Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about foundations, nonprofits and their impact

Last night, the Chronicle of Philanthropy published a long story about the Silicon Valley Community Foundation that I wrote with help from Megan O’Neil, the news editor at the Chronicle. The headline: A Star Performer Created a ‘Toxic Culture’ at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Say Insiders An investigation is looking into reports of bullying, sexual …

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“We have crushed the Red Cross,” Brett Hagler has said, bluntly but not unkindly. He’s got a point. Hagler is the 26-year-old founder and CEO of New Story, a startup nonprofit that has built more than 150 homes for families in Haiti who previously lived in tent slums. If you listen to NPR or read …

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This month, a Silicon Valley startup called Frank that aims to serve nonprofit groups and their donors paid these expenses: $24,514 to nine people for product development and design, $3,124 to the VLP Law Group for patent work, $3,271 to Trinet for HR services, $99 to Dropbox, $54 to Google and $7 to Github. Its bank …

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Philanthropy is a “black box,” writes David Callahan, the founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy. “If you don’t think philanthropy is maddeningly opaque, it’s because you’re deep inside the sector.” He’s exaggerating, but not by much. Some foundations don’t disclose their donors. All are required by law to report on their grants, but many are …

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Last week, the Humane Society of the US announced a “reconciliation process” that is intended to heal its workplace. HSUS is inviting “anyone who may have experienced or witnessed sexual or other kinds of harassment, inappropriate workplace behaviors, a hostile work environment and/or retaliation” to share their experiences in confidential interviews with Kate Kimpel, a …

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Five years ago, a young foreign service officer named Daniel Handel arrived in Kigali, Rwanda, to begin a new assignment with USAID. Listening to NPR online, Handel heard a Planet Money story about the nonprofit GiveDirectly, called “The Charity That Just Gives People Money.” In the story, Paul Niehaus, a founder of GiveDirectly, which delivers …

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Well, that didn’t take long. Less than six months after stepping down as CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle is returning to the animal welfare movement, this time as a part of a political action committee called Animal Wellness Action. Pacelle left the Humane Society (HSUS) in February under a …

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The Open Philanthropy Project funds an array of causes that would seem, at first glance, to have little or nothing in common. OpenPhil, as it’s known, gave away about $240m last year, making major grants to nonprofits that seek to alleviate global poverty, reform the US criminal justice system, perform basic scientific research, improve the …

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Days after a workplace scandal with #metoo overtones led to the departure of Mari Ellen Loijens, the chief fundraiser at the fast-growing Silicon Valley Community Foundation, questions are swirling about Emmett Carson, the founding CEO of the SVCF. Carson has been trying hard to distance himself from the noxious behavior of Loijens, which was exposed …

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Rules, they say, are made to be broken. This is not necessary when it comes to the rules designed to promote transparency in foundations. They’re so ineffectual that there’s no need to break them. Wealthy donors can and do hide charitable giving for which they claim tax deductions, the investments they hold in tax-advantaged accounts …

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