Philanthropy as ‘Sisyphus’

Tuesday 14 May 2019

Ylvisaker, in his speech to the 1976 International Conference on Opportunities for Philanthropy, argued that doing philanthropy is akin to being Sisyphus:

‘What philanthropy and its collaborators have encountered is not failure but paradox: the farther they succeed in lifting their burden, the heavier it gets and the more weary the doers of good become…progress seems inexorably to ensure retrogression.’

Ylvisaker, P. (1976), Social Justice and the Role of Philanthropy


Drawing on some of the findings from our ‘Images of Philanthropy’ Initiative, each entry in this accompanying blog series introduces one image that has been put forward in an academic or non-academic context to depict or characterise an aspect of philanthropy in its different forms and expressions.

For further information about the ‘Images of Philanthropy’ Initiative, please contact Dr Tobias Jung.

Posted in

Share this story