Potbellied Pig Rescue and Hate Groups: Charities Aiding the “Public Good?”

The charity “deal” in the U.S. goes something like this:  Nonprofit organizations are established and approved because they perform a service that is thought to be good for society, often relieving government from performing those same functions.  In return for their contribution to the “public good,” they are deemed tax-exempt organizations, which means they usually…

Philanthropy predictions for 2021

2020 is a year most of us are happy to leave behind. Amid the many disheartening challenges we endured, there were also some positive developments in the philanthropy field that will impact giving in 2021 and beyond. Here’s some of what I’ll be looking for in this New Year: From charity to justice 2020’s racial…

Don’t Stand by this Holiday Season

We’re living (and dying) in a “quadfecta” of 1) A raging, unprecedented pandemic, 2) Economic inequality and hardship at the highest levels in memory, 3) Racial injustice permeating almost every aspect of American life and 4) Climate change eating away at our planet, and the lives it sustains. Although we’re all experiencing the same storm,…

Erasing hunger in America requires more than charity

The holidays are around the corner and, for tens of millions of our neighbors across the U.S., this will be a time of scarcity, insecurity, worry and, in the richest nation on earth, hunger. Consider these facts: Prior to COVID-19, 37 million people in the U.S. struggled with hunger. Feeding America, the nation’s third largest…

How donors can advance racial justice

George Floyd…Breonna Taylor…Daniel Prude…Jacob Blake. The long road to racial justice in this country has been rocky and painful.  It started long before these four people became household names and will, tragically, go well beyond their injuries and deaths. In response to these tragedies, many donors – whether in private or public foundations, donor-advised funds,…

Lack of accountability and transparency put philanthropy at an inflection point

Right now, the very way philanthropy works in the U.S. is being critically examined by a growing chorus of experts and scholars who are challenging some of the basic assumptions that underlie giving. The tax code, lack of accountability and transparency, scant government oversight, the outsized opportunity to influence public policy, media adulation of megadonors…

Philanthropy can spark hope and change

Discouragement, despair and anger are understandable and common responses to the current experiences of systemic racial injustice and bigotry, an advancing global pandemic and an economic train wreck. Philanthropy, however, can offer a path forward. Philanthropy is inherently optimistic, reflecting the core belief that we can repair the world and have a positive impact on…

Questions to ask about a nonprofit’s climate impact

I was in high school when America observed the first Earth Day in April, 1970. To highlight the day, I wore an M-17 military gas mask in the hallways between classes, until I was assaulted by a teacher, slammed against the lockers and dragged by my collar to the principal’s office. We argued about first…

Giving in the time of COVID-19

The role of philanthropy in responding to this pandemic is critical. Nonprofit organizations, accounting for nearly one in ten jobs in the U.S. private workforce, with more than 12 million total employees, are in crisis. For many nonprofits, especially those that provide safety net services, demand has never been higher, and is only expected to…

Funding in short supply for charities focused on women and girls

Charitable support for organizations that serve women and girls is surprisingly deficient when compared with philanthropic giving as a whole. The Women & Girls Index, which measured giving to more than 45,000 U.S. organizations dedicated to women and girls, found that only 1.6 percent of all philanthropic support went to these causes – about $6.3…