Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about nonprofit organizations and their impact

Nothing about us without us. This declaration has become a rallying cry for the disability rights movement.* It could just as well be a call to arms for participatory grantmaking — the practice of giving more power over philanthropic spending to the people that it is supposed to help. So it’s no accident that the Disability …

Continue reading

Enemies: A Love Story, a novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer, tells the story of a Holocaust survivor named Herman Broder in postwar New York. At one point, Singer, who was a vegetarian for many years, wrote: As often as Herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the …

Continue reading

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 …

Continue reading

Village Enterprise is a small NGO. Its annual budget? About $3.5m. Number of employees? Fewer than 150, with all but seven based in East Africa. Yet Village Enterprise is about to test a big idea that has the potential to insure that money spent to fight global poverty has real impact. It’s known, inelegantly, as …

Continue reading

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 …

Continue reading

David Bonbright traces his belief in the power of voice back to a peaceful revolution. Decades ago, while living and working in South Africa as a human rights lawyer, a grant-maker with the Ford Foundation and a founder of nonprofits, Bonbright was deeply moved by the way the anti-apartheid movement was accountable to its members …

Continue reading

Many foundations try to solve specific problems. They seek to end homelessness, help veterans, protect oceans, or improve K-12 education. All worthy goals. But what if the programs aimed at solving those problems don’t work? Or cost too much? Or create unforeseen consequences? How can they be improved? Only a handful of foundations try to …

Continue reading