A Student Again

This week I'm going back to school. I will be auditing a course that I think will not only help me figure out the higher education conundrum (see my 7/10 post), but will also help me be a better new generation philanthropist by learning its past, present and future. The professor has allowed me to blog on the class, but requested that I not specify the class to maintain its integrity with the students who are taking it. So between this month and December, expect weekly musings and insight about the readings (which are in the public domain) as I progress through the semester. I hope good conversation can occur on this site as we all go forward in our philanthropic and foundation work.
And just to whet your appetite, here's an excerpt from the school's website about the class:

...some foundations, especially large ones, have grander and more aggressive ambitions. They aspire to function as proactive change agents that are instrumental in incubating and creating new institutions, fostering and deploying new knowledge, cultivating and spreading innovative ideas, spawning and
sustaining social movements, informing and shaping public opinion, reforming major institutions and service delivery systems, and impacting public policy.

...we will examine: (1) the original and continuing rationale for the existence of foundations; (2) significant examples of this catalytic role achieving its intended purpose; (3) high profile instances where best intentions backfired; and (4) the controversies that can arise when foundations choose sides in ideologically charged debates. The seminar will also concentrate on the spirited criticism that occasionally erupts over whether foundations are sufficiently transparent and accountable for their expenditures and impact; whether they should exist in perpetuity or be required to spend their way out of existence; whether and how they should be held responsible for the dubious actions of grantees; and whether they should be subjected to more rigorous legislative and regulatory strictures and oversight.

Let the learning begin!