Skip to content

Giving Now: Accelerating Human Rights for All | Patricia Illingworth

People in this story

Patricia Illingworth, Professor of Philosophy and Business; Lecturer, Law and Public Policy

Dirty dollars, tainted donors and “poverty porn” have caused a social backlash against philanthropy. As more wealth is concentrated in the hands of a rising number of billionaires, it is clear that the same system that created their wealth also perpetuates deep inequality, social injustice, and human suffering.

Philanthropists often give with strings attached. They want to make the world a better place, but insist on their own vision of what constitutes a better world. Some donors also pay with tainted money, give to hate groups, or use their money to launder their reputations. Nonprofits that ignore the warning signs are often complicit in the fallout that comes with “dark dollars”.

Using case studies, Patricia Illingworth shows how to address this problem. She argues that approaching philanthropy through a human rights lens can improve the quality of giving, resolve urgent quandaries, and mitigate the social injustice that philanthropy can perpetuate. A philosopher and lawyer, Illingworth makes the case that people and organizations have human rights responsibilities that should guide philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. When philanthropy begins to acknowledge, respect, and protect human rights it will regain its social license and help to make the world a better place.

More Stories

The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen displaying output from ChatGPT, March 21, 2023, in Boston.

Why the OpenAI drama matters in Massachusetts

Line graph showing the rise and fall of teen employment. The line peaks at 04/01/20, then dips severely.

Teen unemployment spikes, signals potential weakness in US labor force

Image of a hand holding a graphic that displays the ChatGPT logo.

Generative AI and Policymaking for the New Frontier