The giving pledge for the rest of us

Since its creation in 2010, the Giving Pledge has been signed by 154 billionaires — ages 30 to 100, from 16 different countries, with combined wealth of nearly $800 billion — a sum greater than the GDP of most countries. These individuals have generously promised to donate at least $400 billion of their money to…

Rethinking and revising the “Donor Bill of Rights”

In 1993, four respected organizations worked closely together to publish a list of 10 “rights” intended to establish a stronger relationship between philanthropists and their nonprofit beneficiaries. However, 23 years ago the world was vastly different – as was the world of philanthropy. Because of far-reaching changes that have taken place since then, the Donor…

In disheartening and divisive times, philanthropy can spark hope

Many Americans are disheartened by recent events and trends. Issues like terrorism, mass murders, global warming, police/citizen violence and death, drug addiction, infectious diseases, economic and social inequality — and more – are generating a tremendous sense of hopelessness. In addition, the strident partisanship and dysfunction of the current election cycle result in less civility…

Six years, six important lessons about philanthropy

Six years ago, I began working with individuals, families, foundations and businesses across the United States — helping them design, implement and evaluate a wide variety of ways to make philanthropy more impactful for themselves and their communities. I have been privileged to assist dozens of clients. Plus, I have written 72 columns on strategic…

Plan well to avoid random acts of giving

Well-off individuals and families recognize the need to plan for their future security and their legacies — and often go to great lengths to do so. Usually, they work closely with experts who make up three legs of the planning table and help them achieve sophisticated tax-, financial- and estate-planning goals. Tax experts advise about…

Creating a “safe zone” with family philanthropy

When it comes to communicating around money and values, many families face a significant challenge. Some families never talk about these issues. Others talk about them — but with difficulty. Family philanthropy can be an important and safe area in which to commence a family conversation about money and values — creating new and effective…

Corporate giving hits $17.8B in the U.S.

When it comes to corporate giving, the news is encouraging. More U.S. companies are engaging in smart and strategic community investment initiatives — and seeing positive results from their efforts. The 2015 Community Involvement Study conducted by Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship found that: Corporate community involvement contributes to key business goals — including…

Thanksgiving: Feast or “Famine?”

Soon, people across the United States will gather around the Thanksgiving table with family and friends to indulge in abundant, delicious food — and to give thanks for their many blessings and freedoms. Typically, we eat and drink to excess and enjoy leftovers that will last for days. Dinnertime conversation ranges from expressing gratitude for…