Monthly Archives: May 2011
May 26, 2011, 9:43 am
John and Tashia Morgridge would be near the top of any list of philanthropic power couples.
Mr. Morgridge, former chief executive of Cisco Systems, and Ms. Morgridge, who worked as a special-education teacher, have given more than $266-million since 2004, according to The Chronicle‘s annual tallies. Last summer they signed the Giving Pledge, a statement saying they will donate at least half their net worth to charity.
Married for 55 years, the Morgridges run a family foundation, the Tosa Foundation, named after the Wisconsin high school they both attended.
The Chronicle caught up with the Morgridges at the Global Philanthropy Forum, an annual meeting for donors who support global causes. The couple’s long history together is evident; they’re as…
May 25, 2011, 10:22 am
The best way to get a grant is to contact the grant maker directly, tailor your application to the grant you’re seeking, and not overpromise results or exaggerate your abilities. Those are some of the tips from the grant makers and consultants The Chronicle interviewed at this year’s annual meeting of the Council on Foundations in Philadelphia. Even organizations hand-picked to compete for a grant can fall victim to those mistakes, says one foundation staff member.
What common mistakes do you see on grant applications?
May 20, 2011, 11:33 am
What will Open Society Foundations look like without George Soros?
That’s one of many topics The Chronicle discussed with the billionaire hedge-fund manager during an hourlong conversation earlier this month. (Read the full profile of Mr. Soros here).
The 80-year-old philanthropist says he’s worried that the Open Society Foundations will lose its innovative spirit after he’s gone. His staff members say they are less concerned, noting that younger employees share Mr. Soros’s appetite for risk taking.
Meanwhile, Open Society has begun a search for a new president to replace Aryeh Neier, who has led the fund since 1993 and will step down next April. Mr. Soros says that person will be not only a replacement for Mr. Neier but, potentially, for Mr. Soros himself. The foundation is also taking steps to simplify its operations to make it easier for a new leader to take over. The…
May 20, 2011, 10:19 am
While many charities are still struggling to raise money in the face of a sluggish economy, giving by America’s wealthiest donors appears to be making a comeback.
From January 1 through May 15, The Chronicle has confirmed 225 donations of $1-million or more totaling close to $2.4-billion. That is at least $1-billion more than in 2010, when 145 such donations accounted for more than $1.3-billion.
And donations of $100-million or more also surged this year. In fact, gifts of that size have more than doubled since 2010. Six donations of $100-million or more, totaling $835-million, were announced from January 1 to May 15, compared with only two such donations (totaling $300-million) in the same period of 2010.
The three largest gifts awarded so far this year include a $225-million pledge to the University of Pennsylvania from Raymond G. and Ruth Perelman, followed by two large…
May 20, 2011, 10:11 am
Three major nonprofit groups released a tool this week to help charities do a better job of describing their work so donors can easily assess their results.
The tool is part of a project called Charting Impact, organized by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, GuideStar, and Independent Sector. It lists five questions groups can use to create a report about a charity’s plans and successes or to devise a strategic plan:
* What is your organization aiming to accomplish?
* What are your strategies for making this happen?
* What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?
* How will your organization know if you are making progress?
* What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?
For nonprofits that answer the questions on the Charting Impact Web site, a report will appear on their GuideStar and BBB Wise Giving Alliance profiles and eventually on other Web site…
May 17, 2011, 11:05 am
Robert Gallucci served as special envoy for the State Department, chief U.S. negotiator during the North Korean nuclear crisis of 1994, and, for 13 years, dean of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
His first job in philanthropy is a plum one: president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Mr. Gallucci spoke recently with The Chronicle about what he’s learned since he took the job nearly two years ago.
In person, Mr. Gallucci is friendly and witty. He describes a conversation with another foundation president during which it all of a sudden struck him: Were the two foundations in competition?
He says that an absence of competitors is something that separates the grant-making world from other fields. As a dean at Georgetown, Mr. Gallucci says he was always in competition with other deans for dollars, students, and faculty members.
May 16, 2011, 10:56 am
A new Web site seeks to help donors cut through “philanthro-babble” and jargon to provide advice on giving.
The site, GiveSmart.org, which is run by the Bridgespan Group, a consulting company, focuses on six questions philanthropists should ask, including, “What are my values and beliefs?” and “What am I accountable for?
The site borrows its concepts from the new book Give Smart: Philanthropy That Gets Results, by Thomas J. Tierney and Joel L. Fleishman, and includes case studies, checklists, and links to further reading.
Bridgespan soon plans to add an interactive tool that allows donors to determine the best ways to perform due diligence on nonprofit groups. The organization is also planning to add a blog to the site in the next few months and introduce guest writers sharing their advice soon afterward.
May 10, 2011, 11:07 am
The Center for Effective Philanthropy released a survey at its conference in Boston today that injects some new data into the debate about whether foundations are doing enough—or too much, in the eyes of some—to measure their performance.
Seventy-two percent of 173* foundation chief executives surveyed said that assessing their organization’s performance is a high priority, and 68 percent believe grant makers have made great progress in measuring their performance over the past decade.
Just 19 percent said they agreed with the argument that foundations have shifted too far in the direction of measurement and performance assessment, according to the survey from the Cambridge, Mass., group, which helps grant makers determine their effectiveness.
But other results from the survey underscore just how challenging performance assessment can be.
Sixty-one percent of foundation …
May 10, 2011, 10:12 am
The foundation world is notoriously private. So, too, are wealthy donors.
Yet their giving decisions can have huge implications for nonprofits—and can help inform the work of their fellow donors.
With this blog, we plan to report on what foundations are up to and what’s on the minds of wealthy donors. We’ll report news, like a major foundation’s decision to change its strategy or the settlement of a wealthy philanthropist’s estate. We’ll share tidbits from interviews with major philanthropists. We plan to analyze some of the latest trends in the giving world. We’ll also point readers to discussions about giving that are happening in other places on the Web.
But we want this blog to serve our readers well—so let us know what you want us to examine, and share your own stories and news in our comments section.