A growing number of America's richest private foundations are challenging hunger, poverty and global warming. Is it a "golden age of philanthropy" or a "tournament of billionaires?" Can they avoid the mistakes of the previous Green Revolution? Can philanthropy make a profit? Also, Ford cuts more jobs in its "Way Forward," and Muslims condemn Pope Benedict's comments about holy war. The Vatican says he just wants "respect and dialogue" between religions.
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Speaking yesterday at a German university, Benedict XVI quoted from a 14th Century Christian emperor. "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." Although the Pope twice reminded the audience that those were somebody else's words, the speech has caused outrage throughout the Muslim world.
Semih Idiz, Columnist, Milliyet
Bill and Melinda Gates, the Rockefeller Foundation, George Soros and Google are all spending big money on hunger, poverty and global warming. Soros is giving $50 billion to what's called the Millennium Promise, and two foundations--Gates and Rockefeller--have joined forces in a new Green Revolution designed to fight poverty in Africa by ending hunger. Supporters welcome a "golden age of philanthropy," but at least one skeptic calls it a "tournament of billionaires" full of potential pitfalls. The Green Revolution caused environmental problems in Asia and Latin America. Can that be avoided in Africa? Can well-intentioned assistance bypass corrupt and incompetent governments and get to the people who need it? Can philanthropy generate profits?
John Otim, President of the Agricultural Council of Uganda
Glyvyns Chinkhuntha, Executive Director of the Freedom Gardens in Dowa, Malawi
Paul Schervish, Director of the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy, Boston College
William Easterly, New York University (@bill_easterly)