Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about nonprofit organizations and their impact

ABOUT NONPROFIT CHRONICLES

Nonprofit organizations do vital work. They aim to alleviate poverty, save the environment, cure disease, promote social justice and protect human rights.

In the US, the nonprofit sector accounts for about $2 trillion in economy activity and employs nearly 10 percent of the workforce. There are about 1.1 million nonprofits in the US, and another 80,000 foundations.

How are nonprofits performing? What about foundations? That’s hard to say. And that’s what this blog is about.

In a modest way, Nonprofit Chronicles will try to remedy that, by reporting on the effectiveness of foundations and nonprofits, spotlighting leaders and prodding laggards—much as Fortune or the Wall Street Journal do with business. 

This blog began in March 2015. Two and one-half years and more than 140 posts later, I’ve decided to focus Nonprofit Chronicles mostly, but not exclusively, on foundations. They have the money and the influence to drive effectiveness through the nonprofit sector. They are also among the least accountable institutions in the US, so they need more scrutiny. Some foundations do great work, while others are mediocre. Wouldn’t it be good to know which is which? I plan to write about foundations’ grant-making, investments, leadership and, to whatever degree possible, their impact–all with the goal of creating incentives for them to do good better.

Other topics that I intend to cover on the blog:

1. The community of people who want to improve the performance of the nonprofit sector.  These are the people who do important work at established organizations including Charity NavigatorGuidestar, the Center for Effective Philanthropy and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, as well as at newer groups such as GiveWellFeedback LabsThe Fund for Shared InsightThe Life You Can Save, the Center for High Impact Philanthropy,  and Giving Compass. I’ve been influenced by effective altruists everywhere, particularly Peter Singer and Will McAskill (who coined the phrase Doing Good Better). Their work deserves more attention and support.

2. Nonprofits that serve the extreme poor. The needs are greatest and philanthropic dollars go furthest in the global south.

3. Animal welfare. Animals raised for food suffer, needlessly.

Nonprofit Chronicles is written by Marc Gunther, a veteran journalist based in Bethesda, Md. His writing about business and sustainability can be found at marcgunther.com.

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