Monthly Archives: February 2012
February 23, 2012, 6:05 pm
Grass-roots environmental nonprofits are too often ignored by foundations, says a new report by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.
Foundations give half of the dollars they spend on the environment to national organizations with budgets of $5-million or more, but those charities make up only 2 percent of the environmental groups in the United States, according to the watchdog.
Only 15 percent of environmental grant making helps poor communities, the study found. A smaller share—11 percent—supports grass-roots advocacy and organizing.
The report recommends that foundations contribute 20 percent of their environmental giving to groups working with poor communities and 25 percent to advocacy and organizing.
The report is part of a series analyzing what share of foundation giving supports grass-roots groups, advocacy efforts, and low-income communities….
February 22, 2012, 12:01 am
Two relative newcomers to private philanthropy—the Arcus and Gill foundations, which were started in 2000 and 1994, respectively—have given more money to gay causes than any other grant maker, according to a new report by Funders for LGBTQ issues.
Over all, 799 grant makers have contributed more than $771-million to lesbian and gay issues since 1970, the report says. The money has gone to 6,000 charities working in 117 countries.
The report both analyzes and tells the story of grant making to the gay-rights movement since its early days. According to the report, the first foundation grant to a gay-rights group was made in 1970, the same year that The New York Times published its first major article on the cause, entitled, “The ‘Gay’ People Want Their Rights.”
Arcus has given more than $77-million to gay causes, while Gill has contributed $66-million. Both foundations were…
February 16, 2012, 4:42 pm
The federal government should scrutinize claims banks make about their charitable giving before approving their requests to merge, a watchdog group said in a new report today.
Banks often tout the possibility of bigger philanthropy budgets and greater charitable impact when they seek to merge, said the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. But the watchdog, a left-leaning organization in Washington, says those promises may not pan out.
“A bank should not be allowed to make exaggerated claims about its past philanthropy and hazy promises about future largesse to obtain approval of a proposed merger,” Aaron Dorfman, the committee’s executive director, said in a statement.
Mr. Dorfman’s group released guidelines to help government officials evaluate the philanthropy of financial institutions. The criteria discuss ways to assess how much information banks share about their…
February 16, 2012, 10:01 am
The Occupy Wall Street protesters who staked out spots this fall in New York’s Zuccotti Park and Washington’s McPherson Square have succeeded in drawing attention to income inequality—a gap that many foundation and nonprofit leaders have sought to close for decades.
Now philanthropy is starting to grapple with whether, and how, it might strengthen the Occupy movement.
Foundation officials have organized an informal effort, Occupy Philanthropy, to share ideas on how philanthropy might support the protests and other advocacy for economic justice.
On Monday, organizers of the effort began circulating a statement, “Why We Must Support the Occupy Efforts.” “We in the philanthropic community cannot let this moment pass,” says the statement, which had 45 signatures as of Thursday morning. “We have for so long wanted this kind of mass mobilization for justice.”
One of the…
February 16, 2012, 12:01 am
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today the winners of its annual award for “creative and effective institutions,” a counterpart to the fund’s “genius” prize for individuals.
Fifteen nonprofits received grants ranging from $350,000 to $2.5-million.
The winners—nine from the United States and six from other countries—included organizations dedicated to analyzing Russian politics, pursuing investigative journalism, and supporting laws worldwide that enable civil-society groups to thrive.
As with the “genius” awards, the foundation does not seek or accept nominations. To qualify, groups must have received a previous grant from MacArthur.
Recipients must spend the money on ensuring the…