July 12, 2014

Giving

Improbable Tales: Nonprofit Gives Back $10 Million Grant (and $10M Match)

Trojan horseWhen is a multimillion dollar grant not needed? When it locks you into a way of doing things that is either unsustainable or simply not ideal.

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Foundation Head Urges More Philanthropic Consistency in Approach to US Ed. System

AbstractIn a recent conversation with Philanthropy News Digest, the Spencer Foundation’s Michael McPherson elaborated on his view of the underlying importance of research in the field of education and the need for more communication among funders about what is and isn’t working.

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Chinese Philanthropist Who Reneged on NYC Homeless Gets Faked Himself

ChenRemember the Chinese philanthropist who threw the fancy luncheon for homeless New Yorkers and then left amidst confusion and charges of reneging on commitments to help? It seems that now he feels that he got scammed by a New York-based nonprofit himself. 

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Husock on Crony Corporate Philanthropy

RegThe Manhattan Institute’s Howard Husock and this newswire writer have crossed ideological swords at many times over the years and will likely to do so many times more in the future. But Husock’s column in Forbes criticizing “crony philanthropy” as practiced by corporate foundations resonates with us.

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Moneyball Philanthropy – Is the Work of the Nonprofit Sector Like Baseball?

MoneyballShould charitable contributions be tied to a metric system similar to the one often used to build baseball teams?  Are we moving from strategic philanthropy to “Moneyball Philanthropy”?

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Profile of an Unusual Major Donor

TreeThe Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut has just been made the beneficiary of an $8 million gift which will be used to protect animals and the environment. It is the largest gift the foundation has ever received by far and it came from a local man whose life style certainly did not reflect the wealth expected of a major donor. 

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A United Way Struggles and Shocks are Felt in the Community

ripplesThis United Way set a lower campaign goal this year because the community had not yet recovered its footing after the recession, but even that goal was not reached. What will this mean for local nonprofits?

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L.A. Mayor Garcetti Creates City Nonprofit for Public Projects

MGThe latest mayor to realize that nonprofit donations provide city government some extra flexibility in pursuing difficult-to-fund projects is Los Angeles’s Eric Garcetti. The challenge is to make sure the nonprofit doesn’t devolve into a venue for special interests to buy face time and favors from politicians.

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Chinese Philanthropist Reneges on Gifts for NYC Homeless

ChenThis story reads like a joke: a Chinese millionaire philanthropist shows up in New York City, holds a gourmet luncheon for homeless persons, promises them $300 checks, sings karaoke and does magic tricks, and then reneges on the money. It sounds criminal, but completely complicit was the New York Rescue Mission, which ferried homeless people to the luncheon and apparently got itself $90,000 from the “philanthropist.”

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Searching for Juneteenth: The State of Black Museums — Part II

AAThis is the second of a two-part series on how African-American museums in the U.S. are faring amidst the competition for foundation, charitable, and governmental resources. Part I was an overview of the issues and challenges facing black museums; this piece examines the sources of funding and the strategies that some museums are using to survive and thrive.

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Philanthropically Speaking, Who are the Donors to Organizing for Action?

OSIf it weren’t for the Center for Responsive Politics (Open Secrets), the public’s knowledge and understanding of the donations of wealthy people to political nonprofits of the left and right would be even skimpier than it is now. In this article, the Center dug into identities of donors to the Obama-related Organizing for Action, and we’ve added some details about some of the donors’ philanthropic interests.

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United Way’s Weird Toilet Paper Drive

tpWould you rather your local United Way ran a toilet paper drive or decided what the funding priorities are for your region? Just asking.

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Lessons in Strategic Philanthropy: How To Do Things With Humans

HumansAlbert Ruesga, the CEO of the New Orleans Community Foundation, never holds back in his blog, White Courtesy Telephone, when he believes that something in philanthropy or among nonprofits is awkwardly awry. Here, he weighs in on the strategic philanthropy debate in his own inimitable way.

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Big Donor Presses for Audit of Donations to Joplin’s Tornado Funds

JoplinBig corporate donors, individuals in the U.S. and around the world, and even Persian Gulf nations responded to the devastation wrought by tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri three years ago. Now, a politically connected donor wants an audit of how donations were used by the Joplin schools; he hints that something might have been amiss.

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Ethical Dilemmas and the Really Big Bucks

RuthBig grants are definitely getting bigger, what with all the billionaires running around—and the goals for capital campaigns are getting much bigger, too.

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Big Capital Campaigns – Do They Crowd Out Other Fundraising?

CrowdWhat, if any effect, do mega-sized capital campaigns in cities like Cleveland have on the local giving economy?

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The Wealth Gap and the Giving Recovery: Giving USA’s Latest Numbers

MoneyGiving USA’s 2014 report, which covers giving in 2013, shows that the giving recovery is progressing apace, but as with the larger economic recovery, where is all that money going?

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A Pay-What-You-Can Farmers’ Market—How It Works

MarketAt Go-Go Fresco in Charlotte, N.C., which provides a “pop-up” mobile farmers’ market, some people pay more so others can pay less, says Nick Knock, a founder of the market. He describes the effort as an attempt to address the problem of “food deserts.”

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Guardian Teams With Kickstarter to Amplify Journalism Crowdfunding

GuardianCrowdfunding platform Kickstarter is collaborating with UK news enterprise The Guardian to highlight and amplify independent journalism projects trying to get off the ground.

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A Town Cuts Senior Programs; A Community Foundation Steps In

PuzzleHenderson, Nevada is cutting back on funding for senior programs—and the pressure is on philanthropy to make up the difference.

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Is Strategic Philanthropy Yesterday’s News?

HighwayAnyone who deals with philanthropy understands that part of the price of admission to the coffers of some foundations is a willingness to deal with philanthropic fads that are absolute one day and obsolete the next. Sometimes the constructs change with top leadership and sometimes they just wear themselves and us out, and wither away. Here Bill Schambra takes on the recent article, “Strategic Philanthropy for a Complex World” as one example of this syndrome.

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Remembering Rural Philanthropy in an Urban-Focused Society

RuralRick Cohen is liveblogging his experiences at this year’s annual meeting of the Council on Foundations. Here, he gives his impressions on presentations by Chuck Fluharty of the Rural Policy Research Institute and USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development, Doug O’Brien regarding the state of rural America.

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Shady Sandy Charity’s Funds are Redistributed

SandyThe last of the money collected by the shady Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund has been redistributed. The couple running the operation ordered shut by the state walked away with a slap on the wrist.

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Nonprofits, Remember Tiananmen Square!

Tiananmen SquareTwenty-five years ago, one young men displayed unmatched courage by stopping four tanks rolling toward protesters in Tiananmen Square. Nonprofits should remember and honor the Tiananmen protests and bring that message to the dialogue between U.S. philanthropists and Chinese oligarchs.

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Asking for a Gift Personally

PhoneThe secret in asking someone for a contribution, even a friend, is remembering that it’s a conversation, not a presentation.

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Houston Symphony Crowdsources a Concert Program for Cash

MusicAs the Houston Symphony wraps up its hundredth season, it has offered its supporters the opportunity to attend—and help determine the program for—a Donor Appreciation Concert in August.

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Charity Gambling Rules Still in Play in Michigan

PokerA coalition of Michigan charities and businesses received a preliminary injunction to stop a set of regulations on charitable poker events the day before they were set to go into effect. Was it the right hand to be played at this time?

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Challenge Grants: A Mechanism for Double and Lasting Value

MoneySometimes it is worth acknowledging the tried-and-true mechanisms that work well in spreading philanthropy and gaining impact in its application. The humble challenge grant is one of our favorites!

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Hero Philanthropy a Dangerous Bet: Somaly Mam’s Story in Question

SMA Newsweek cover story examined the dramatic tale of sex slavery activist Somaly Mam and found it to be in some part untrue. What will happen to the foundation named for her, which she has now left, and when will philanthropy realize that cults of personality may not be serving it well?

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California Latest State to Move to Strengthen Charity Enforcement

CaliforniaFollowing on the heels of Florida and Colorado, California may be the latest state to move towards funding a regulatory environment sufficient to effectively respond to charity scams and other needs of nonprofits.

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