Monthly Archives: December 2011


The Most-Viewed Giveaway Stories of 2011

The death of Steve Jobs will almost certainly be included in lists of the biggest stories of the year. It might not be surprising, then, that his thoughts on philanthropy, as reported in Walter Isaacson’s biography, became the most popular post on this blog.

Also popular were posts with practical advice for grant seekers and new grant makers, giving by foundations, and how donors measure charities.

The top five most-viewed posts on the Giveaway in 2011 were:

Steve Jobs Found Much to Dislike Abou…


Helmsley Trust Names a CEO

The foundation created by the late hotel mogul Leona Helmsley plans to announce today that John R. Ettinger, a lawyer, will serve as its new leader.

Mr. Ettinger joins the philanthropy after 32 years at Davis Polk & Wardwell, a global law firm. This spring, he stepped down as the firm’s managing partner.

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust now holds roughly $4-billion in assets, making it one of the country’s biggest philanthropies. The New York foundation will grow even wealthie…


Foundation Giving to Hispanic Causes Remains Flat

American foundations commit only 1 percent of their giving to Hispanic causes—a share that has not changed in the past decade, according to a new study.

Giving to Hispanics in the United States from 2007 to 2009 averaged $206-million a year, and grants for Latin America averaged about $350-million a year. Most grants awarded to Hispanics support human services and health causes.

The survey by the Foundation Center and Hispanics in Philanthropy also found that 42 percent of grant dollars that sup…


Giving Increases at Global-Health Nonprofits

Giving to international health charities increased last year after two years of declines, according to a new study by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Government and private money to those nonprofits rose by roughly 8 percent this year, the study found.

The biggest private donor to global health, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, gave more of its dollars to research institutions and universities than other types of health charities. (The Institute fo…


How to Help Donors Give Wisely

Many philanthropy experts frown on picking a charity based on how little money it spends on overhead.

But if a donor can’t rely on that simple, easy-to-obtain measure, what can a person use to sort good nonprofits from bad?

Three nonprofit experts—Jacob Harold of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Adrian Sargeant and Jen Shang of Indiana University—offered their advice during an online discussion hosted this week by The Chronicle and The Christian Science Monitor.

Mr. Harold pointed to…


Confronting the Gates Foundation’s ‘Brass-Knuckle’ Dominance

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is big—really, really big.

Sure, its wealth today may be a smaller share of the U.S. economy than that of the Ford Foundation at mid 20th-century, as a Gates official noted yesterday. But Gates’s $3-billion in annual giving dwarfs that of other foundations and lends it a level of influence not achieved by its philanthropic peers—or, for that matter, some governments.

Alliance magazine and the Hudson Institute hosted a panel in Washington on Tuesday to discuss…


George Soros Appoints New Leader to Oversee His Giving

The Open Society Foundations announced today that Christopher Stone, a Harvard professor and criminal-justice expert, has been chosen to lead the global network of philanthropies started by hedge-fund billionaire George Soros.

Mr. Stone, 55, will take over in July. He succeeds Aryeh Neier, who is retiring after 18 years as the foundation’s president.

Mr. Stone teaches at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and directs the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. His research focuses…


Why Works With Internet Entrepreneurs

Charles Best, the founder and chief executive of the online education charity, has leaned heavily on big-name online supporters like Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, to help the organization fulfill its mission.

Mr. Best and Mr. Newmark talked to The Chronicle last month about that relationship at the NextGen: Charity conference in New York.

On Learn more about DonorsChoose’s strategy as part of The Chronicles report on how Internet entrepreneurs ar…


Giving News Roundup: Corporate Donations to Remain Flat

Among the noteworthy philanthropy items we have been tracking this week:

  • Companies do not expect to increase their giving in 2011, according to a new survey from the Conference Board, a business membership group. That comes after a year in which giving barely budged. The 183 companies polled donated a median of 0.81 percent of their pretax income in 2010, compared with 1 percent in 2008. (Learn more about corporate-giving trends from The Chronicles annual study.)
  • A new foundation-supported rep…