Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about foundations, nonprofits and their impact

Can journalism supported by a traditional foundation ask tough questions about what foundations are doing right–and doing wrong? Future Perfect intends to try. It’s off to a promising start. Launched this week by Vox, with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, Future Perfect plans to “carve out a space, away the regular news cycle, to …

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Ah, scale. Foundations, nonprofits, anti-poverty programs all pursue scale. Advice on how to scale abounds, in reports and articles like Getting to Scale, Strategies to Scale Up Social Programs and Three Things Every Growing Nonprofit Needs to Scale. But scale is not impact. Indeed, there’s often tension between the two. “If you have $1 million to spend, …

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Five years ago, a young foreign service officer named Daniel Handel arrived in Kigali, Rwanda, to begin a new assignment with USAID. Listening to NPR online, Handel heard a Planet Money story about the nonprofit GiveDirectly, called “The Charity That Just Gives People Money.” In the story, Paul Niehaus, a founder of GiveDirectly, which delivers …

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There’s not enough critical reporting about philanthropy.  It can feel churlish and even uncharitable to find fault with those who seek to serve others, particularly when they do so with a big heart and the best intentions. The trouble is, as the poet Robert Burns observed in To a Mouse: The best laid schemes o’ …

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The Open Philanthropy Project funds an array of causes that would seem, at first glance, to have little or nothing in common. OpenPhil, as it’s known, gave away about $240m last year, making major grants to nonprofits that seek to alleviate global poverty, reform the US criminal justice system, perform basic scientific research, improve the …

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Josh Ruxin had big plans when he moved to Rwanda in 2005. He was running an NGO that built and improved health clinics, and he launched a Millenium Village project, with support from Stephen Lewis, the Canadian politician and philanthropist. An Ivy-educated PhD, Ruxin had worked almost all his life in nonprofits and academia. Today, …

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Helping the world’s poorest people escape poverty is, in principle, a simple matter: Give them cash! The trouble is, there are too many of them: About 700 million people — more than twice as many people as live in the US — are thought to live on less than $1.90 a day, according to best estimates …

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