On Philanthropy.com, the Roundtable’s Debi Ghate responds to Michael Theis:
To the Editor:
Michael Theis’s article “Hate Groups’ Received Millions From 351 Charities and Foundations, Chronicle Review Finds,” February 4, is presented as though it’s an objective study of how donor-advised funds contribute to the financing of “hate groups.”
The purpose of the story seems to be to implicate DAFs — a very successful giving vehicle — with violent political action based on hatred for people different than ourselves. Unfortunately, the data presented has limited value as a resource.
At a time when most of the country wants to find ways to heal our divisions, we should be wary of relying on sources that only reinforce ideological divisions. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s designation of hate groups has been controversial for good reason: The standards used are undefined, the groups flagged represent only one side of an issue, and it puts one group’s opinion of what is “hateful” above other points of view.