I think part of why it's complicated is that it's definitely about money AND money itself is not enough. Think our public schools. Fixing urban schools is hugely expensive, AND doing it right is difficult. Same with health care. Money spent is required, but not sufficient.
When I was visiting colleges, one of the freshman I stayed with dragged me along to a fairly boring meeting of some grant-giving group she was on. I didn't really know why she took me, so she told me, "Always be involved with at least one group that distributes money. Do everything else you want to do, but always make sure you have some control over a group that distributes money. That's how you gain power. And that's how you enact change."
I never took her advice, really, but I think it's probably some of the best advice anyone has ever given me.
occhiblu, at 29 years old I am finally taking that advice, and it works! I may very well be able to help fix my neighbourhood! Not Iraq or Darfur or Tibet, or world poverty or nuclear war or cancer or AIDS, but my neighbourhood, at the very least. I am blessed.