Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about foundations, nonprofits and their impact

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, …

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Of the countless well-meaning efforts to help the world’s poor, only sixteen are currently endorsed by GiveWell, a meta-charity that rigorously investigates nonprofits. Three of those are run by a little-known nonprofit called Evidence Action. This is no accident. While GiveWell evaluates programs and Evidence Action operates them, their values are aligned: Both seek to …

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As a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic in the early 1990s, Eleanor Allen lived with a family whose granddaughter, a child name Maria, died of diarrhea. That changed her life, she says—but not right away. Trained as civil and environmental engineer, Allen spent 16 years rising through the ranks of CH2M, a big …

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It’s strange, when you think about it. Most things have a price. A big box of Cheerios costs $3.98. A 1 lb. bag of Starbucks Breakfast Blend costs $12.95. An iPhone 7 costs $649. But when we donate to charities, what are we buying? And at what cost? That’s more difficult — indeed, it’s often …

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To raise awareness of the global water crisis, Mina Guli ran the equivalent of 40 marathons on seven deserts on seven continents in seven weeks earlier this year. As a marathon runner, I salute her. As a reporter who writes about philanthropy, I’m less impressed. A “global leader, athlete, entrepreneur and adventurer” — her words, not mine –Guli …

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It’s easy for most of us to take the simplest things–like flushing a toilet–for granted. Yet almost 2.4 billion people lack access to modern sanitation, and nearly 1 billion practice open defecation, according to the World Health Organization. The problem is worst in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, particularly India. What’s to …

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Pessimism is fashionable. It’s also wrong. People are safer, better-educated, better-fed, and wealthier than they used to be. Democracy and human rights are spreading. Perhaps most important, people, and in particular the world’s poorest people, are healthier. As Bill Gates writes in the forward to Millions Saved: New Cases of Proven Success in Global Health, …

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