Karl Zinsmeister

Karl Zinsmeister directs an energetic publishing program at The Philanthropy Roundtable in Washington, D.C., and writes extensively himself. He has just completed a novel about the most effective philanthropic culture reformers in U.S. history, for publication in 2019. His 2016 creation, The Almanac of American Philanthropy, is the authoritative 1,342-page reference on America's powerful tradition of solving public problems with private resources. In 2017 he created a Compact Edition of the Almanac. His book What Comes Next? How private givers can rescue America in an era of political frustration, offers a vision for constructive culture change, working around electoral gridlock. Zinsmeister created the "Sweet Charity" podcast (less-than-ten-minute stories about remarkable achievements in giving), available at the Apple Store or SweetCharityPodcast.com. He also founded and advises the Roundtable’s program on philanthropy for veterans and military servicemembers. Karl has authored 13 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 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.

 Publications by Karl Zinsmeister:


Invite the Author

Philanthropy in America is a bursting, bubbling impulse that has vital effects on almost every sector of our society.

In this lively 30-minute talk, former White House domestic policy adviser Karl Zinsmeister sketches the unappreciated 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 it continues to play a crucial role in keeping our communities healthy and our economy burgeoning.

This presentation includes: 

  • Rich images

  • Fascinating biographies

  • Powerful arguments from Zinsmeister's two 2016 books:

To schedule a talk, email Ashley May at amay@PhilanthropyRoundtable.org.


Download the PDF above