Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about foundations, nonprofits and their impact

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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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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The act of coming out of the closet has been so important to the movement for gay rights that it is celebrated every year on National Coming Out Day. When people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender share their stories, they change hearts and minds, create new allies and help to dispel prejudices and misconceptions. …

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It is hard not to feel despair this morning, but there was some good news out of the election. Drug reform is the rare issue that can bring the left and right together, as I wrote on Medium: Led by voters in Oregon, Americans from coast to coast voted by decisive margins to take steps …

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As medical director of the Aquilino Cancer Center, Dr. Manish Agrawal has seen the progress made possible by cancer research.Death rates from cancer have declined steadily among men and women, and for most common cancers, including lung, breast, and prostate cancers.“The longer you’re in practice. you realize that we do a really good job with …

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Pastor James Lindberg was unmoored by his first trip on psilocybin. “I’m a pretty normal middle aged white guy who found myself involved in things that were a bit larger than I intended them to be,” says Lindberg, who leads a Lutheran church in an Omaha suburb. He questioned his place in the church but, …

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Civil rights. Feminism. Gay rights. Environmentalism. Meditation. Yoga. Natural childbirth. Much of the politics and culture of the 1960s has been absorbed into mainstream America. Not psychedelic drugs — not yet, anyway. That will soon change if David Bronner, the CEO of family-owned soap-maker Dr. Bronner’s, has his way. “Psychedelic medicine is the last and arguably the …

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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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This is a strange and deeply disturbing time. I’d like to be writing more about racial justice and Covid-19 and, in an indirect way, I did just this morning, at Medium. My story looks at two progressive, criminal-justice ballot initiatives that are all but certain to be on the November ballot in the state of …

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Philanthropic dollars helped to create today’s psychedelic renaissance by funding medical research into the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin and LSD. The research has generated a great deal of excitement, as I reported last year in the Chronicle of Philanthropy and in Medium. Now, startup companies want to bring psychedelic medicines to market. That’s the topic …

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