Hirsch News Digest: February 2021

This month’s selection of thought-provoking readings and resources that we’ve found useful for navigating the philanthropic response to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as community-powered philanthropy and democracy.

COVID-19 Vaccines / New Strains

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Is 66% Effective In Preventing Moderate To Severe COVID-19 | A new one shot vaccine from J&J is awaiting emergency approval from the FDA.

“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is given as a single shot, unlike the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer that require two shots given weeks apart. Also, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine doesn’t require ultracold storage.”

Community-Powered Philanthropy

Shifting Power to Communities in Grant Funding | An insightful article with concrete strategies for funder to share decision-making power.

“As the Black Lives Matter movement has grown to the largest social movement in US history, funders are being forced to reckon with the origins of their wealth—with deep roots in extraction and inequality that continue to the present day….to address this painful history, and implement policies based on trust and equity, philanthropists must give up power in decisions around funding deployment. Inclusive decision making can have more inclusive and powerful results.”


The Coup We Are Not Talking About | A long read about the critical need to get a handle on the private dominance of data, knowledge, and surveillance of people if we are to repair the damage to our democratic institutions.

“Unless democracy revokes the license to steal and challenges the fundamental economics and operations of commercial surveillance, the epistemic coup will weaken and eventually transform democracy itself. We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have surveillance society, but we cannot have both.”