Philanthropy

How funders can help overcome the Overhead Myth
“Among the many myths that pervade the nonprofit sector, the Overhead Myth is perhaps the most destructive,” Nell Edgington says. “It is the erroneous idea that nonprofits must keep their fundraising and administrative costs cripplingly low, which leads to anemic...  more
Ed Scott, Silicon Valley’s most effective giver
Ed Scott is not as well-known for his philanthropy as the high-profile residents of Silicon Valley like Mark Zuckerberg and eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar, but his activities are notably wide-ranging. He has a special interest in Africa but also founded the Scott...  more
To get on the same page as grantees, funders must play the same game
Foundations and the organizations they fund have the same goal, at least on the surface: alleviate suffering and foster change. And though they want to be parthers, they take vastly different approaches on the way to that goal. As one observer put it, nonprofits are...  more
How donors can spread ideas to help kids
Education receives a great deal of attention and money, yet preparing children for their first years in school is shockingly underfunded. Consider that as many as 25 percent of children from low-income families are not ready for kindergarten, as J.B. Pritzker and his...  more
Wall Street philanthropy: The 6 do’s and don’ts from the trading floor
“Wall Street is having an ever-growing influence on philanthropy,” Chris Addy says. “A 2015 research paper titled ‘The Wall Street Takeover of Nonprofit Boards’ found that the percentage of nonprofit board members who come from finance has doubled since 1989.” Addy,...  more
How to give away $1 billion
It only seems like being a philanthropist should be easy. To be a truly effective philanthropist is challenging. Decisions confront would-be donors at every turn, and answers are difficult to find. Moreover, a new generation is trying to find its own way through the...  more
Never lose sight of these bedrock fundraising truths
Nonprofit board members who are new to fundraising may find the assignment daunting, as most people likely would. Even veterans could pick up a pointer or two from fundraising consultant and author Kay Sprinkel Grace. In this blog post for GuideStar, Grace chooses...  more
Knowledge Services for smarter philanthropy
For family foundations that may operate with limited resources it would be beneficial to have access to information about how other foundations have solved problems, what issues they have worked on, and what they are working on now. The good news is that just such a...  more
Classical music philanthropy
The dire state of the classical music recording industry is well known. CD sales are dropping every year and the major labels take on few new artists. Even so, performing organizations and individual musicians continue to prepare new works, rehearse and perform them,...  more
Billionaire Whisperer Teaches Donors to Expand Philanthropy Beyond Checks
Dog whisperers and horse whisperers tame animals but “billionaire whisperer” Jennifer McCrea has a rather different specialty. McCrea, whose appellation comes from Bloomberg writer Anthony Effinger, specializes in imparting best philanthropic practices to the top...  more
New Tax Law, Said to Squelch Giving, Could Actually Boost It
Nervousness in nonprofit circles was widespread after the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) of 2012 took effect at the beginning of the year. ATRA brought back the Pease limitation on itemized deductions for high-income taxpayers, and it was feared that charitable...  more
Charitable Giving Linked to Higher Stocks, Not Lower Taxes
In response to those who warned that higher taxes would mean a decline in charitable giving, U.S. Trust managing director Ramsay Slugg says “People give because they’re charitable first.” There are other factors that influence giving, but Slugg cites a Bank of...  more
Evaluating Social Innovation
“The front edge of the philanthropic sector has spent the last decade experimenting with innovative grantmaking in the hopes of triggering significant and sustainable change. But the sector’s approach to evaluation is not keeping pace with these innovations,” Hallie...  more
Better Outcomes, Lower Costs: How Community-Based Funders Can Transform U.S. Health Care
“Despite the cost and complexity of the U.S. health care system, a new report by FSG and Grantmakers in Health outlines how community-based funders can have a transformative effect on lowering health care costs and improving patient outcomes in their local regions,”...  more
Current State of Family Philanthropy
Charitable giving remains “a central part of the American fabric,” Janet Atkins states in this issue of Silver Bridge Insights, and family foundations are “an important source of grant funding, providing approximately 48 percent of all grants by independent, community...  more
Catalytic Philanthropy in India
Philanthropy in India is relatively new, but attention has been focused on it as prominent business leaders have made large pledges. Impact has not received as much attention, and so FSG and the Center for Emerging Market Studies (CEMS) at the Indian School of Business...  more
Needle-Moving Community Collaboratives: A Promising Approach to America’s Biggest Challenges
“Communities face powerful challenges—a high-school dropout epidemic, youth unemployment, teen pregnancy—that require powerful solutions,” the executive summary to Needle-Moving Community Collaboratives says. “In a climate of increasingly constrained resources, those...  more
Assessment of Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s Neighborhood Builders Program
Foundations and other funders are rightly concerned about the effectiveness of their grants, since measuring that effectiveness presents many challenges. In this executive summary of a report assessing the Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s Neighborhood Builders...  more
The Donor-Grantee Trap
“Scarce resources (both money and time) are routinely wasted in the critical linkage between donor and grantee,” Thomas Tierney and Richard Steele write in this white paper from The Bridgespan Group. “As a consequence, our communities—the causes and constituents we...  more
Catalyzing Networks for Social Change: A Funder’s Guide
“Funders know they need big platforms with diverse players to tackle the complexity of 21st-century problems,” Diana Scearce writes in the introduction to Catalyzing Networks for Social Change, a white paper from Monitor Institute. In other words, funders need to...  more
Practical Advice for Impact Investors
Practical Advice for Impact Investors is for “philanthropists and investors wishing to increase their understanding of impact investing,” the Institute for Philanthropy writes in the introduction to this guide. “It is the product of a seminar held by the Institute for...  more
Affordable Interventions to Prevent Noncommunicable Diseases Worldwide
“Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and mental illnesses are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide,” Amanda Glassman and Kate McQueston write in this white paper from the Center for...  more
Small But Tough: Nonprofits in Rural America
“Poverty is more common in rural areas of the United States than it is in urban areas. Yet the nonprofit sector, a key force in the fight against poverty, is three times smaller in the rural U.S. on a per capita basis than it is in urban areas,” Alex Neuhoff and...  more
Growing Network Impact: How Nonprofit Networks are Raising the Bar on Results
“For decades, the primary pressure facing nonprofit networks was to build a bigger footprint—be in more places, serve more people,” Mandy Taft-Pearman and Alan Tuck write in the introduction to this study from the Bridgespan Group. “Now that pressure is being equaled...  more
Finding Your Funding Model: A Practical Approach to Nonprofit Sustainability
“Developing a funding strategy that leads to financial sustainability is central to any nonprofit’s ability to increase its impact,” Peter Kim, Gail Perreault, and William Foster write in the introduction to this guide from The Bridgespan Group. ”Finding Your Funding...  more