Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about nonprofit organizations and their impact

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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The Rockefeller Brothers Fund has left its mark on America.  Founded in 1940 by five sons of John D. Rockefeller Jr.–John 3rd, Nelson, Laurance, Winthrop, and David–it has been a major supporter of New York’s Riverside Church (where the family worshipped), the Museum of Modern Art (which their mother co-founded), Colonial Williamsburg (where JDR 3rd and Winthrop chaired …

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To alleviate poverty in the global south, the New York-based Acumen Fund has for the last 15 years invested in businesses that serve the bottom of the pyramid, like solar-light manufacturer d.light and Burn, which makes and sells cookstoves in East Africa. Now, unexpectedly, Acumen is coming home. Acumen has just launched a fund to …

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“Inequality is the fight of the moment for philanthropy,” writes Philip Henderson, the president of the Surdna Foundation, in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. I’m not sure why foundations want to fight inequality. I’d prefer that they fight poverty, or work on behalf of social mobility or social justice or economic opportunity, but that’s a conversation for another day. …

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In the world of philanthropy, the divestment movement is known as Divest-Invest. “Divest” has gotten most of the attention. “Invest” will make more of a difference. Divesting ownership of fossil fuel companies won’t have much direct effect on the fossil fuel industry, as I’ve written, in part because most of the world’s reserves are held by state-owned …

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The F.B. Heron Foundation is not your typical foundation. For starters, there is (or was) evidently no F.B. Heron. An anonymous benefactor, which is something of a rarity in the ego-driven world of philanthropy, started the foundation in 1992 with a $150* million donation.  When I got Clara Miller, the foundation’s president, on the phone, …

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