Monthly Archives: December 2011
December 29, 2011, 10:26 am
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 About Philanthropy
The Apple co-founder found fault with the jargon, the showiness, and the rich people who thought they could shake up philanthropy.
Video: Common Mistakes Made by Grant Applicants
Grant makers explain what turns them off in proposals.
Foundations Sign Their Own Giving Pledge
More than 60 grant makers have agreed to direct the majority of their money to groups that serve…
December 20, 2011, 10:37 am
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 wealthier as it receives additional money from the estate of Ms. Helmsley, who died in 2007.
Since her death, the trust has faced legal challenges from animal-welfare groups, which contend that the fund is ignoring Ms. Helmsley’s wish that much of her money go to help dogs. The trust currently supports charities working in education, the environment, health, and human services.
While pursuing …
December 14, 2011, 7:39 pm
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 supported Hispanics during that time went to nonprofits in the western United States, with 80 percent given in California.
December 14, 2011, 7:23 pm
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 for Health Metrics and Evaluation receives a good portion of its support from Gates.)
Nonprofits, foundations, and corporations were the second biggest recipient of Gates health dollars, followed by United Nations agencies.
December 8, 2011, 10:50 am
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 several Web sites that share information on nonprofits: GreatNonprofits, Philanthropedia, GiveWell, and Social Impact Research. He said that community foundations can be a good place to start when seeking advice on giving locally.
Mr. Harold advised donors to seek out groups…
December 7, 2011, 4:16 pm
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 questions raised by Gates’s size and its increasingly sophisticated use of advocacy tools and the news media. The discussion was inspired by a special issue in the magazine devoted to the software billionaire’s philanthropy.
Tim Ogden, editor of Philanthropy Action, and Laura Freschi, of New York University’s Development Research Institute, described the extent of Gates’s dominance a…
December 7, 2011, 8:55 am
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 on countries that are trying to make significant changes to their criminal-justice systems.
From 1994 to 2004, Mr. Stone was director of the Vera Institute of Justice, a nonprofit that seeks to improve justice systems in the United States and abroad. A graduate of Yale’s law school, he is the founder of the nonprofit Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, in New York.
Mr. Stone has …
December 2, 2011, 8:24 am
Charles Best, the founder and chief executive of the online education charity DonorsChoose.org, 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 Philanthropy.com: Learn more about DonorsChoose’s strategy as part of The Chronicle‘s report on how Internet entrepreneurs are embracing philanthropy.
December 1, 2011, 8:18 pm
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 Chronicle‘s annual study.)
- A new foundation-supported report examines the role of philanthropy in overhauling the District of Columbia’s juvenile-justice agency. The study credits private donors for helping the city develop more programs aimed at encouraging incarcerated young people to turn their lives around, improving prison conditions for youths, and reducing the rates at which they commit multiple crimes. The study was paid for by the Carter a…