David Callahan

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David Callahan
David Callahan.png
Alma materHampshire College
Princeton University
Occupationblog editor
Notable work
Demos co-founder

David Callahan is founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy, a digital media site. Previously, he was a Senior Fellow at Demos, a public policy group based in New York City that he co-founded in 1999. He is also an author and lecturer. He is best known as the author of the books The Givers and The Cheating Culture.

Personal life[edit]

David Callahan is the son of Daniel Callahan, PhD, a bio-ethicist, and Sidney Callahan. He has four brothers and one sister. David went to public high school in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. He received his B.A. at Hampshire College and holds a PhD in Politics from Princeton University.


Callahan was a fellow at the Century Foundation from 1994 to 1999. His work area was US foreign policy and international affairs. In 1999, Callahan co-founded Demos. Callahan left Demos in 2013 to start Inside Philanthropy.

Inside Philanthropy[edit]

Callahan launched Inside Philanthropy in early 2014. The site's tag line is "Who's Funding What, and Why."[1] Inside Philanthropy covers news about recent gifts by foundations and major donors, as well as the world of fundraising and trends in philanthropy. The site also includes profiles of funders to help nonprofits find money and publishes a daily newsletter. In addition, it issues its own set of annual awards, the "IPPYs," that include categories such as the "Philanthropist of the Year" and "Foundation President of the Year."[2] Inside Philanthropy is mainly funded by subscriptions, which currently cost $397 a year or $47 a month.[3] The site says that it "has never taken money from the funders we cover and never will."[4]


The Givers[edit]

In April 2017, Alfred A. Knopf published Callahan's book The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age, which looked at top philanthropists such as Michael Bloomberg and Mark Zuckerberg. The book was widely reviewed, including in The New York Times,[5] The Washington Post,[6] The Wall Street Journal,[7] Financial Times,[8] Time,[9] and The Atlantic.[10] Callahan also appeared on NPR's Weekend Edition to discuss the book,[11] as well as several local public radio stations, such as WNYC.[12] Callahan appeared at events around the U.S. about the book, including at the New York Public Library,[13] Town Hall Seattle,[14] and the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco.[15]

The Givers generated wide discussion and controversy in the world of philanthropy, including in industry publications such as Chronicle of Philanthropy,[16] Sanford Social Innovation Review,[17] and Philanthropy magazine.[18] In a forum on the book in HistPhil, four experts in the field wrote essays sharing different perspectives on The Givers. HistPhil called The Givers "one of the more widely anticipated and widely discussed books on philanthropy in recent memory." [19] While some critics said Callahan had written too positively about today's top philanthropists, others said that Callahan's ideas for reforming the charitable sector to limit the influence of private donors would be harmful. In an event at Philanthropy New York, Callahan engaged in a debate about the book with Emmett Carson, president of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.[12] Callahan also engaged in an online dialogues about the book with Sean Parnell, director of public policy for the Philanthropy Roundtable.[20] In July 2017, Callahan responded to critics of the book in a lengthy essay in Inside Philanthropy.[21]

The Cheating Culture[edit]

Callahan is also known for his 2004 book, The Cheating Culture, a nonfiction work that links the rise in unethical behavior in American society to economic and regulatory trends – particularly growing inequality. In a New York Times profile, Chris Hedges called Callahan "a new liberal with old values."[22] Callahan has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs to discuss The Cheating Culture. He has also lectured widely on the book to business groups and university audiences, frequently as a keynote speaker. While some reviewers praised the book for offering an explanation of rising ethical misconduct in U.S. society, the libertarian magazine Reason criticized Callahan for placing too much blame for cheating on the rise of laissez-faire economics.[23]

Other Writing[edit]

In 2002, Callahan wrote Kindred Spirits, a history of the Harvard Business School Class of 1949.[24] In an interview about the book with The New York Times, Callahan contrasted this earlier group of business leaders, many of whom frowned on conspicuous consumption, with later generations of business leaders more motivated by greed.[24]

Callahan is the author of several other books. These include Fortunes of Change: The Rise of the Liberal Rich and the Remaking of America (2010), which argues that the rise of the knowledge economy has led to ideological shifts within the U.S. upper class, and The Moral Center (2006),[25] which examines how a market-based economy, i.e. capitalism, with its elevation of self-interest, undermines values that both liberals and conservatives care about. The American Prospect reviewed The Moral Center."[26]

Callahan has published two books on U.S. foreign policy:Dangerous Capabilities, a biography of Paul Nitze, and Unwinnable Wars, a study of U.S. involvement in such ethnic conflicts as the wars in Bosnia, Rwanda, Lebanon, and Biafra.

Callahan has written articles for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The American Prospect, and The Nation.[27]


  • The givers : wealth, power, and philanthropy in a new gilded age, New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2017. ISBN 9781101947050, OCLC 964698332
  • Fortunes of Change: The Rise of the Liberal Rich and the Remaking of America (Wiley, 2010)
  • The Moral Center: How Progressives Can Unite America Around Our Shared Values (Harcourt, 2006).
  • The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead (Harcourt, 2004). ISBN 9780156030052, OCLC 57028552
  • Kindred Spirits: Harvard Business School's Extraordinary Class of 1949 and How They Transformed American Business (Wiley, 2002). ISBN 9780471418191, OCLC 50630480
  • Unwinnable Wars: American Power and Ethnic Conflict New York : Hill and Wang, 1998, ISBN 9780809016105, OCLC 40224406
  • State of the Union (Little, Brown, 1997). ISBN 9780451197252, OCLC 39729272
  • Between Two World: Realism, Idealism, and American Foreign Policy After the Cold War (HarperCollins, 1994).
  • Dangerous Capabilities: Paul Nitze and the Cold War (HarperCollins, 1990). ISBN 9780060162665, OCLC 972376337


  1. ^ "Front Page". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  2. ^ "Philanthropy Awards, 2017". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  3. ^ "Subscribe". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  4. ^ "About Us". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  5. ^ Sullivan, Paul (2017-04-14). "How Top Philanthropists Wield Power Through Their Donations". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  6. ^ Kaiser, Robert G. (2017-04-14). "Opinion | Are you rich enough to be a true philanthropist?". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  7. ^ "Wall Street Journal" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  9. ^ "'The Givers' Review: The Pitfalls of Giving It All Away". Time. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  10. ^ Semuels, Alana. "The Problem With Modern Philanthropy". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  11. ^ "Philanthropy In America Is Becoming 'Ideological Arms Race,' Author Says". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  12. ^ a b The Philanthropists Secretly Shaping America, retrieved 2018-01-18
  13. ^ Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age by The New York Public Library, retrieved 2018-01-18
  14. ^ Ed Mays (2017-04-25), David Callahan: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy, retrieved 2018-01-18
  15. ^ "Commonwealth Club of San Francisco".
  16. ^ "Opinion: 'The Givers' Are Taking Too Much From Average Americans". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. 2017-07-06. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  17. ^ "Give and Take (SSIR)". ssir.org. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  18. ^ "Damaging Solutions in Search of a Problem | Excellence in Philanthropy | The Philanthropy Roundtable". Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  19. ^ "Philanthropy in a Neoliberal Age: A Review of David Callahan's THE GIVERS". HistPhil. 2017-06-12. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  20. ^ "Does Big Philanthropy Threaten Democracy? A Dialogue on The Givers". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  21. ^ "Debating Big Philanthropy: Criticisms of The Givers—and My Responses". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  22. ^ Hedges, Chris (June 15, 2004). "A Liberal With a New Emphasis on Old Values". The New York Times.
  23. ^ Sanchez, Julian (July 2004). "Cheating Heart". Reason.
  24. ^ a b Holstein, William J. (October 27, 2002). "What a Class of '49 Can Teach the Class of '02". The New York Times. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  25. ^ Sager, Ryan (November 2, 2006). "The Republicans Will Play Solitaire". The New York Sun. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  26. ^ Stone, Deborah. (November 19, 2006). "The Good in Good Politics". The American Prospect. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
  27. ^ Demos Expert Bios

External links[edit]

Articles by Callahan[edit]