Monthly Archives: April 2012
April 30, 2012, 11:15 am
Solving society’s problems isn’t always the biggest issue new foundation leaders face. In some cases, it’s changing a foundation’s culture so it can tackle the challenge ahead, said speakers gathered at the Council on Foundations annual conference Sunday in Los Angeles.
As one veteran told Kevin Walker to recognize when he took over as head of the Northwest Area Foundation, no matter how smart a new strategy a foundation chief wants to put in place, he or she must realize “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
Sandra Hernández, chief executive of the San Francisco Foundation, said the best way to get to know an organization’s culture is to listen to employees. Walk around the organization and talk to people. Eat in the kitchen once in a while, she suggests, and get to work understanding the ways a new chief executive’s lack of knowledge could harm the organization.
For Ms. Hern…
April 30, 2012, 9:33 am
As the nation marks the 20th anniversary of the riots that engulfed Los Angeles, grant makers say the biggest lesson the tragedy taught them about responding to catastrophe is that collaboration with governments, businesses, and other nonprofits matters more than anything else.
As 1,300 grant makers gathered in the city to start their annual meeting Sunday, they examined what foundations can do better as cities erupt in crises such natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina inflicted on the Gulf Coast or the damage the recession wracked on Detroit, or the racial tensions that inflamed this city.
In Los Angeles, one reason the city has grown stronger since the riots, said Manuel Pastor, a professor at University of Southern California, is that much of the Los Angeles philanthropy world joined together with local government, neighborhood, and business leaders to find ways to help…
April 19, 2012, 5:29 pm
The Giving Pledge crowd continues to grow. Twelve families committed today to give away at least half their wealth, bringing the total number of pledge members to 81.
The Giving Pledge is a campaign by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates to spur philanthropy by very wealthy people. Members who sign the pledge agree to donate at least half their fortunes during their lifetimes or on their deaths.
New recruits unveiled today include:
* William and Karen Ackman, who made their fortune from hedge funds.
* Arthur M. Blank, of Home Depot
* Edgar M. Bronfman, former chief executive of the Seagram Company.
* The financier Glenn Dubin and his wife, Eva.
* Billy Joe “Red” McCombs, the businessman, and his wife, Charline.
* Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman, whose wealth stems from venture capital.
* Elon Musk, a co-founder of PayPal
* John Sall, a co-founder…
April 12, 2012, 10:16 am
The Johns Hopkins University sure got lucky with one of its admission decisions for the class of 1964. That was the year Michael Bloomberg graduated from the institution—and his gifts to his alma mater have totaled more than $800-million to date.
Johns Hopkins tallied Mr. Bloomberg’s total giving in advance of an event Thursday to unveil a new children’s hospital center, to which the New York mayor contributed $120-million. Mr. Bloomberg’s first gift came in 1965; it was for $5.
He has given more to Johns Hopkins than to any other institution. Last year, Mr. Bloomberg, who made his fortune through a financial-data and media business, ranked fifth on The Chronicle’s list of generous donors.
Because many donors give anonymously, it’s impossible to say if Mr. Bloomberg’s giving makes him the biggest benefactor to a single university, but according to Chronicle figures, he…
April 5, 2012, 4:21 pm
Alexander Soros, a son of the billionaire philanthropist George Soros, announced today that he is establishing his own foundation to support organizations that promote social justice and human rights.
The Alexander Soros Foundation will focus on innovative organizations around the world. He would not disclose how much money he has put into the philanthropy.
“Philanthropy is not the answer to every problem, but it can be a catalyst for change,” said Alexander Soros, in a written statement announcing his fund’s creation. He started the foundation, he added, to finance “more experimental and perhaps controversial projects that larger mainstream foundations might not be able to take on.”
Alexander Soros, 26, …
April 5, 2012, 4:11 pm
Want to make a gift to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation? Now you can: The $5.5-billion philanthropy unveiled a new policy this week that enables the fund to accept donations from the public.
But don’t expect to receive any direct mail from MacArthur asking for money to help underwrite public radio or support its illustrious “genius” awards program. Joshua Mintz, the foundation’s general counsel, said in a statement that MacArthur will continue to encourage people to instead give directly to its grantees and will accept gifts only in “limited circumstances if a suitable grantee is not identified and the donor believes MacArthur has the expertise to use the funds wisely.”
“Under this policy, we do not actively fundraise. Instead, our focus remains firmly on supporting our grantees but providing flexibility in cases where a donor prefers that we accept funds,” he…
April 3, 2012, 12:25 pm
Foundations don’t base their grants decisions on the diversity of the grantee, said a panel of experts at the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ annual meeting in Vancouver—but a growing number are seeking to ensure that their own staffing and operations are multicultural and trying to figure out other steps to better serve all parts of society.
While diversity is important, grant makers say it is hard to measure what it means when reviewing a nonprofit’s work, said Kelly Brown, director of the D5 Coalition, a project designed to help foundations become more inclusive.
“We really need to build capacity among the philanthropic field to know this information,” she said.
Dawn Chirwa, chief of staff of U.S. programs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said the philanthropy hopes to make diversity a part of grantee evaluations.
Faye Wightman, president of the…
April 2, 2012, 11:05 am
For a third year, the One Percent Foundation, an organization devoted to fostering philanthropy among young people, is hosting its Grant Madness basketball pool. People who do the best in choosing the winners of March Madness games are declared the winners, just like in any pool, except they have to give their money to a charity of their choice.
“We have to be able to make philanthropy really fun and really low barrier, and everyone does March Madness pools anyway, so why not do one for social good?” says Lana Volftsun, the organization’s executive director.
So far, 379 people have joined the pool, donating a total of $6,786. A matching $5,000 grant from the company MerchSource puts the total pot at…