Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about foundations, nonprofits and their impact

Last month, a scientific journal published a peer-reviewed study with encouraging news for anyone concerned by the impact of smoking on health. The study in the American Journal of Health Behavior identified more than 17,000 cigarette smokers who purchased a Juul starter kit, which includes a rechargeable e-cigarette and four flavored pods. A year later, more than half said …

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In 1976, Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, a brilliant and eccentric chemist who concocted hundreds of psychoactive drugs in a home-based laboratory in the hills of Berkeley, California, cooked up a batch of MDMA, the drug that later became known as Ecstasy or Molly. He then tried some, as was his habit. He loved it. “I feel absolutely …

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My story about Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and their campaign against electronic cigarettes generated more reaction that anything I’ve written in years, with the possible exception of my reporting on the workplace abuses at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The story appears in the current issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, …

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Little-known outside the world of psychedelics and drug policy, Rick Doblin is one of the most effective nonprofit leaders in America. Doblin is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, better known as MAPS, which for 35 years has been trying to develop psychedelic medicines and advocating for the responsible …

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Poker has been called a very dark game. Especially at the highest levels, the best professionals can prey upon weaker foes, taking millions of dollars from amateurs. Igor Kurganov, who earned $18.7m as one of the game’s top players before before retiring last year, says: “It definitely bothered me a little bit.” He need not feel bad. Most …

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This fall, just in time for the giving season, two groups of independent researchers set out to identify the most effective nonprofits that are working to curb climate change. Their findings may surprise you. Giving Green recommends five organizations: the Clean Air Task Force, the Sunrise Education Fund, which is the 501(c)(3) arm of the Sunrise Movement, Climeworks, Burn and Tradewater. Top charities selected …

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Last year, staff members who worked in “corporate security” at eBay set out to harass a husband-and-wife team who publish a newsletter that criticized the company. Things got ugly in a hurry. The security staff sent them boxes of live cockroaches, a bloody Halloween mask, a funeral wreath and a book on how to survive …

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MDMA, the man-made drug often called ecstasy or molly, has a colorful history. It was patented in 1914 by the German drug company Merck, and set aside for decades. The US Army studied it during the Cold War, perhaps seeking a chemical weapon or interrogation tool. Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, an iconoclastic chemist, rediscovered MDMA during …

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Foundations are peculiar institutions. They lack competition or meaningful regulation. They are perhaps the least accountable institutions in the US. Many want to live forever. Last week, the Ford Foundation, which has an endowment of $13.7 billion, said that it has decided to borrow another $1 billion to be able to give more money away …

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Every October, Kingston, N.Y., a city of 23,000 people in the Hudson Valley, attracts throngs of visitors to the O + Festival, a weekend celebration of art, music and wellness. The O + Festival — it’s pronounced O Positive — is no ordinary civic gathering. It is, improbably, an alternative to America’s profit-driven health care system: The …

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