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…

Money and mission were never meant to be apart

As the world’s problems become more complex and urgent, traditional models of philanthropic support are not keeping pace. This lag can be blamed in part on the fact that regulations require foundations to donate only 5 percent of their assets. Typically, the remaining 95 percent is invested for growth. Some philanthropic thought leaders are addressing…

Six trends that will set the pace for philanthropy in 2016

With record levels of giving, new approaches to marshaling philanthropic assets for impact, and better approaches to philanthropic strategy, 2015 was a great year for philanthropy. This trend will continue in 2016. Increasingly, leaders in businesses, foundations and families understand that philanthropy is more than the merely transactional act of writing checks to favorite nonprofits….