January 10, 2013, 4:15 pm
Mike Rea, founder of Give2Asia, calls the 2004 Asian tsunamis the “first global disaster of our time.”
Now an employee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Rea wanted to use the disaster’s 10th anniversary to investigate what had become of the millions of dollars his group contributed and the many people it aspired to help.
Then he learned that Hollywood was producing its own retrospective (of sorts) on the tsunamis. Even better, he thought, for educating people about a once-devastated land and ways to respond effectively in the wake of natural emergencies.
So Mr. Rea fast-tracked his plans for his “Tsunami Plus 10″ Project to coincide with last month’s release of The Impossible, a film starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts.
Mr. Rea traveled to Sri Lanka in August where he filmed a “mini-documentary” called “To Sandy From Sri Lanka: Lessons in Diversified Disaster…
January 3, 2013, 4:51 pm
While the nation’s largest banks have used their charity to deflect criticism in the wake of the financial crisis, their actual philanthropic track record is “lackluster,” according to a new report from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.
The report says that four banks’ corporate foundations — Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo — give only modest shares of annual corporate revenues to nonprofits. Bank of America gave a median of 0.15 percent over the last five years, while JPMorgan Chase gave 0.08 percent and Goldman Sachs, 0.03 percent, says the left-leaning watchdog group.
The median giving by corporate foundations in the financial industry, as a percentage of annual revenues, is 0.13 percent, according to data from the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy cited in the report.
The report also faults the banks for…
December 19, 2012, 9:16 am
“Elite” nonprofits like arts institutions and colleges tend to benefit more from corporate giving than do social-welfare charities, according to a study published in the journal Organization Science.
The higher the concentration of corporate headquarters in a city, the faster the growth of local nonprofits, the study found. But the impact was greater on nonprofits that enrich the culture or higher learning of a community than on groups that aim to alleviate social problems.
The study examined the influence of locally headquartered corporations in 100 U.S. cities from 1987 to 2002.
“Corporations are vessels for aggregating resources,” Gerald Davis, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and a co-author of the study, said in a written statement announcing the study’s publication. “We find that across every major American city, the resources of the…
December 17, 2012, 8:26 am
The Council on Foundations, an organization that represents many of the nation’s biggest grant makers, has eliminated 19 positions in the last two months, part of a “redesign” its president says will enable the organization to better serve its members.
In an interview, Vikki Spruill, who has led the association since July, said the change was driven by a need to work differently, not a decision to cut certain services or programs. The council, she said, would focus on better anticipating the needs of member foundations and would be creating up to a dozen positions next year that fit that new approach.
“It’s a different business model, and we need different skills and competencies to support a new business model,” she said.
The organization, Ms. Spruill said, would also aim to be less “hierarchical.” As an example, she said the council eliminated its chief operating officer…
December 14, 2012, 8:18 am
The Funding Exchange, a 33-year-old organization that helped to pioneer social-justice giving, announced this week that it is ceasing operations.
Financial woes stemming from declining investment earnings from the group’s donor-advised funds led to the decision, said Casey Cook, executive director of the Bread and Roses Community Fund and chairman of the Funding Exchange’s board.
“Ultimately the board had to make the very difficult decision to cease operations at this time in order to be able to honor our existing commitments,” she said. “The board acted on its fiduciary responsibility not to operate in a deficit.”
In addition to its donor-advised funds, the Funding Exchange held an endowment of roughly $12-million that supported the 16 member foundations that made up the collaborative. The board has yet to decide what exactly will happen to the endowment, but it will continue…
December 12, 2012, 9:15 am
Foundation jobs are often viewed as the most-desirable positions in the nonprofit world, but a new study finds they do not guarantee happiness.
Employees at the nation’s grant makers rated their job satisfaction an average of 5.3 out of 7, according to a study based on a survey of more than 1,000 people conducted by the Center for Effective Philanthropy.
Employees are far more likely to express satisfaction with their jobs if they feel they are respected, their ideas are valued, and they can use their skills and creativity to make a positive difference, according to the study. Those factors were more important than pay or workload, the study says.
To encourage a feeling of “empowerment” among employees, the study recommends, foundation leaders should clearly communicate goals, conduct employee reviews that are fair and helpful, and give workers the sense that they are valued.
December 5, 2012, 9:53 am
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has selected a longtime board member, Tom McDonnell, to serve as its new chief executive, the grant maker said today.
Mr. McDonnell is a business leader who is retiring this year after nearly 40 years as chief executive of DST Systems, a technology company in Kansas City. He has served on the Kauffman foundation board since 2003 and as its chairman since 2006.
Mr. McDonnell succeeds Carl Schramm, who led Kauffman from 2002 until last year.
Mr. McDonnell said in a statement that he was “honored” to serve as the foundation’s leader. “Our important work in education and entrepreneurship has made an impact both around the globe and in our hometown of Kansas City,” he said.
His nonprofit affiliations include serving as chairman of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and the Kansas City United Way Campaign.
November 27, 2012, 6:00 am
Anybody can eavesdrop on a conversation with the nation’s most prominent donors by watching a series of new video interviews that feature Eli Broad, Melinda Gates, Ted Turner, and about 50 other prominent philanthropists.
The interviews were conducted by the Bridgespan Group to help donors learn from one another. But the videos are also helpful for fundraising and charity executives who want to figure out what makes wealthy people give big.
For example, Eli Broad applies three key questions to the “philanthropic investments” he makes: “Would it happen anyway? If it’s going to happen anyway, we don’t make the investment,” he says in a video clip. “Two, will it make a difference 20 or 30 years from now? And lastly, is talent leadership there that can really make it happen? … If the answer to any one of those is no, we don’t do it.”
The videos are part of Bridgepan’s Give Smart…
November 15, 2012, 9:50 am
A group of more than 80 grant makers, nonprofits, and businesses has created a network to help legal immigrants living in the United States become citizens.
The New Americans Campaign will aim to use $20-million donated by multiple foundations to make it easier for people to become full-fledged Americans. Currently, barriers prevent the vast majority of the nation’s 8 million legal immigrants from becoming naturalized. Only 8 percent of those eligible each year do so, the campaign reports.
Applying for citizenship costs $680—too much for many immigrants. The lengthy, labyrinthine path to citizenship can take two years to complete, dissuading many from trying. Many who do fall prey to fraudulent operators who take their money but offer little in legal services in return.
“The goal of the campaign is to allow those who want to take that last step toward citizenship navigate the …
November 5, 2012, 10:42 am
Bloomberg Philanthropies announced today the 20 finalists for a competition designed to spark innovation among U.S. cities.
The 20 finalists—including High Point, N.C., for a plan to adapt a nonprofit gang-violence program to reduce domestic abuse; Philadelphia’s proposal to “re-imagine” the government grant-making process; and Milwaukee’s ideas for using foreclosed property—will attend an “ideas camp” in New York later this month to share their ideas and help them take shape.
“We want to identify the best thinking and most creative solutions percolating up from across the country, elevate the solutions, and ultimately help them spread,” said Jim Anderson, who leads the foundation’s government-innovation work.
The cities are competing for a $5-million top prize and four runner-up awards of $1-million each. Winners will be announced this spring.
Mr. Anderson said 305…