Talking with philanthropist Bill Clinton about the power of giving

Last week, the Clinton Foundation held its second CGI America conference in Denver. Led by former President Bill Clinton, the foundation is one of the most prominent in the world — and among the most controversial. In a wide array of direct initiatives, the Clinton Foundation brings together businesses, governments, nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, and…

Breaking up is hard to do; When grants come to an end

Some personal relationships last a lifetime. Many of them end, however, and people move on. The same is true in funding relationships. Donors and nonprofits must anticipate and prepare for the eventual end of most grants. Major gifts are the lifeblood of nonprofits — enabling them to pay overhead, hire workers and implement the programs…

Program–Related Investments a key tool for impact investors

Increasingly, charitable donors are interested in “impact investing” with their philanthropically committed capital. They seek more creative ways to align their investments with their missions. Earlier this year, in “All investing is impact investing,” I discussed the growing recognition that grants and investments can generate both financial returns and social impact. In this column, I…

All investing is impact investing

In the United States, nearly $1 trillion is committed to philanthropy — sitting in foundations, donor-advised funds and elsewhere. Donors have transferred ownership of these funds to separate entities and received their tax deductions. Yet only a small percentage of those funds is expended on charitable donations for the public good. The great majority of…

Strategic giving: 5 steps to get the most bang from your philanthropic buck

During the holiday season, our mailboxes are overflowing with catalogs, holiday cards — and requests for donations. Our voice message boxes are not much farther behind. At this time of year, when people are feeling particularly generous, nonprofits work hard to raise needed funds for the upcoming year. Although critically important to nonprofit budgets, most…

100 years of community foundations: Accomplishments and challenges

The first community foundation was created 100 years ago in Cleveland. Within five years, additional community foundations sprung up in Boston, Chicago, Buffalo, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. Today, there are more than 700 community foundations in urban and rural communities across the United States. With more than $50 billion in combined assets, they distribute an estimated…

Domestic microfinance helps people start businesses, alleviate poverty, and create jobs

In international microfinance, small loans are made to help people in developing countries lift themselves out of poverty. This concept also works domestically. In the U.S., nonprofit microfinance organizations help low-income people start businesses, create jobs, alleviate poverty and improve their opportunities. Traditional financial institutions were created to help people who already have money or…

Employee engagement builds better companies, stronger communities

Being fully “engaged” at work profoundly influences an employee’s willingness to learn and perform, and has real impact on a company’s bottom line. Engagement is defined as an employee’s positive or negative emotional attachment to a job, to colleagues and to an organization. Unfortunately, 71 percent of employees in the United States are either “not…