Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about foundations, nonprofits and their impact

Slow progress is better than no progress. So GuideStar’s Platinum designation, which encourages nonprofits to share their results in an important new way, deserves a round of polite applause, if not three cheers. It’s a step in the right direction, as well as a reminder of the long road that lies ahead–if the destination is, as …

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Several years ago, at Brainstorm Green, a conference on business and the environment that I co-chaired for Fortune magazine, Rick Ridgeway of Patagonia (the company) talked about Conservacion Patagonica, a nonprofit created by the late Doug Tompkins and his wife, Kris, that has protected more than 2 million acres of land and laid the groundwork for …

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Advertising changes behavior. Why else would brands pay as much as $5 million for a 30-second spot on the Super Bowl? But measuring the impact of advertising, particularly in traditional media, is an inexact science at best. (“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted,” retailer John Wanamaker famously said. “I just don’t know …

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What is the purpose of charity? I’ve been thinking about that question since coming across a fascinating observation about the purpose of government and the purpose of business, and how often we confuse the two. It came from an October 1990 opinion column by a journalist named Donald Kaul, and it was cited recently in Tim …

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Michael Thatcher, the chief executive of Charity Navigator, has one of the most important jobs in philanthropy. One of the hardest, too. Charity Navigator has clout. Donors visited its website more than 9 million times last year to check out its ratings of about 8,000 charities. It’s America’s most influential evaluator of charities. But what did …

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POVERTY, INC. | Official Trailer from POVERTY, INC. | The Movie on Vimeo. Near the beginning of the new film Poverty Inc. are excerpts from the music video of the song, Do They Know It’s Christmas?, which was recorded in 1984 in response to a terrible famine in Ethiopia by the supergroup Band Aid, featuring, …

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In a scene in The Graduate (1967), Benjamin Braddock, the character played by Dustin Hoffman, was given the most famous bit of career advice since Horace Greeley advised readers to “go west, young man.” “Ben. I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening?…Plastics.” Today, math-literate young people might …

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No one is getting rich making cookstoves for the poor, least of all Harry Stokes. Stokes is the unpaid executive director of a small nonprofit called Project Gaia, which has been trying since the late 1990s to get cookstoves that burn ethanol or methanol into the hands of some of the estimated 3 billion people …

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Many years ago, as a Peace Corps volunteer in northern Thailand, Paul Strasburg met a young man who said he was a teacher and asked for help building a school in his village. Strasburg somehow found a small nonprofit in New York, led by high school students and teachers, that was willing to help, and …

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