Stanford Social Innovation Review : Informing and inspiring leaders of social change

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Philanthropy

Philanthropy in a Time of Polarization

The days when major foundations could remain above the partisan fray, even as they were deeply engaged in advocating changes in public policy, are all but gone. The polarization of the US political scene is imposing new limits on how foundations can operate in that sphere. But it’s also revealing new ways in which they can influence the policy process.

 

The battle over the Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2010, is now in its fifth year. Republicans and conservatives oppose everything about the law and use every lever of power—votes to repeal it, legal challenges, active efforts to discourage constituents from signing up for health insurance—in hopes of dismantling it. Democrats and liberals embrace the ACA, defend it in court, and encourage participation in the insurance exchanges...


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