Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about nonprofit organizations and their impact

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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Thousands of words, including many on this blog,  have been written about the so-called clean cookstove sector. But the fundamental problem with cookstoves has been captured in a single sentence by Kevin Starr of the Mulago Foundation. “The cheap stoves aren’t good enough,” Starr says, “and the good stoves are way too expensive.” Yep. Cheap …

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We’re gradually learning more about the investment performance of foundation endowments. The news is not good. The Chronicle of Philanthropy yesterday published my story about foundation endowments. [Paywall] The peg was the Ford Foundation’s decision to publish the investment returns of its $12.1bn endowment for the first time in several years. Ford has done well–its endowment …

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Why is meat so cheap? McDonald’s sells a McDouble burger for less than $2. A rotisserie chicken costs $4.99 at Costco. Government policy comes into play. Farmers get low-cost water. Cows, pigs and chickens eat federally-subsidized corn. The USDA and the Small Business Administration guarantee loans to farmers, including owners of CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding …

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You’d think that nonprofits would lead the way when it comes to diversity. After all, many serve the downtrodden, including people of color, immigrants and the poor. But no. A new survey of more than 1,500 nonprofits found that 90 percent of their chief executives, 90 percent of their board chairs, and 84 percent of …

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