Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about foundations, nonprofits and their impact

The onslaught began last week. “Mark your calendar for Giving Tuesday,” said the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “One week until #GivingTuesday,” said SHOFCO. Triple your gift! Double your impact! An estimated 35,000 nonprofits participate, according to New York’s 92nd St Y, which launched Giving Tuesday in 2012. Does #GivingTuesday do good? That’s …

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Many foundations try to solve specific problems. They seek to end homelessness, help veterans, protect oceans, or improve K-12 education. All worthy goals. But what if the programs aimed at solving those problems don’t work? Or cost too much? Or create unforeseen consequences? How can they be improved? Only a handful of foundations try to …

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Why is meat so cheap? McDonald’s sells a McDouble burger for less than $2. A rotisserie chicken costs $4.99 at Costco. Government policy comes into play. Farmers get low-cost water. Cows, pigs and chickens eat federally-subsidized corn. The USDA and the Small Business Administration guarantee loans to farmers, including owners of CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding …

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The Internet has made it easier than ever to identify the best books, movies,  songs, hotels, restaurants, mutual funds, even foreign-language tutors. To identify the best charities? That’s harder. The Raikes Foundation, which is the family foundation of Jeff Raikes and his wife, Tricia, wants to help, by enabling donors to do more good with their money. Last …

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Nonprofits often talk about inequality. Rarely do they talk about inequality in the nonprofit sector. But it’s a problem. Scale begets scale in the nonprofit world. Big nonprofits, with their brand names and hefty marketing budgets, grow faster than small ones, even when the smaller ones are demonstrably more effective. The rich get richer; the rest …

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The Humane League is on quite a roll. Last fall, THL, an advocacy group that aims to reduce animal suffering, pressured foodservice giant Aramark to agree to improve its treatment of broiler chickens, a important victory as the animal welfare movement turns its attention to the chickens we eat, along with egg-laying hens. The nonprofit Animal …

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  I’m enjoying a month-long break from writing and blogging (with the exception of this post) and spending much of that time reading books. The other day, I spent a couple of hours curled up with a book during the afternoon. What a treat! Looking back at 2016, I wish I’d spent more time reading words between …

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My wife Karen Schneider and I gave about six percent of our pretax income to charity in 2016. Most Americans give away about three percent of their adjusted gross income, according to the Urban Institute, but our earnings are higher, so we should give away more, in my view. The Life You Can Save, a …

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s often the only time each year–not counting graduations or weddings–when our entire family gets together; the rituals and menu have been firmly established. One of our traditions is to ask each person in turn to give thanks for the blessings in his or her life. This year, we will …

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We don’t have comprehensive ratings or rankings of the best nonprofits, and we probably never will. You can’t compare Harvard to Carnegie Hall to the DC Central Kitchen in a meaningful way. But, by using evidence, it is possible to identify nonprofits that have a positive impact at a reasonable cost. That’s what the Center …

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