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October 27, 1972 - Image 5

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Michigan Daily, 1972-10-27

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Friday, Ocfober 27, 1972


Page Five

Friday, October 27, 1972 THE MICHIGAN DAILY


big founatis oes

p aying God really work?

Waldemar A. Nielsen. Columbia
University Press, 475 pp., $10.95.
A-Twentieth Century Fund Study.
The subject of wealth is in-
herently interesting. As has al-
ways been acknowledged by ev-
eryone everywhere, although
more' often in sorrow than in
joy, wealth, in sufficient quan-
tity, is. power and freedom both.
There are a few cavils ("you
can't buy happiness," "the best
things in life are free") and
some old horror stories (like Mi-
das, I'd rather have my daugh-
ter alive and well than as a gold-
en statue), but the cavils sound
like sour grapes, not wisdom,
and the horror stories are uncon-
vincing. 'Money may not buy
everything," a friend of mine
used to say, "but what it can't
buy I don't need." That judg-
ment is shared, as far as I can
tell, almost universally.
The best things in life are not
free; in fact, nothing is free. It's
just a question of who's to pay
for it. And if "it" ldoesn't cost
money, it will have another kind
of price. To marry the king's
daughter and inherit the realm,
you have to slay a dragon. To
achieve sainthood, you must en-
dure the slings and arrows of the
outraged mob. And to get a
grant, you may have to do both,
and write a proposal as well.
The psychology of the grant-
hunter has riot, I believe, been
studied scientifically, but it has
been a perennial subject of lit-
erature, and no taxonomy of the
species, however detailed, could
rival the portraits we have of
schnorrers and hustlers over the
ages and across the world. But
what about the grant-giver - a
creature whose rarity only heigh-
tens his fascination? Wealth, one
might think, breeds vanity, and
vanity breeds suckers. Or, to be
more charitable, wealth confers
advantages, may thus heighten
sensitivities, and makes one
think about noblesse oblige. Or to
be still more charitable, wealth
gives a mart he chance to do the
things' he's wanted to do all
along: hire scientists to find
cures for cancer or build an art
museum in the provinces or es-
tablish scholarships for virtuous
girls professing the same faith as
his sainted mother or publicize
the evils of communism or alco-
hol or the New Deal-the list is
There's one more thing. Given
the tax laws and a lust for power
stretching beyond the grave, a
wealthy man may decide that
giving his money away is the
best way to keep it.
The Big Foundation goes a
long way toward documenting
that thesis, although Mr. Nielsen
also shows that motivations lead-
ing to charity are as diverse as
the business enterprises that
made the charity possible. The
one characteristic that America's
really rich men seem to have in
common is tenacity, not just
about piling up money but years
too. Charles Kettering died at 82,
William L. Moody at 89, Alfred
Sloan at 90, and C. S. Mott, still
going strong at 97, has the ex-
amples of John D. Rockefeller
(98) and Sebastian S. Kresge (99)
to inspire him.

Nielsen's book' is not about
these men, although he offers
some glimpses of them, or about
their money, although it intrudes
pleasantly here and there. In-
stead, he asks a set of questions
about the foundations they and
some others like them establish-
ed. The ''big" foundations - 33
of them - are those with over
$100 million in assets each, as
good a way to separate the men
from the boys as any, if you're
going to talk about money. Niel-
sen confined himself to informa-
tion available up to 1968, which
means that the recently estab-
lished (Edna McConnell Clark
Foundation, b. 1969, $146 million
in shares of Avon Products, Inc.)
or recently wealthy (Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation, b. 19-
36, received, in 1971, more than
$1 billion in securities - Johnson
and Johnson Co. makes Band-
aids) are not included in his stu-
dy. Also excluded are "operat-
ing" foundations (Battelle Insti-


tute, Howard Hughes Medical
Center, Carnegie Institution),
"corporate" foundations (Alcoa),
and "community" foundations
(Cleveland Foundation). Still,
that leaves a juicy list. How
much money any one of them
has at any moment is specula-
tive - literally. What with fluc-
tuations in the stock market, re-
sources comprised of more than
mere assets owned, holdings
whose value remains to be seen
(in land or oil, for instance)-
everything is delightfully impre-
cise. But it doesn't matter. They
are all rich.
Beyond that, why study these
33? Nielsen gives four reasons:
(1) "because they are general-
purpose, grant-making institu-
tions, they have an impact on a
broad band of recipients"; (2)
because they are very different
from one another, "they repre-
sent all the major public policy
issues raised by modern philan-
thropy"; (3) because they have
so much money, they have "a
range of alternatives . . . in
scope of interest and methods of
operation not available to small
foundations"; and (4) "again be-
cause of their size, they are
looked upon as the leaders in
their fields" and since the men
involved in running them have
influence in other spheres, "they
have a significance even larger
than their huge resources might
All right, then, to the questions
he asks: how were these founda-
tions established? what are
their dominant characteristics?
what have they done? what are
they likely to do? what is their
relationship to government and
society at large? The answers
comprise the book. The result,
at least for me, is to focus atten-
tion again on the big money,
which is in Washington. The 33
foundations Nielsen describes
have combined assets of about
$11 billion. Mr. Nixon's budget is
not to exceed (but probably
won't fall much below) $250 bil-
lion. That's an annual budget,
not assets. Add to the federal
dollars the resources of state and
local government, those of chari-
table organizations other than
foundations, and the charitable
activities of noncharitable organ-
izations, and all the foundations,
big and small, all 25,000 of them,
pale into insignificance. I admit
that this was not the thought in
my mind on those few occasions
when someone at Ford or Rocke-
feller or elsewhere listened ever
so politely to the little speech
I'd been rehearsing on the plane.
Still, it's true. The big foun-
dations, even were they to com-
bine their dollars or plan their
programs cooperatively, are too
small to do much good. Their
dollars are dwarfed, not only by
those of the government, but
more importantly by the size of
the problems to which most of
them have chosen to address
Nielsen makes this point well;
he makes all his points well. His
book is scholarly, informative,
well written, occasionally amus-
ing. He is not above telling a
good story about bad people,
and he never shrinks from prais-
ing X or blasting Y. What comes
clear, not quite above all else,
is that Nielsen is a nice man. He

criticizes the living as well as
the dead; his liberal social val-
ues are in obvious conflict with
much of what many foundations
have done; he has taste, humor,
and respect for facts. And yet
his book is not really satisfac-
The one rule reviewers are to
observe is not to complain about
the absence of a book the au-
thor didn't write. The rule is
better honored in the breach than
in the observance. As critical as
Nielsen is of the performance of
most of the big foundations, and
as far as his book is from being
an apologia, he is still a very
sympathetic observer. The 1969
Tax Reform Act does appear to
have been more than a little
spiteful, despite its needed cor-
rections of a number of abuses,
and his criticisms of the Act are
persuasive - in particular, his
point about "the odor of reac-
tion and racism given off by the
congressional proceedings."
But the conclusion of his re-
view of those proceedings and
that Act is that "it nevertheless
could be sensed that something
at the very core of the American
idea had been touched and tam-
pered with and that somehow
this curious creature, the private
philanthropic foundation, 'w a s
fatefully intertwined with the
great issues of the nation's fu-
ture." What core of what Ameri-
can idea? How intertwined with
what great issues? Were this a

momentary lapse into fatuous-
ness, one might shrug it off, but
I think Nielsen means every
word. He likes, not so much this
or that foundation, but rather the
idea of a big foundation - with
properly diversified investments,
an able professional staff, an
imaginative B o a r d that trusts
and respects that staff, liberal
values, and "creative," even
"innovative" ideas. "For the
best of the things they do,"
Nielsen writes in his concluding
paragraphs, "there is no readily
available alternative." Six rhe-
torical questions follow: "who
else would have-" and he gives
examples of genuine accom-
G e n u i n e accomplishments
there have been, and no doubt
there will be more. This institu-
tion - the University of Michi-
gan - has been a major bene-
ficiary (comparatively speaking)
of foundation largesse, and in my
years here I've seen buildings go
up, programs started, scholar-
ships awarded, faculty hired, re-
search done, all as the direct re-
sult of foundation money. But
neither Nielsen's list nor mine,
multiplied by all the examples
others could provide, amounts to
justification for Nielsen's faith
that, if foundations "now begin
to face their 'problems, accept
their responsibilities, and grasp
their opportunities," they could
make a "truly enormous con-
tribution to humanizing and ad-

vancing American democracy,
possibly even ensuring its surviv-
The reason for my scepticism,
and the book Nielsen didn't
write, are suggested by his chap-
ter called "Big Philanthrophy
and the Race Question: A Case
Study of Performance." With
few exceptions, that performance
amounts to a record of indif-
ference to and distaste for in-
volvement with Black people.
Nielsen's own evidence - which
could easily be supplemented-
makes this quite clear. How Niel-
sen can reconcile his faith in the
idea of foundations with their
actual performance in the one
area he himself chooses for ex-
amination is not clear at all. The
book I wish he had written
would have been comprised of 33
case studies - medical research,
cultural activities, support for
university buildings, whatever.
Nielsen thinks that such areas
are too "safe" for "creative"
grant - making, but safe or not,
they represent most of the direc-
tions in which foundation dollars
have been flowing, and it would
be useful to know how effective
foundations have been in them.
My suspicions are that founda-
tion executives like to do busi-
ness with their counterparts, i.e.,
university presidents and civic
leaders, and that this predilec-
tion is responsible for the va-
cuum in which so many founda-
tions seem to be made. Take one

of Nielsen's own examples, the
announcement by the Ford Foun-
dation in the fall of 1971 that it
had selected ten black colleges
to receive $10 million over a per-
iod of ten years (not six, as Niel-
sen says). Aside from pointing
out that this is very little money
-$100,000 per year per school--
one can ask what basis existed
for this decision and what effect
it had. Where were the studies
of student enrollment by pro-
gram, projections, priorities?
The Ford grant was seen by
more than one Black college not
included in the ten recipients as
something like the kiss of death.
Shortly after the grant had made
headlines everywhere, the Direc-
tor of Development at Lincoln
University (Pennsylvania) walk-
ed ;into the office of a Philadel-
phia "prospect" he had been
"cultivating" for some time. He
was greeted with a blunt ques-
tion- "where are you on the
Ford list?"
Or take an example closer to
home. In 1969, Wayne County
Community College, which had
opened its doors that fall to over
9,000 students, almost half of
them Black, approached the
Kresge Foundation' for money
with which to buy the Kresge ,
Company's administration build-
ing, a magnificent structure on
Second Avenue. The idea was
that the College needed a per-
manent home in the heart of De-
troit, a building sufficiently large

to meet the needs of thousands
of students yet to come, and suf-
ficiently impressive to build
some credibility for the school
among the voters, who had al-
ready rejected the millage pro-
posal twice. The College was
told that the Foundation could
not possibly participate in a
transaction which would benefit
its parent company. Not long
ago, the Foundation gave the
College about a third of the mon-
ey originally requested to buy
the outmoded and questionably
located facilities of the Detroit
Institute of Technology, a priyate
school with perhaps 15 percent
of the enrollment of the commun-
ity college. First, however, DIT
had been given the Kresge build-
ing on Second Avenue by the
How do such decisions get
made? Why can't foundations
work cooperatively? Why should
they cast about for "creative"
ways to spend their money when
they are surrounded by obdurate
and all-to-ordinary needs? If
"creativity" in grant - making
means to spend a fortune on a
few well-credentialed scientists
or community leaders or college
presidents in the name of an un-
specified population they claim
to represent, I prefer unimagina-
tive things like Social Security
payments and Medicare.
Still, as long as foundations are
giving money away, I'll just hap-
pen to have a proposal .

Up from under: women, children in China

PORT, by Ruth Sidel, Hill &
Wang, 207 pp., $6.95.
One way to gain a perspective
on one's own society is to look at
another society. Ruth Sidel, a
psychiatric social worker, spent
a month in China investigating
the interrelated issues of work,
the role of women, and the care
of preschool children. For any-
one interested in these issues
and looking for alternatives to
our own society's handling of
them, the Chinese offer an exhil-
irating example. China has not
yet achieved the perfect society
(when employment drops, wo-
men workers are the first to be
laid off: child care in that vast
and decentralized country is not
always uniformly available, nor
is it free; hard manual labor
done by men receives higher pay
than lighter manual labor), but
the Chinese have made astonish-
ing progress in these areas. They
-believe that perfection is attain-
able, that no goal is too lofty,
that human nature and the hu-
man condition are perfectable,
primarily through education.
Before the Communists came
to power in 1949, women were
worse than second-class citizens;
they were very nearly slaves. If
a female child escaped infanti-
cide and was not sold to another
family as a daughter or child
bride, she would probably be
married between the ages of 15
and 17 to a man she did not
know beforehand. The marriage
was arranged to be advantageous
to the husband's family. The
young bride belonged to her hus-
band's family and was discour-
aged from even visiting her own
family. . . . She was the last to
eat and ate the most inferior
foods available to the family; the
clothing she was given was in-
adeuate, and often she. was cold
in the winter. She was beaten at
will by her husband and by
others in his family. Most of all,
she was a slave to her mother-
in-law, who, similarly enslaved
for years by her mother-in-law,
perpetuated the tradition. Be-
cause she knew no trade and
had no means of support, she
was in bondage to her husband
and his family. . . . Divorce was
not permitted. Eventually her
lot might improve if she bore
her husband a son. After her
-child-bearing years, she attained
the position of mother-in-law,
with its attendant domination
over lower-placed members of
the family. Her life had reached
its zenith.
The Chinese don't refer to the
past, only to the "bitter past.''

I-low did they achieve such
extraordinary improvement , in
the position of women, indeed of
all people, for it obviously did
not come at the instant of Liber-
ation? After 1900 the lives of
some urban upper-class women
began to show a gradual improve-
ment. They obtained an educa-
tion, had careers, were political-
ly influential. But these women
were the exceptions to the gen-
eral status of women even of
their own class and certainly in
society at large.
The Communist Party in China
has always been explicitly com-
mitted to the equality of women.
They accomplished this in two
ways: by passing laws such as
the Marriage Law of 1950, which
outlawdd child marriage, polyg-
amy, concubines, arranged mar-

ri ge, any sort of payment for a
bride, and guaranteed the right
of divorce to women as well as
to men; and by educating the
people to bring about a change
in attit-ides. The consciousness-
raising group was one form of
education. During the 1940s the
army of Mao was liberating
areas of the couintryside from
Japanese control. One of the first
t:sks they would undertake when
the' entered a village was to or-
galize the women.
A cadre (political w o r k e r)
would round up some of the
women and tell them that they
need no longer live under bond-
age, that they had a right to
equality with men, that they had
a right to eat as well as the men
end should not be -beaten by
their in-laws. The women were

reluctant to speak up or to be-
come part of such an associa-
tion, because they were afraid.
But the cadre would encourage
a few to meet together and to
tell the stories of their lives.
This was the beginning of the
"Speak Bitterness" sessions that
were so successful in getting the
villages to rally behind the
Eighth Route Army of Mao. ..-.
From accounts of the "Speak
Bitterness" meetings, it is clear
that the effect was electric not
only upon the person telling her
story but upon those who listened
as well.
"But the key factor in the lib-
eration of women was work."
Considerable effort has gone into
getting women' into traditionally
male professions, but there has
been no attempt to recruit meni
into fields traditionally staffed by
women such as nursing and
Today 90 per cent of Chinese
women work. To make this pos-
sible, nursing rooms (which are
located in places of employ-
ment), nurseries and kindergar-
tens were established. There are
alternatives to public child-care
facilties. A woman can choose
not to work and to care for her
child herself, or allow the child
to be cared for by a grandparent
or friend' or neighbor. Maternity
leave is granted for 56 days and
nursing rooms take infants of
that age. The mother is allowed
to leave her worok to feed her
infant twice a day. When the
child is about 18 months she or
he can attend a nursery school.
In the cities about half of the
children attend nursery schools.
Most of the others are cared 'for
at home by grandparents. In the
countryside fewer children at-
tend nurseries. About 80 percent
of urban children attend kinder-
gartens, which take children ages
3-7, and again the figure is low-
er for rural children. At the age
of 7 the child enters primary
Several nurseries and kinder-
gartens are described in detail.
Some facilities are half-time
(which means from 6 a.m. to 6
p.m.) and some provide 24-hour
care. Children who stay over-
night go home on weekends.
Children would need to have 24-
hour day care when their par-
ents' jobs require them to be
away from home a great deal.
Child care is not free. The av-
erage salary of a factory worker
or a teacher is 50-60 yuan a
month. The cost for a child to
live at a particular 24-hour kin-
dergarten in Peking is 20.20 yuan
a month. Even with both parents
working the cost is a substantial
part of their income. If parents
cannot afford to pay the full fee,
their employer will pay part of

push another child, never saw a
child grab a toyfrom another
child, never saw any hostile' in-
teraction between children or be-
tween adults and children."
Abortions are, available and
free, but the emphasis is on con-
traception (also free). Abortions
for unmarried women are very
rare, and there is apparently very
little premarital (or extramari-
tal) sex. By Western standards
the Chinese are probably a very
puritanical people.
Prostitution anh venereal di-
sease were widespread in pre-
Liberation China, but have been
eliminated. Houses of prostitu-
tion were closed, jobs found for
the women and medical care pro-
vided, and they were encouraged
to understand the conditions
which led them into prostitution.
In China ... liberation is not
interpreted in any way to mean
sexual freedom. It is interpret-
ed to mean economic freedom
and political freedom, freedom
from physical harm, freedom
from working like a slave,
freedom from one's mother-in-
law, and freedom from having
10 children, but distinctly not
sexual freedom.
Chinese women wear no make-
up or jewelry, and their clothing
is loose-fitting and functional.
The pictures in this book show us
that they are beautiful.
Ms. Sidel raises some inter-
esting questions:
Returning from China, one
questions some basic elements
in Western society that are on-
ly now starting to be question-
ed. Is outward sexuality neces-
sary for a healthy and enjoy-
able sex life? Must sexuality
be emphasized in all aspects
of life, can't it be a private
thing between two people,
(does) the emphasis on out-
ward sexuality interfere with
one's innermost sexual feel-
ings, displacing and obscuring
them? How much have our sex-
ual attitudes in the West been
influenced by commercial ex-
ploitation of sexuality? Have
we perhaps accepted the ad-
vertising man's dream as rea-
ity? .'. , Directly related to be-
ing regarded and regarding
oneself as a sexual object is
consumerism. As long as con-
sumerism and its supporting
advertising are central factors
in our. economy, women will
continue to be urged to be sex
objects and status symbols..
Consumerism is use~d both as
a panacea for the boredom
which can occur so readily
when talents are being under-
utilized and as a catalyst for
our economy. The cycle is
readymade: not enough jobs,
women at home, women bored,
buy a new dress or a new de-
tergent or a new dishwasher.
In Ann Arbor there are 23 day
care centers, with a total capacity
for 775 children (including half
days, which here means 3 hours,
not 12). There are 3,400 working
women in Ann Arbor with pre-
school children. In addition there
are an estimated 2500-3000 chil-
dren of University students. The
discrepancy between the need for
day care and its availability in
our own community is an out-
rage. How -does one judge a so-
ciety? Is the criterion to be
wealth and power, or is it ra-
ther how well the sQciety pro-
.vides human services, meets hu-
rhu'ma on ,, i .nrc, Asoirip hsttilata

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Top: A girls band on National Day. Bottom: Two medical students,
Chinese style.



\e have just acquired a stock of original wood engravings by M.C.
Escher. They are from a linited edition and are numbered. Original
Escher prints are very rare. Visit us and see them.

k Typicaltdays in nurseries and
kindergartens sound very much
like days in preschools in the
U.S. except that nursery school
children have a 15-minute les-
son in Mao's thought, and kinder-
garteners- have lessons in writ-
ing and arithmetic for an hour,
depending on their age. They
have plenty of time for free play,
games, dramatics, stories and
Children are taught the princi-
ples and values of a collective
society. Their first task is to
learn to care for themselves, to

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