January 8, 2008
MEDIA ADVISORY: Stanford philanthropy center to host Google executives' Jan. 10 talk on charitable giving
Two of the leading executives behind Google's philanthropic efforts will be speaking on Jan. 10 at Stanford on a recent study about how charitable giving tends not to go to the people who need it most.
According to the study from Google.org, Google's philanthropic arm, and Indiana University, "Less than one-third of money individuals gave to nonprofits in 2005 was focused on the needs of the economically disadvantaged." That is at odds with what people state as their reason for giving, the researchers said.
The study was the recent subject of an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Sheryl Sandberg, vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google Inc. and a board member of Google.org, the company's affiliated charitable foundation. She and her colleague, Dr. Ellen Konar, a social and organizational psychologist who heads the new Online Sales and Operations Customer Labs at Google, will give a presentation, "The Charity Gap," at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, at the Humanities Center on the Stanford campus.
The talk is the latest in a series of monthly seminars sponsored by the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford, known as the PACS Center. The talks generally attract an audience of scholars, foundation representatives and Silicon Valley business and nonprofit leaders.
The center, which was established last year with the backing of the Hewlett Foundation, takes a novel approach to studying the philanthropic sector, by looking at how philanthropic groups both sustain and depend upon civil society while also scrutinizing the role philanthropy plays in solving problems in the United States and the world. So far the center has supported research of faculty, graduate students and undergraduates on subjects ranging from the effect of the current outburst of philanthropic dollars on "scaling up" the charter school system to the role of nonprofit groups in distributing drugs to fight AIDS in Africa.
Among academic centers that study philanthropy, the PACS Center is unusual, if not unique, in stressing an interdisciplinary approach to understanding philanthropy in a broader social, political and historical context and offering classes for undergraduates as well as graduate students. Its most recent class, for instance, is a seminar, "Theories of Philanthropy and Civil Society," taught by Rob Reich, associate professor of political science, and Bruce Sievers, visiting scholar at the Haas Center for Public Service and former executive director of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund. It covers the modern history of philanthropy in the United States, starting with the views of Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller through discussion of the rationale and effectiveness of the tax incentive for charitable giving.
The PACS Center is under the auspices of the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, which helps PACS focuses on the interdisciplinary challenges, and the Haas Center for Public Service, which helps with the connection to practice.
The discussion on Jan. 10 is likely to involve questions about whether steps are needed to encourage a different distribution of charitable funds and what roles different institutions could play in enacting such a change. Reporters are encouraged to register in advance to ensure that there is space reserved for them. Please contact Malka Kopell, the PACS Center executive director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 723-7259 for additional information.
This media advisory is intended solely for planning purposes, not for publication.