Program on Inequality and the Common Good

Extreme inequalities of income, wealth and opportunity undercut democracy, social solidarity and mobility, economic stability, and many other aspects of our personal and public lives.  The Program on Inequality and the Common Good focuses on these and other dangers that income disparities pose for the U.S.

Through research and reporting, this program encourages policy interventions that can reduce extreme wealth inequality, and close the growing gap between the rich and poor. Recent reports have examined the estate tax, the racial wealth gap, inequality in philanthropy, and other topics related to extreme wealth concentration. The central theme of the program is that without significant reform and a systemic view of inequality on both a national and global level, the overall wealth divide will continue to grow exponentially.

Latest Work

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 14: Activists gather to protest outside of Citigroup’s headquarters on September 14, 2023 in New York City. The activists, some whom are members of New York Communities for Change and Stop the Money Pipeline, participated in the protest over the bank's financial backing of the fossil fuel industries.

It Isn't Nice, But Climate Activists Will Block the Doorways

"There are nicer ways to do it. But the nice ways always fail.”

More than Half of America’s 20 Top Public Charities Are Donor-Advised Funds

The highest-earning DAF now takes in $11 billion more than the highest-earning working charity.
Civil rights activists gather around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool during the Poor People's March on Washington (also known as the Poor People's Campaign) on the National Mall, the Washington Monument rising in the distance, in Washington DC, June 1968.

Sixty Years Later, We Can Make King's Dream a Reality

In our new report, "Still A Dream," we note progress—alongside some humbling findings about how far we have to go.

Wealthy People Working for Justice? Michael Gast’s Map of an Unprecedented Movement

Exploring the burgeoning movement to organize the rich for our common good.

REPORT: Still A Dream: Over 500 Years to Black Economic Equality

60 years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the racial wealth divide persists.

A Perfect Example of Donor-Advised Fund Slipperiness in Silicon Valley

When charitable intermediaries tout their generosity, reporters should take a closer look.

Here We Go Again, Again With the Commercial Donor-Advised Fund Industry

Commercial DAF sponsors are squirreling away money intended for charities at a greater clip than they're giving it away.
Airplane over misty mountains at dawn

Why Not Tax Private Jets Out of Existence?

The industry not only exploits our planet’s precious resources but makes the rest of us subsidize the extravagant lifestyles of the ultra-rich.

Boston’s Wealthy Real Estate Players Avoid Paying their Fair Share

The state legislature has blocked the city’s luxury real estate transfer tax for nearly four years.
Private airplane with red carpet

How to Raise $1.8 Billion for Green Transit

A proposed tax hike on private jet fuel could raise $1.8 billion a year for sustainable transit.

The 5 Percent Foundation Payout Requirement May Be a Floor, but the Ceiling Is Awfully Low

Most private foundations stick quite closely to their 5 percent payout requirement. And America's largest are unlikely to give much more than the minimum.

Tax the Fat Cat Private Jet Class, Invest in Green Transit

Democrats introduce a bill to hike fuel taxes on private jets and invest the new revenue in public transportation.

More than $2.5 Billion in Donor-Advised Fund Grants Went to Other DAFs in 2021

The IRS just released two years of long-awaited nonprofit tax filings. We found an enormous jump in DAF-to-DAF giving.

How Do We Act Morally in the Face of Climate Change?

As climate change produces more misery, we will increasingly confront the question asked by Chuck Collins in his new novel: What does moral action look like against such an immoral status quo?

Taxes on the Wealthy Could Fund Reparations—and Create a More Equal America for Everyone

Congress should establish a national commission to examine the legacy of slavery and propose reparations funded by breaking up concentrated wealth in the United States.
Image shows huge mounds of money, one of which has a man in a suit on top of it planting a flag.

Wealth Hoarding and Capitalist Capture

In this episode of "For the Wild," guest Cuck Collins dives deeply into the world of wealth hoarding and staggering inequality.

From Affirmative Action To Reparations: Bridging Racial Economic Inequality

While our federal government backtracks, state and local lawmakers are increasingly taking action to repair racial divides through policies designed to address racial inequality.

Private Foundations Gave $2.6 Billion in Grants to National Donor-Advised Funds in 2021

Private foundations are currently allowed to make grants to donor-advised funds, or DAFs, and to count those grants toward their charitable distribution requirement of 5 percent of their assets each year.

Wealth Inequality, Trade Agreements & How a Progressive Annual Wealth Tax Could Help Promote Economic Democracy

Omar Ocampo joins Bringing Light into Darkness (BLID) to discuss IPS' Report: “Extreme Wealth: The Growing Number of People With Extreme Wealth and What an Annual Wealth Tax Could Raise."

Until the River Runs Dry

Every year, wealthy donors divert more money into intermediaries, drying up the river of donations meant for working charities. We can change that.

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In the News

Sidemen of Gravitational Crisis

New England Public Media | July 13, 2023

Wealth Hoarding and Capitalist Capture

For the Wild | July 12, 2023

Kansas Public Radio - "Conversations"

Kansas Public Radio | June 30, 2023

Money as a Trust Fund Baby

Morning Brew | June 30, 2023

The Dark Side of Liberal Philanthropy

Fast Company | June 20, 2023