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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Most PTAs hold bake sales and car washes to help out their local schools. But in some well-to-do communities, PTAs have turned themselves  into “local education foundations,” the biggest of which raise millions of dollars a year. Stanford professor Rob Reich learned about these super-sized PTAs when his son went off to kindergarten in Hillsborough, …

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My wife Karen Schneider and I gave about eight percent of our pretax income to charity in 2018. The Life You Can Save, a nonprofit inspired by the moral philosopher Peter Singer, has a calculator that recommends the percentage of your income that you should give. I’m writing about our giving because (1) I’m a believer …

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What’s going on at Alley Cat Allies? And why aren’t the so-called charity watchdogs paying attention? Alley Cat Allies is a $10-million charity that calls itself the “global engine of change for cats.” It’s got issues–poor governance practices, a board that failed to meet for nearly a year and a disgruntled workforce with high turnover, …

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Who could object to efforts to bring clean, renewable energy to people without electricity? Donors and investors love social enterprises (D.Light, Greenlight Planet, BrightLife) and nonprofits (SolarAid, GivePower) that bring solar panels, lights or phone chargers to poor households in Africa and south Asia. Why, even President Obama, on a visit to Tanzania, played with …

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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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