Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about foundations, nonprofits and their impact

The giving season is almost upon us, and so millions of Americans soon will turn to Charity Navigator or GuideStar for help in vetting nonprofits. Unfortunately, neither is entirely up to the job. 
 That once again became clear to me when I began looking into a charity called Alley Cat Allies that, by coincidence, …

Continue reading

Until recently, Al Cantor and I had never met. We connected on Twitter,  traded emails, talked by phone and enjoyed our interchanges. Al has spent more than three decades in the nonprofit world, as executive director of an agency helping at-risk New Hampshire boys, as an executive at a community foundation, and as vice president …

Continue reading

Thousands of donors visited Charity Navigator in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, looking for charities to support. They got some help, but not enough–the Harvey page of the Charity Navigator website lists about 50 organizations, the Irma page another 25 or so. They include the American Kidney Fund, to help dialysis patients in …

Continue reading

Dan Pallotta’s powerful TED talk, called The way we think about charity is dead wrong, has been viewed nearly four million times since 2013. More important, his argument — that charities should be rewarded for their big goals and big accomplishments, and not punished for spending on overhead, marketing and salaries — has helped change …

Continue reading

If, like me, you want to donate to the very best nonprofits–those that do the most good, at the lowest cost–Charity Navigator, the US’s most popular source of charity ratings, offers little help. Charity Navigator gives four stars, its top score, to 2,889 of the 7,971 charities that it evaluates. Nearly 4,000 more charities are …

Continue reading

Michael Thatcher, the chief executive of Charity Navigator, has one of the most important jobs in philanthropy. One of the hardest, too. Charity Navigator has clout. Donors visited its website more than 9 million times last year to check out its ratings of about 8,000 charities. It’s America’s most influential evaluator of charities. But what did …

Continue reading

This blog began as an experiment almost a year ago. Back then, I didn’t know whether I wanted to devote myself to writing about nonprofits and foundations. I’ve learned, fifty-two blogposts later, that I do. Nonprofits and foundations are important. The issues swirling around them are fascinating. And they deserve more sustained journalistic attention. So …

Continue reading