Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about nonprofit organizations and their impact

Of the countless well-meaning efforts to help the world’s poor, only sixteen are currently endorsed by GiveWell, a meta-charity that rigorously investigates nonprofits. Three of those are run by a little-known nonprofit called Evidence Action. This is no accident. While GiveWell evaluates programs and Evidence Action operates them, their values are aligned: Both seek to …

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Two new books kept me busy last week: Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World, by Paul Shapiro, and Clean Protein: The Revolution that will Reshape Your Body, Boost Your Energy–and Save Our Planet, by Kathy Freston and Bruce Friedrich. Is a revolution coming to dinner? Well, maybe. These …

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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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Carbon offsets have delivered many millions of dollars to finance cookstoves, for better or worse–probably, alas, for worse. Since the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves was formed in 2010, so-called clean cookstoves distributed to poor people in the global south have been paid for, in part, with carbon offsets purchased by companies, western governments and …

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Thousands of words, including many on this blog,  have been written about the so-called clean cookstove sector. But the fundamental problem with cookstoves has been captured in a single sentence by Kevin Starr of the Mulago Foundation. “The cheap stoves aren’t good enough,” Starr says, “and the good stoves are way too expensive.” Yep. Cheap …

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Uganda has about 30 psychiatrists. New York City and its suburbs have about 41,000. So depression in Uganda can’t be treated the way it is in New York. Turns out, that may be a good thing. StrongMinds, a fledgling nonprofit founded in 2013, organizes self-help groups to treat depression among poor women in Uganda. Its …

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It’s strange, when you think about it. Most things have a price. A big box of Cheerios costs $3.98. A 1 lb. bag of Starbucks Breakfast Blend costs $12.95. An iPhone 7 costs $649. But when we donate to charities, what are we buying? And at what cost? That’s more difficult — indeed, it’s often …

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