Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about nonprofit organizations and their impact

Chickens. Cows. Cookstoves. Toilets. Solar panels. Job training. Clean water. Western NGOs dole out lots of stuff to help poor people in the global south become less poor. Do such programs work? It’s hard to know, but when researchers for a series of World Bank studies called Moving Out of Poverty asked 3,991 households in …

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Consider the food bank, a staple on the menu of nonprofits in most communities. Food banks collect unwanted food from donors, including supermarkets, food manufacturers, individuals and the government, and then distribute it to poor people through food pantries and meal programs. Last year alone, food banks affiliated with the Feeding America network distributed more than …

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The global south is littered, literally, with the remains of failed international aid projects. So-called clean cookstoves had more appeal to western donors than to women in India, Africa or Latin America. Wells and taps that were intended to provide clean water have fallen into disrepair. One 2009 study estimated there are 50,000 broken rural water points …

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The Internet has made it easier than ever to identify the best books, movies,  songs, hotels, restaurants, mutual funds, even foreign-language tutors. To identify the best charities? That’s harder. The Raikes Foundation, which is the family foundation of Jeff Raikes and his wife, Tricia, wants to help, by enabling donors to do more good with their money. Last …

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People like to say that “good ideas can come from anywhere.” (The phrase generates 11.4m Google results.) They rarely act that way. Philanthropy is an “insider’s game,” the late Rick Cohen once wrote, and surveys have found that most foundations do not accept unsolicited proposals. This is understandable: Foundation executives don’t want to be swamped …

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    Foundations say they want to challenge inequality. The truth is, they often perpetuate it. For better or worse, Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, the Buffett family and a growing number of hedge fund and technology billionaires use their large-scale giving to extend their influence at a time when rich people already have inordinate clout. This undermines democracy …

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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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