Monthly Archives: April 2012


Why New Foundation Leaders Need to Understand an Organization’s Culture

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 …


How Philanthropy Can Help During Crises

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 C…


Giving-Pledge Members Now Number 81

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 he…


Bloomberg’s Giving to Johns Hopkins U. Tops $800-Million

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 mor…


Soros Philanthropy: the Next Generation

Alexander Soros has started a fund to support social justice and human rights.

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 c…


MacArthur Opens the Door to Donations by Outsiders

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…


Grant Makers Emphasize Diversity

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…


A March Madness Pool Benefits Charities

The winners of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament will cut down the nets in New Orleans on Monday night. And at least one nonprofit will also have plenty of reason to celebrate.

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…