based philanthropy. To some, that phrase offers the promise of long-overdue rigor. If the first principle of philanthropy and social impact is to do good, then evidence-based philanthropy ensures that we honor its corollary: Do no harm.

To others, that phrase represents all that is going wrong with philanthropy and social innovation—the rise of the ivory-tower theorists and technocrats whose logic models and fixation with metrics blind them to real-world knowledge and common sense.

It’s time to rethink that pesky E word: evidence.


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