All posts by Maria Di Mento


Charitable Deduction Should Be a Constitutional Right, Says Lawyer

The fate of the charitable deduction worried many of the donors, grant makers, and nonprofit experts gathered in Palm Beach, Fla., on Thursday for the opening of the Philanthropy Roundtable’s annual conference.

Loss of the deduction would be so devastating to philanthropy, said one legal expert, that she urged donors and other nonprofit advocates to push to amend the Constitution or the federal tax code so that a donor’s gross income would be reduced by the amount he or she contributes to char…


Former Hewlett Foundation Head to Join Stanford Center

Philanthropy studies at the university level just got a very prominent booster as one of the nation’s most prominent foundation leaders moves to academe.

Paul Brest, the former president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, who stepped down from that post last week, has been named faculty co-director of Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, the university announced today.

Mr. Brest, who started out as an expert on constitutional law, and in later years has focus…


Warren Buffett Pledges $3-Billion More to His Kids’ Foundations

Warren Buffett said today he would give each of his three children $1-billion to donate, in addition to the $1-billion gifts he made to each of their philanthropies in 2006.

To celebrate his 82nd birthday, he said in a letter to his children that he is awarding  12,220,852 Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares to each of their foundations.

Mr. Buffett made history in 2006 when he pledged stock, then worth more than $30-billion, to the Gates Foundation and about $3-billion to a foundation established…


New Web Site Informs Philanthropists About Nonprofits

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation has created a new online forum to help philanthropists learn about charities and then connect with the ones that interest them.

The new Web site is called the Giving Library and includes videos from 250 nonprofits hoping to catch the attention of donors who visit the site. The videos detail each organization’s history, mission, challenges, and plans as well as the results they have achieved.

Donors who find them interesting can then anonymously seek out more …


How a Change in Foundation Strategy Can Upset Beneficiaries

As foundations adjust their approaches to dealing with the tough economy and changing needs, they often face a big challenge in how to tell grantees that money is about to disappear.

The situation can be even tougher when a grant maker takes a new approach to dealing with some of society’s most vulnerable, as the Annie E. Casey Foundation has learned the hard way in recent weeks.

Casey announced last month that it was getting out of the business of providing direct support to foster-care familie…


Three Families Unite to Raise $30-Million for Aid to Veterans

Three affluent families are forming a fund with the purpose of raising $30-million to support programs that serve military veterans, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America announced today.

The families have donated more than $1-million and plan to seek contributions especially from other wealthy people, including those without personal connections to any service members.

Philip Green, president of PDG Consulting, a health-care consultancy,  and his wife, Elizabeth Cobbs, chief of geriatri…


Casey Fund to End Foster-Case Unit and Direct $20-Million a Year to Nonprofits

The Annie E. Casey Foundation on Tuesday announced plans to close a foster-care unit it runs, a move that will eliminate 280 jobs and free up roughly $20-million a year in grants to nonprofits that help government agencies serve the needy, including youngsters in foster care.

The closure of Casey Family Services affects employees who provide services in seven states.

Patrick McCarthy, president of the Casey Foundation, said he believes his organization can do more good by providing grants to imp…


Million-Dollar Donations Are on the Decline in 2012

America’s wealthy are in a less generous mood so far this year.

The number of donations of $1-million or more has dropped 8 percent since the beginning of 2012 compared with the same period last year, according to a Chronicle tally.

Since the start of 2012, The Chronicle has confirmed, 318 gifts of $1-million or more have been made, totaling $2.5-billion. In the first half of 2011 there were fewer such gifts, 292, but the overall total was larger, $2.7-billion.

Gifts of $100-million or more hav…


Most Rich Americans Believe in Teaching Children About Giving

Even in tough economic times, wealthy Americans still believe strongly that they have a duty to give, a new survey says.

About 69 percent of rich people said they have a responsibility to pass on to their children a tradition of philanthropic giving, according to the study by U.S. Trust of 642 people with investable assets of at least $3-million.

Two-thirds of those who are 67 and older and 73 percent of baby boomers said philanthropy is an important social responsibility for all generations. Ab…


Foundation Giving Did Not Keep Pace With Inflation in 2011

Giving by U.S. foundations totaled an estimated $46.9-billion last year, an increase of only 2 percent from 2010 and a more than 2 percent drop from 2009, according to a new study on foundation giving.

However, when inflation is taken into account, giving was actually down from 2010, the Foundation Center study says, signaling a continued rough road for charities that rely on foundation grants for the bulk of their support.

The survey shows that if the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—the country’…