For Robert Rosenkranz, an investor and philanthropist who runs Delphi Financial Group, philanthropy doesn’t get more satisfying than Intelligence Squared U.S.
Rosenkranz created the debate series in response to his frustration with what he saw as the lack of true public discourse in the United States. "In America there is no such thing as a real debate,'' he has said
. So after receiving his favorite birthday present from his wife—a detailed report on different formats he could use to encourage civil discourse around controversial issues—Rosenkranz created IQ2US.
The program, based on London’s highly successful Intelligence Squared events, presents Oxford-style debates in New York on a wide range of provocative and timely topics, ranging from genetic engineering to the minimum wage to Pentagon funding. The debates also attract well-known participants, including an array of public figures such as Arianna Huffington and author Michael Crichton.
“I have to say that of all the philanthropic things we've supported over the years and done over the years, Intelligence Squared is the most satisfying,” says Rosenkranz. “It's most satisfying because of the personal involvement I've had, and it's most satisfying because I can just see that we met a need.”
To see a complete archive of Robert Rozenkranz' videos, see here.
Rosenkranz sees the series of debates—which are featured on National Public Radio and watched by a live audience who votes on the issues before and after the debates—as an important vehicle for new ideas and as a way to honor the democratic ideals of America. "We identified a real need for a higher level of public discourse...and we're fulfilling that need in a way that people are responding to,” says Rosenkranz.