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Giving Innovation Summit 2024: The Place of Pluralism in Charitable Giving

April 29 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm


Pluralism has long been an ideal commonly invoked to celebrate American civil society in general and charity and philanthropy in particular. It’s been defined most often in terms of seeing a diversity of causes and perspectives as an inherent good. The “let a thousand flowers bloom” approach has governed how many people have thought about the norms and institutions that define both large- and smaller-scale giving in this country. But the past decade has witnessed several prominent challenges to the status of pluralism in charitable and philanthropic giving, featured in recent Urban Institute research on the topic and as a central issue of discussion on the Commons, the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s new digital home for exchanging ideas and solutions about how philanthropy and nonprofits can best heal divides. Some have pointed out how pluralism can dull or discourage critiques of problematic causes, and others have said it is important and urgent to support some causes over others.

Join the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy and the Chronicle of Philanthropy for the 2024 Giving Innovation Summit as we bring together leading figures in charitable giving and philanthropy to deepen this debate and to ask what role pluralism does and should play in the charitable and philanthropic sectors. Together, we will explore the history of the concept in relation to giving norms, probe what we really mean when we invoke the term, examine pluralism’s relation to equity, and examine how it might be misused or misunderstood. We will also ask whether pluralism might be in tension or compatible with more prescriptive approaches that call for giving to particular causes or institutions over others.


  • Aisha Alexander-Young, Managing Director, Frontline Solutions
  • Sam Gill, President and CEO, Doris Duke Foundation
  • Brian Hooks, Chairman and CEO, Stand Together
  • Stacy Palmer, Chief Executive, Chronicle of Philanthropy
  • Hilary Pennington, Executive Vice President, Ford Foundation
  • Benjamin Soskis, Senior Research Associate, Urban Institute
  • Tené Traylor, Vice President, Urban Institute
  • Lori Villarosa, Executive Director, Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity