Monthly Archives: January 2012


In Annual Letter, Gates Predicts More ‘Giving Pledge’ Members

Bill Gates, America’s most famous full-time philanthropist, says he expects more billionaires to promise big chunks of their fortunes to charity soon.

In his annual rumination on philanthropy, Mr. Gates says he’s heard from several people so far this year who said they plan “very soon” to join the Giving Pledge, a commitment that rich people give away at least half their wealth. He doesn’t hint at how many new members he expects to join the 69 billionaires who have already signed on.

The last an…


Former Foundation Association Leader Takes New Lobbying Role

Steve Gunderson, who left his job as head of the Council on Foundations in September, has a new position as head of a Washington trade association. Now he’ll be representing a group quite different from foundations as he takes over a coalition of for-profit colleges.

Mr. Gunderson, a former Republican Congressman from Wisconsin, will face an uphill challenge in his new role. The for-profit colleges are under scrutiny in Washington and elsewhere over questions about how good a job they do prepari…


How the X-Prize Foundation Creates Prizes

It takes a lot of planning and research to create an effective prize contest, says Jaykumar Menon, senior director for education and global development and prize development at the X-Prize Foundation, which offers monetary awards for technological advances in space travel, automotive fuel efficiency, and other areas. And there’s no guarantee that anyone will succeed in the challenge and win the prize.

“It’s difficult to do a prize well,” Mr. Menon says. “You can have a prize that is not won. Y…


Another Facebook Co-Founder Gets Philanthropic

Some advice for nonprofits that want a piece of the Facebook fortune: Get yourself on GiveWell‘s list of effective charities.

Good Ventures, the new foundation started by the 27-year-old Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, is beginning to give away its money to nonprofits recommended by the charity-evaluation group.

Cari Tuna, Mr. Moskovitz’s girlfriend and a former Wall Street Journal reporter, joined GiveWell’s board in April.  She wrote in a blog post last month that Good Ventures would don…


Bush Foundation President Steps Down

Peter Hutchinson is leaving his job as the president of the Bush Foundation this month, the philanthropy said today.

Mr. Hutchinson led a revamp of the St. Paul foundation’s giving after taking over in November 2007. He prompted the foundation to focus all its giving on three causes—leadership and community solutions, education, and Native Americans—and moved to making bigger, longer-term grants. In The Chronicles most recent survey of large grant makers, the Bush Foundation reported $700-milli…


Kauffman Foundation President Departs

Carl J. Schramm, who 10 years ago left a career in health-care and insurance consulting to take over the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, has stepped down as president, the philanthropy announced today.

The $1.8-billion foundation, which supports entrepreneurship, said Mr. Schramm was leaving “in order to return to scholarship and business.”

Benno C. Schmidt Jr., a foundation trustee and former president of Yale University, will serve as interim chief executive.

Mr. Schramm’s early years at the…


Nonprofits Offer Their Vision for New Hewlett President

Charity officials are weighing in on the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s search for a new president.

The $7-billion philanthropy is looking for a leader to replace Paul Brest, who plans to step down later this year after more than a decade in the top role.

In a letter this week to foundation trustees, officials of nine progressive nonprofits said they hoped Hewlett would choose a leader who shares Mr. Brest’s commitment to long-term grants that do not have too many strings attached.

The n…