All posts by Caroline Preston


Using Hollywood to Teach People About Disaster Giving

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 la…


Big Banks Are Too Stingy, Says Watchdog

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 th…


Corporate Donors Favor ‘Elite’ Nonprofits, Study Finds

“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 th…


Council on Foundations ‘Redesigns’ Organization and Sheds 19 Jobs

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 nee…


Progressive Grant-Making Collaborative Ceases Operations

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…


Foundation Employees Want to Feel Their Work Matters, Survey Finds

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…


Kauffman Foundation Names New CEO

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.

Tom McDonnell, courtesy of the Kauffman foundation

Mr. McDonnell succeeds Carl Schramm, who led Kauffman from 2002 until last year.

Mr. McDonnell said…


Bloomberg Philanthropies Aims to Spur Innovation in City Governments

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 identi…


Robert Wood Johnson Steps Up Public-Policy Influence

In an effort to educate lawmakers about health issues, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation last week announced that it has appointed David Colby as its first vice president for public policy.

Mr. Colby currently leads the foundation’s research and evaluation work. He spent nine years in federal government before joining Robert Wood Johnson.

“David’s experience in both the federal government and academic sectors make him uniquely qualified to lead our representation on important matters of pub…


Kellogg Foundation CEO to Depart in 2013

Sterling Speirn, president of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, announced today that he plans to step down at the end of next year.

Mr. Speirn has led the organization since 2006. He said in a letter that he does not plan to retire but will instead continue to focus on ways to help vulnerable children and families.

“He’s had a lot of accomplishments here, a lot to be proud of, and I think he likes the idea of going out on the top of his game,” said Joanne Krell, vice president for communications, in …