Pressure builds to increase giving requirements and expand charitable deductions

Over $1.1 trillion currently sits in private foundations and donor-advised funds (DAFs) in the U.S. These two charitable intermediary tools have grown tremendously in recent years, fueled by tax-deductible contributions for the wealthiest of Americans.  By 2019, 12.7% of all individual giving went to DAFs and an additional 15.1% went to private foundations – an…

The case for corporate social purpose and community investment

The need for businesses to focus on corporate social responsibility has never been more urgent, and the case for doing so has never been stronger. The quadruple whammy of the COVID 19 pandemic, expanding income inequality, the racial justice movement, and climate change are driving corporations, large and small, across the U.S. and abroad, to…

Pandemic Puts Nonprofits in Peril: What Donors Can Do

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a crushing impact on the nonprofit sector that employs about 14% of the U.S. workforce, nearly half of which works for nonprofit hospitals and universities. The remaining half, working mostly for smaller and under- or un-endowed entities, has been severely impacted.  In December 2020, the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil…

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…