This Thanksgiving, carve more than the turkey

Soon, many of us will gather around the Thanksgiving table with family and friends — to indulge in an abundance of delicious traditional foods and give thanks for abundant blessings and freedoms. The upcoming winter holidays are a wonderful and highly anticipated time to connect with loved ones and indulge in a certain amount of…

Higher education philanthropy, more like soccer or basketball?

Most people agree that higher education is worthy of philanthropic support. In 2016, nearly half of all donations from the largest 50 donors in the United States went to colleges and universities. That same year, U.S. colleges and universities accepted $41 billion in contributions. In early 2015, higher education endowments totaled more than $535 billion,…

Set a new table, create a “safe zone” for effective family philanthropy

Philanthropic strategists often work closely with families to help them establish, refine or refocus mutigenerational family foundations and donor-advised funds. Some of these families enjoy long histories of open communication across the generations – about money, values and charity. Many others, however, find these topics extremely difficult to broach. Multigenerational family philanthropy creates a unique…

Strategic philanthropy: Seven lessons in seven years

Seven years ago, I began working closely with families, businesses and foundations to help them achieve greater impact for themselves and their communities through philanthropy. Over that time, much has changed and I’ve gained practical experience and learned valuable lessons within this very special niche. The field of strategic philanthropy is more sophisticated and complex…

Women’s voices ring clear in world of philanthropy

As women in the Baby Boomer generation begin to retire, women in the Gen X and millennial generations are assuming well-deserved and hard-earned leadership positions in the business, government and nonprofit sectors. This transition is impacting philanthropy in significant ways. Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, and range in age from 71 to…

Changes to federal policies could drastically affect philanthropists, nonprofits

Ever since the United States was founded, charitable support of nonprofit organizations has been a fundamental part of its social fabric. Every day, nonprofits touch millions of Americans’ lives. They provide for essential human services, advocate for core democratic values and support people, animals, arts and the environment. Plus, nonprofits account for 11.4 million jobs…

Risk, philanthropy go hand-in-hand

Risk is the likelihood of an undesirable outcome. Every action includes an element of risk. Philanthropy is no exception to this rule. In fact, charitable donations — because they seek to solve seemingly intractable problems — are often referred to as society’s ultimate “risk capital.” Risk and return analyses are important considerations when making any…

Tax Form 990: A treasure trove of information for strategic philanthropy

To achieve their goals, philanthropic families and businesses seek to partner with nonprofits that can demonstrate operational sustainability and effectiveness over the long term. For those making this decision, IRS tax form 990 contains a treasure trove of available information. Many otherwise-savvy donors fail to take advantage of this useful tool. Each year, tax-exempt organizations…