Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about foundations, nonprofits and their impact

“Universities,” says Harvard, “have a special role and special responsibility to confront the global challenges of climate change and sustainability.” Indeed they do. But by financing the exploration and production of fossil fuels, Harvard is failing to live up to that responsibility. In an effort to hold the university accountable, a group of prominent alumni, led by former …

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Eighteen months ago, the people who manage the endowment at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation got some bad news: Investments they had made in funds managed by EnerVest, a Houston-based private equity firm that operates more than 33,000 oil and gas wells across the US, had plummeted in value to almost nothing. …

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Culture trumps strategy, it’s often said in business. At companies and nonprofits alike, culture can be defined as “the way we do things around here.” It’s tough to change culture. Culture helps explain the way that most foundations invest their endowments. The way they do things — the way they’ve always done things — is …

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We’re gradually learning more about the investment performance of foundation endowments. The news is not good. The Chronicle of Philanthropy yesterday published my story about foundation endowments. [Paywall] The peg was the Ford Foundation’s decision to publish the investment returns of its $12.1bn endowment for the first time in several years. Ford has done well–its endowment …

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Central Carolina Community Foundation is in most ways a typical community foundation: Based in Columbia, SC, it supports social service organizations, colleges, churches and arts groups in the midlands of South Carolina. In one important way, though, Central Carolina foundation stands apart: It invests most of its investable assets, which are worth about $94m, in low-cost …

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America’s foundations spend many millions of dollars every year on investment advice. What do they get in return? Bubkes.* You read that right: Money that could be spent on charitable programs — to alleviate global poverty, help cure disease, improve education, support research or promote the arts —instead flows into the pockets of well-to-do investment advisors and asset …

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A few things you might not know about Detroit: So many people are moving into the downtown and midtown areas that worries have arisen about displacing the poor. When the Detroit Pistons and the Detroit Red Wings move into the new $700m Little Caesars sports complex next fall, Detroit will be the only city in …

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