Kat Rosqueta and Amy Schiller discuss the challenges and future of the philanthropic sector

Kat Rosqueta sits next to Amy Schiller at a crowded table.Who should philanthropy be accountable to? What should the philanthropic sector be responsible for versus the public sector? How can philanthropy promote equity when wealth inequality is on the rise?

On April 24th, 2024, funders and students gathered in a packed room to hear Kat Rosqueta, founding executive director of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, and Amy Schiller, author of The Price of Humanity: How Philanthropy Went Wrong and How to Fix It, discuss these questions and more in a conversation moderated by Doug Bauer, Executive Director of the Clark, Scriven, and Fernleigh Foundations.

The event was hosted by the Nonprofit Leadership Program at the School of Social Policy and Practice of the University of Pennsylvania in conjunction with Bauer’s class in the program, Philanthropy and the City.

Schiller and Rosqueta discussed the role of beneficiaries in philanthropic decision-making. “So many people who are trying to improve philanthropy are focusing on the question ‘how do we fix it?’, but I think the better question is ‘who decides?’” Rosqueta said.

Involving beneficiaries also makes philanthropy more effective. “The closer you get to the people experiencing the challenges you’re trying to solve, the better you can fix those problems,” Rosqueta said.

Rosqueta and Schiller also talked about effective altruism and the sector’s role in improving people’s quality of life. “Philanthropy should sustain someone’s whole humanity, not just prevent them from dying,” Schiller said. “We need to move towards recognizing people’s whole, complex humanity in our giving.”