Anyone who’s spent any time around foundations eventually realizes two things. First, there’s no shortage of good works to be done, and foundations are doing plenty of it. But second, the impact of direct philanthropy pales in comparison to the impact of shaping more effective and efficient uses of the vastly larger public resources available to government.
For this reason, farsighted philanthropists all come to realize that advocacy — i.e., efforts to shape how public resources are utilized — offers the best possible bang for the charitable buck.
So if the choice for a high-net-worth patriot is to (a) devote him or herself to a foundation, or (b) run for president or invest in related efforts, there’s no question that the presidential campaign is the path to greater impact.
That’s because there is simply no better vehicle for advocacy than a presidential campaign. It’s the moment every four years when the press and public are attuned to a broad discussion of the nation’s future. And with our two parties poised to run grossly misleading campaigns next year in their drive to win 50 percent plus one, the opportunity to break through with real answers and straight talk is enormous.http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-billionaires-chance-to-save-the-country/2011/08/31/gIQAUhXtrJ_print.html