Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about foundations, nonprofits and their impact

For more than a year, the Humane Society of the United States, the US’s most powerful animal-welfare group, has been trying to recover from charges of sexual harassment levied against Wayne Pacelle, its former chief executive. The Humane Society’s board has apologized to women who lodged complaints against Pacelle, adopted new policies and practices, brought on new members, commissioned …

Continue reading

My wife Karen Schneider and I gave about eight percent of our pretax income to charity in 2018. The Life You Can Save, a nonprofit inspired by the moral philosopher Peter Singer, has a calculator that recommends the percentage of your income that you should give. I’m writing about our giving because (1) I’m a believer …

Continue reading

What’s going on at Alley Cat Allies? And why aren’t the so-called charity watchdogs paying attention? Alley Cat Allies is a $10-million charity that calls itself the “global engine of change for cats.” It’s got issues–poor governance practices, a board that failed to meet for nearly a year and a disgruntled workforce with high turnover, …

Continue reading

The giving season is almost upon us, and so millions of Americans soon will turn to Charity Navigator or GuideStar for help in vetting nonprofits. Unfortunately, neither is entirely up to the job. 
 That once again became clear to me when I began looking into a charity called Alley Cat Allies that, by coincidence, …

Continue reading

This is an image from the Facebook feed of a man named Macintosh Johnson. Pictured is Katie Meyler, the founder of a charity called More Than Me that operates schools for poor, vulnerable girls in Liberia, like the girls in the photo. Macintosh Johnson and Katie Meyler were lovers. They ran More Than Me together …

Continue reading

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 …

Continue reading

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, …

Continue reading

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 …

Continue reading

Again and again, Americans have been told to eat less meat, or to stop eating meat altogether. The message has been delivered by doctors at the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the Mayo Clinic, by environmentalists at the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, by Paul McCartney, Food Inc and Michael Pollan’s Food Rules …

Continue reading

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’ …

Continue reading