Andrew Carnegie wrote his original “Gospel of Wealth” in 1889, during the height of the gilded age, when the country’s 4,000 richest families held almost as much wealth as the other 11.6 million American families combined. His essay laid the foundation for modern philanthropy.
Today, we find ourselves in a new gilded age — defined by levels of inequality that far surpass those of Carnegie’s time. The widening chasm between haves and have-nots demands our immediate attention.
Now is the time for a new “Gospel of Wealth.”
In From Generosity to Justice: A New Gospel of Wealth, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, articulates a bold vision for philanthropy in the twenty-first century. With contributions from an array of thinkers, activists, and leaders including Ai-jen Poo, Laurene Powell Jobs, David Rockefeller Jr., and Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, Walker challenges and emboldens readers to consider philanthropy as a tool for achieving economic, social, and political justice.
That task requires humility, moral courage, and an unwavering commitment to democratic values and institutions. It demands that all members of society recognize their own privilege and position, address the root causes of social ills, and seek out and listen to those who live amid and experience injustice.
What began in Carnegie’s day as a manual for generosity now becomes a guide that moves us closer to justice — a guide that helps each of us find a way to contribute.
Justice is calling. It’s time we answer.