Philanthropy Today:
Private Wealth, Public Actions

A Conversation with Rob Reich, Axelle Davezac, and Hilary Pennington

Thursday, March 26, 2020
FIAF Skyroom

Rob Reich, Stanford University Professor and philanthropy expert, outlines his views on the underlying problems in the relationship between government and philanthropy in his most recent book, Just Giving: Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How it Can Do Better.

According to Reich, today’s philanthropic models allow donors to exercise influence without accountability and are ineffectual at reducing inequality. While the current state of philanthropy radically differs between France and the United States, both countries currently face the same challenge to structure philanthropy in a way that supports democratic ideals.

Reich will be joined by Axelle Davezac, CEO of Fondation de France, and Hilary Pennington, Executive Vice President for Program at the Ford Foundation, to discuss the issues raised by philanthropy today and offer alternative models of giving.

In English

  • About Rob Reich
    • Rob Reich is a professor of political science and philosophy and at the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University, where he is also the director of the Center for Ethics in Society and co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. His recent books include Just Giving: Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better (2018) and Philanthropy in Democratic Societies: History, Institutions, Values (2016). His current work focuses on ethics, public policy, and technology. Reich has received multiple teaching awards, including the Walter J. Gores award, Stanford’s highest honor for teaching. He is a board member of Boston Review, Giving Tuesday, and at the Spencer Foundation. Learn more.

  • Hilary Pennington
    • Hilary Pennington is the Ford Foundation’s Executive Vice President for Program. She oversees all of foundation’s programs globally, as well as the foundation’s BUILD program, and the Office of Strategy and Learning. A national expert on postsecondary education and intergenerational change, Pennington joined the foundation in 2013. Earlier, she was an independent consultant. Between 2006 and 2012, Hilary served as director of education, postsecondary success, and special initiatives at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She also served on President Bill Clinton’s transition team and as co-chair of his administration’s presidential advisory committee on technology. Pennington serves, among others, on the boards of Bard College and the Center for Effective Philanthropy. She is a graduate of the Yale School of Management and Yale College.

  • About Axelle Davezac
    • Axelle Davezac spent the first part of her career in various large industrial groups as Chief Financial Officer. She then decided to join the philanthropy sector as managing director of the ARC Foundation for Cancer Research (2005–2016). She was also treasurer of Comité de la Charte (2006–2012) and board director of both IDAF and Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire de Strasbourg (2011–2016). Since 2015, she has sat on the board of directors of the French Foundation Center. In 2016, she joined Fondation de France and became Vice President of France Générosités (a union of charity organizations in France), a mandate that had already been entrusted to her from 2007 to 2013. She joined the board of directors of Fondation Suez in 2018 and the Board of Alliance Publishing Trust in 2019. Starting in 2019, she has served as a member of the management committee of the European Foundation Center (EFC).