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Karl Zinsmeister
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General Session
April 19, 2017 | 12:30 PM

Indispensable: How Philanthropy Fuels American Success

Karl Zinsmeister, The Philanthropy Roundtable

Philanthropy in America is a bursting, bubbling impulse that has vital effects on almost every sector of our society. In this lively talk, author and former White House domestic policy adviser Karl Zinsmeister sketches the unappreciated size and scope of charitable giving, and argues that without it there would be no America as we know it. Private action to solve public problems is one of the practices that most distinguishes the U.S. from other nations, and continues to play a crucial role in keeping our communities healthy and our economy burgeoning. This presentation includes rich images, fascinating biographies, and rare historical details from Zinsmeister's Almanac of American Philanthropy, a monumental new resource just published by The Philanthropy Roundtable as a kind of missing manual to explain, inspire, and defend private giving.

Karl Zinsmeister oversees all magazine, book, and Web publishing at The Philanthropy Roundtable in Washington, D.C. In 2016 he produced The Almanac of American Philanthropy, the 1,342-page culmination of a multiyear effort to create the authoritative reference on America's fascinating and culturally seminal tradition of solving public problems with private resources. He also founded and advises the Roundtable’s program on philanthropy for veterans and service members. Karl has authored 12 books, including two different works of embedded reporting on the Iraq war, a book on charter schools, a storytelling cookbook, even a graphic novel published by Marvel Comics. He has also made a PBS feature film and written hundreds of articles for publications ranging from the Atlantic to the Wall Street Journal. Earlier in his career he was a Senate aide to Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the J. B. Fuqua Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and editor in chief for nearly 13 years of The American Enterprise magazine. From 2006 to 2009 Karl served in the West Wing as the President's chief domestic policy adviser and director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. He is a graduate of Yale University and also studied at Trinity College Dublin.

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