Monthly Archives: January 2012
January 25, 2012, 4:02 pm
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 announcement of philanthropists joining the pledge, an effort led also by Mr. Gates’s wife, Melinda, and the investor Warren Buffett, was in April.
In his letter, Mr. Gates says that some Giving Pledge members are considering working together on philanthropic projects.
He also focuses in the letter on the importance of improving farming so that the world can feed itself as demand and…
January 23, 2012, 3:05 pm
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 preparing students for jobs.
Mr. Gunderson announced in July that he would be resigning from the Council on Foundations, a position he held for six years, saying that he felt he was ready to move on. Jeff Clarke, a veteran grant maker, was named the Council’s interim president.
The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities announced to its members over the weekend that Mr….
January 23, 2012, 10:29 am
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. You can have a prize that is won but has no impact. You can have a prize that no one pays attention to.”
To make sure that it’s not wasting time and money, the X-Prize Foundation takes great care to develop its prizes.
For each project, it spends six to 12 months studying how to create meaningful criteria, how to appeal to competitors, and other factors.
In the video above, filmed a…
January 10, 2012, 11:17 am
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 donate $500,000 to the Against Malaria Foundation and $250,000 to the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, the No. 1 and No. 2 charities as ranked by GiveWell.
Other nonprofits on GiveWell’s list of “standout” organizations—GiveDirectly, Innovations for Poverty Action, KIPP Houston, Nyaya Health, Pratham, and the Small Enterprise Foundation—would get money from Good Ventures in the…
January 6, 2012, 1:50 pm
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 Chronicle‘s most recent survey of large grant makers, the Bush Foundation reported $700-million in assets in 2010, with $25-million in grants awarded that year.
Jan Malcolm, chair of the board, will lead the foundation until a successor is named.
January 3, 2012, 11:03 am
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 foundation were marked by controversy.
He split with some board members and past foundation presidents over how much of the fund’s giving should focus on its home city of Kansas City, Mo.
Mr. Schramm wanted the fund to incubate entrepreneurship programs in Kansas City that could expand nationally; critics saw that approach as an abandonment of the Midwestern city and a misreading …
January 2, 2012, 6:00 am
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 nonprofit leaders, who include officials from groups like Friends of the Earth, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, and the National Council of La Raza, also said they wanted a president who would seek to use the fund’s money to alleviate racial inequality.
Hewlett’s next leader should also recognize the “limits of ‘strategic philanthropy,’ ” the nonprofit leaders said.