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….

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…

Impact investing gets IRS boost

Impact investing is one of the hottest topics in the philanthropic sector. It involves investments made with the intention of generating not just a financial return, but also a social or environmental impact — the double bottom line. Until just recently, some foundation directors with an interest in impact investing felt restrained by their fiduciary…

Finally busting the charity overhead myth

Over the past few years, philanthropic leaders have begun to successfully challenge the “overhead myth” — the belief that high administrative costs reflect a charitable organization that is poorly run and not worthy of support. The well-intentioned and generous family, corporate and foundation donors we regularly work with often recite versions of the overhead myth. They tell us,…

Philanthropy helps families avoid shirtsleeves-to-shirtsleeves challenge

When meeting with affluent family clients, advisers frequently invoke the warning: “shirtsleeves-to-shirtsleeves in three generations.” This popular quote strongly suggests that, without careful planning, a family’s wealth will be dissipated by the time it reaches the grandchildren of the wealthcreating generation. It is thought to derive from the old English proverb, “there’s nobbut three generations…

Five lessons in five years

Over the past five years, I have written 60 monthly “On Philanthropy” columns for Sunday’s Denver Post. These columns covered a broad range of topics related to individuals, families, businesses and foundations — and how they can approach their philanthropic initiatives with strategy, thoughtfulness and effectiveness. In my role as a philanthropic strategist, I’ve gained…

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…