Little Phil: Changing the Relationship between Philanthropy and Democracy?

Joshua Murchie, Jean-Paul Gagnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This Practitioner’s Note considers the disruptive function of Little Phil, a mobile app that seeks to democratize philanthropic giving. Although many of the cultural aspects of philanthropy – such as increased control over donation, tracking the impact of one’s giving, and building interpersonal relationships with receivers – can be opened to any person with an app-hosting device and internet access, it cannot supplant the role of big philanthropy and solve Rob Reich’s problem: how to domesticate private wealth so that it serves democratic purposes? Little Phil’s disruption has in concept gotten us halfway to legitimizing philanthropy. Perhaps the uptake of citizens’ panels by large philanthropic foundations will cover the remaining distance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number60108
Pages (from-to)122-127
Number of pages6
JournalDemocratic Theory
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Little Phil: Changing the Relationship between Philanthropy and Democracy?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this