Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about nonprofit organizations and their impact

True to its name, Unorthodox Philanthropy got started with an out-of-the-ordinary proposition. In 2010, on a crowdsourcing website called Innocentive, the funder announced that it was seeking “novel, unorthodox opportunities for philanthropic investment with the potential to generate extraordinary returns to society.” It promised a prize of at least $10,000 to the best idea. Nearly …

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This is likely a product of confirmation bias, but I’m often reminded of how little we know about stuff that matters.  Friends with health issues visit doctors who don’t know what to do. (Maybe they should do nothing. As Atul Gawande, wrote in The New Yorker in 2015: “An avalanche of unnecessary medical care is …

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Pessimism is fashionable. It’s also wrong. People are safer, better-educated, better-fed, and wealthier than they used to be. Democracy and human rights are spreading. Perhaps most important, people, and in particular the world’s poorest people, are healthier. As Bill Gates writes in the forward to Millions Saved: New Cases of Proven Success in Global Health, …

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How much good does a charity do? And at what cost? These are questions that many–perhaps most–nonprofits simply can’t answer. Trickle Up, a small New York-based NGO that helps some of the world’s poorest people lift themselves out of poverty, has answers. In FY2014, Trickle Up delivered a high quality program, known as the “graduation” …

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What do the world’s poorest people want? Clean cookstoves? New shoes? Fresh water?  A toilet? Eyeglasses? Nicholas Kristof recommends, among other things, a flock of ducks. What about a solar lantern, a baby blanket, a bicycle, or a camel? No one said gift giving is easy. Of course, I have no idea what poor people want. (It’s hard enough …

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As a girl growing up in Reno, Nevada, Sue Desmond wasn’t satisfied with an A. “I wanted an A-plus,” she says. She also wanted to make a contribution. Watching her father, a drugstore owner, display kindness towards customers left a strong impression. As a young doctor, she and her husband, Nicholas Hellmann, moved to Uganda …

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Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna today said they will donate $25 million to GiveDirectly, a nonprofit that makes direct cash transfers to extremely poor people in Kenya and Uganda. It’s the largest gift to date to GiveDirectly, the largest ever shaped by the ideas of Effective Altruism and the largest so …

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