I do not think it controversial to say that philanthropy is infatuated with the idea of novelty. What matters these days is to be “transformative,” to show how you are “innovating” and being “disruptive.” The latest craze is “big bet philanthropy,” described in a December 2016 Forbes article as “an eight-figure-or-more attempt to create systematic social change.”

Citing research from the Bridgespan Group that formed the basis of Stanford Social Innovation Review’s Winter...

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