Synopses & Reviews
An inside look at the secretive world of elite philanthropists – and how they’re quietly wielding ever more power to shape American life in ways both good and bad.
While media attention focuses on famous philanthropists such as Bill Gates and Charles Koch, thousands of donors are at work below the radar promoting a wide range of causes. David Callahan charts the rise of these new power players and the ways they are converting the fortunes of a second Gilded Age into influence. He shows how this elite works behind the scenes on education, the environment, science, LGBT rights, and many other issues – with deep impact on government policy. Above all, he shows that the influence of the Givers is only just beginning, as new waves of billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg turn to philanthropy. Based on extensive research and interviews with countless donors and policy experts, this is not a brief for or against the Givers, but a fascinating investigation of a power shift in American society that has implications for us all.
"A thoughtful call for transparency and oversight in the charity sector. Callahan discusses a range of efforts, both well known and less so. This striking, thought-provoking work is perfectly timed as American activists move to confront a new presidential administration." Publishers Weekly
"An intriguing look at the world of big-ticket philanthropy… An eye-opening view of a vast sector of the economy that lies in the shadows but has undue influence, for ill or good. The best part of Callahan’s book is not its account of the various players in this mega-giving, the Zuckerbergs and Bill Gateses of the world, but instead his view of the machinery that has grown up to surround big giving." Kirkus Reviews
"Makes a strong case for greater oversight as megawealthy individuals, driven by the tech billionaires and committed to the 'Giving Pledge,' attempt to redistribute much of their wealth during their lifetimes. Not all gloom-and-doom, Callahan includes many positive examples in this fascinating look into perhaps one of the least understood trends in the public square." Dan Kaplan, Booklist (Starred Review)
About the Author
David Callahan is the author of seven previous nonfiction books including The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead and Fortunes of Change: The Rise of the Liberal Rich and the Remaking America. He is founder and editor of the media site Inside Philanthropy, and co-founder of the national think tank Demos. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent media commentator. He is a graduate of Hampshire College and holds a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University.