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‘Hyperpartisanship’ Dominates Concerns of Nonprofit Leaders

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, head of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says the “hyperpartisanship” in American politics keeps her up at night. She’s not alone.

Diana Aviv, president of Independent Sector, made the topic a theme of her keynote speech at the annual meeting in Chicago of the nonprofit coalition. Two other chief executives, Melissa Bradley, of the Tides Foundation, and Bob Edgar, of Common Cause, spent an hour and a half at the meeting discussing how it has posed challenges for their orga…

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Few Charity Employees Feel Financially Prepared for Retirement, Survey Finds

Many nonprofit workers are worried that they won’t have enough money to retire comfortably, according to initial results released today of a survey about financial security among nonprofit employees. The early findings were presented at the annual Independent Sector meeting in Chicago.

That concern is prompting some employees to consider leaving the nonprofit world, says the study, which was conducted by the TIAA-CREF Institute, an arm of the retirement-fund giant, and Independent Sector.

The te…

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Behind a Celebrity’s Bid to Help Eastern Congo

Redwood City, Calif.

Plenty of examples exist of not-so-successful attempts by celebrities to engage in nonprofit work and advocacy. The Eastern Congo Initiative, started by the actor Ben Affleck, is winning some praise as an example of a smart approach.

Last week Mr. Affleck spoke about the project here at the Global Philanthropy Forum, an annual meeting of donors.

Mr. Affleck said he started thinking about getting involved in advocacy work when he was asked, like a lot of celebrities, to help …

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How a Donor Mixes Investments and Grants

Redwood City, Calif.

Like a lot of wealthy people, Ron Cordes started a family foundation with some of the money he received when another company acquired the business he had helped to create. But unlike most of those people, he’s focused more of his attention on using the foundation’s investment portfolio to advance social causes than on making grants.

Mr. Cordes talked about his experience during a session  at the Global Philanthropy Forum, a meeting of donors involved in international causes.

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Candid Talk About the Struggles of Getting Rich People to Give

Redwood City, Calif.

Three people who have  signed the Giving Pledge—a commitment to give away at least half of their fortunes—spoke on Thursday about why they think rich people should donate more and what they hope the pledge will achieve.

John Morgridge, chairman emeritus of Cisco, and his wife, Tashia, were joined by Lorry Lokey, founder of Business Wire, for an evening conversation at the Global Philanthropy Forum, an annual meeting for donors.

The Morgridges were among a small group who att…

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Why It Matters That Donors Evaluate Their Work

Redwood City, Calif.

Could a national effort to fight malnutrition, backed with significant money from the World Bank, have no impact?

Yes, according to Howard White, executive director for the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, a nonprofit dedicated to determining what works in international antipoverty efforts. Mr. White was among more than two dozen speakers who participated in the opening day of the Global Philanthropy Forum, an annual meeting for donors.

His speech underscored …

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Council on Foundations Puts Philanthropy on Trial

Philadelphia

At the closing session of the Council on Foundations meeting on Tuesday, a majority of people voted to do away with the charitable deduction and other tax breaks that benefit foundations.

OK, not really.

It was all part of a mock trial the council put together—with philanthropy as the defendant—to debate whether foundations are fulfilling their mission of advancing the common good.

The sentence for philanthropy, if found guilty of falling short on its mission: losing its tax-exempt …

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Changing How Congress Views Foundations

Philadelphia

Foundations need to change their message to legislators, to focus on how philanthropy serves people and reduces the burden on government, said Steve Gunderson, president of the Council on Foundations, on the closing day of the council’s annual meeting. Philanthropy requires help increasing its resources so it can do more, not less, he said.

“We have to make the case that philanthropy isn’t a special interest, but it’s an entity in American society that’s a partner in buildin…

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A Blueprint for Grant Making to Journalism Groups

Philadelphia

Foundations can play a more effective role in the future of media and journalism, say the authors of a report on grant making to journalism organizations during the Council on Foundations annual conference.

Michele McLellan, a consultant for the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, in Miami, offered five things foundations should know about journalism and media grant making:

  • This is everyone’s issue. “It’s pretty simple: If you want to engage citizens in solving problems in your c…
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Why Aren’t Foundation Boards More Diverse?

Philadelphia

An afternoon session here at the Council on Foundations annual meeting tackled the big questions behind foundation-board diversity, including perhaps the biggest: how to explain the gap between talking about making boards more diverse and the current reality.

According to recent studies, 8 percent to 14 percent of nonprofit CEO’s and board members are minorities. Many in the discussion session believed that the gap was a lack of will. While most people would like to see foundation …