Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about foundations, nonprofits and their impact

Today, my story in the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports on a complaint filed by the attorney general of CA against ZeroDivide, its former CEO Tessie Guillermo and other officers and directors of the defunct and disgraced foundation. San Francisco-based ZeroDivide collapsed abruptly in 2016, leaving unpaid debts, unanswered questions, and a trail of hurt behind. …

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Sometimes I chase stories. Other times, stories chase me. In the case of a Bethesda, MD-based animal welfare charity called Alley Cat Allies, it’s definitely the latter. I came across Alley Cat Allies in 2018 when I reported on its problems for The Chronicle of Philanthropy. A lawyer for the charity responded with an idiotic …

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Giving Tuesday is, in theory, a lovely idea. Heck, if the people of this great nation want to celebrate Black Friday and Cyber Monday by spending money they don’t have on stuff they don’t need, why not set aside a day for what’s been called “an opportunity for people around the world to come together through …

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Last year, staff members who worked in “corporate security” at eBay set out to harass a husband-and-wife team who publish a newsletter that criticized the company. Things got ugly in a hurry. The security staff sent them boxes of live cockroaches, a bloody Halloween mask, a funeral wreath and a book on how to survive …

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Martha’s Table, a widely-respected charity in Washington, D.C., provides healthy food to families and operates preschool and after-school programs for kids. It serves all comers, but many, if not most, are Black people. After all, more than 60% of Washington, D.C.’s poor people are Black people. Yet a new report from the National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) does not consider …

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Welcome to the so-called giving season. If you have given to charity, you will soon be inundated with letters and email imploring you to do so again. Giving Tuesday approaches! Gifts will be matched! Bad charities will claim to be good! Giving is good, but don’t make any impulsive decisions. Instead, consider the work of the philosopher Peter Singer and in …

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To a casual observer, Alley Cat Allies would seem to be a model charity. A Bethesda, MD-based nonprofit that calls itself “the global engine of change for cats,” Alley Cat Allies has been given a coveted Platinum seal by GuideStar, which has the “the most complete, up-to-date nonprofit data available.” For its part, Charity Navigator has bestowed a four-star rating on …

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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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The giving season is almost upon us, and so millions of Americans soon will turn to Charity Navigator or GuideStar for help in vetting nonprofits. Unfortunately, neither is entirely up to the job. 
 That once again became clear to me when I began looking into a charity called Alley Cat Allies that, by coincidence, …

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