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Elitists Violating Donor Intent

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Over at, I have a blog post commenting our study of the American Library Association and two classic diseases of the nonprofit world that study brings to mind.

The first disease is the capture by the Left of a national group composed of ordinary Americans. Our study of the ALA shows that its leaders are far to the left of its typical member, and this kind of capture has even happened over the years to groups like the Southern Baptists, which you wouldn’t think susceptible to such a takeover.

Second, the subject of librarians recalls Andrew Carnegie’s great crusade to help local communities across America build public libraries. Alas, as our friend Bill Schambra of the Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal points out, the staff at Carnegie’s main philanthropy for his library project wrested the money out of the old man’s hands and soon abandoned his donor intent. The board and staff stopped seeding libraries in towns and cities. Instead, they preferred to fund the spread of “library science,” by which they meant spreading “progressive” ideology via experts on high. Or, as I summarize in my piece:

Ordinary Americans, in short, just can’t improve themselves on their own initiative, and local communities can’t advance intellectual progress by maintaining a library for those ordinary folks. You need a well-paid expert’s backside warming a chair in a building in a major East Coast metropolis to do that (and it’s best to pay that backside with the interest off a fortune amassed by an ordinary American who improved himself through his own hard work and entrepreneurship).

Read the whole piece here.

The Author

Scott Walter

Walter served in the George W. Bush administration as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and was vice president for publications and research at the Philanthropy Roundtable. There…