Category: Philanthropy

Congress

Will Congress Act to Reform Philanthropy?

By Jan Masaoka  While this may surprise those who follow philanthropy’s every move, Congress only rarely passes laws that directly regulate philanthropy. The last truly foundational law regarding philanthropy was passed in 1969. That was the law that mandated a 5% minimum payout from private foundations, among other provisions (such as prohibitions against self-dealing). Of course, a lot has changed in philanthropy since 1969! Consider, for example, the donor-advised fund, or DAF. The first DAF may date back to 1931, but the significance of DAFs has increased markedly in the past half century, with the number of assets held in

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What Is Trust-Based Philanthropy?

By Eddie Whitfield. As we enter our third year of the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, we’re reflecting on the stories of leaders and organizations that have embraced trust-based philanthropy and what connects them. In September, we launched the Trust-Based Story Map, which highlights the personal journeys of leaders from across the United States who are adopting a more trust-based, power-aware approach to their work. As we take a closer look at these stories collectively, some powerful themes are emerging about what inspires the adoption of trust-based philanthropy and what we can learn from the trends we are seeing. Diversity in Lived

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Private Grants Are They for You(1)

Private Grants: Are They for You?

Six steps to making a grants assessment. By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA and Sheldon Bart Here’s a tale of two real nonprofits. Let’s call the first one Amazing Youth, and the second The Real Deal Healthcare. Amazing Youth operates a transitional shelter for homeless youth limited by law to a modest number of residents, fewer than 10. The Real Deal Healthcare operates a community health center serving thousands of low-income patients. Both are LAPA clients. What they have in common is that for many years both neglected private grant revenue. Eventually, each one came to understand the value of outsourcing

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Donor Advised Funds: 7 Myths Debunked

By: Al Cantor November marks the tenth anniversary of Professor Ray Madoff’s New York Times op-ed calling for new rules that would accelerate grantmaking from donor-advised funds. Over the years since, as the amount of money in donor-advised funds has grown from $25 billion to $142 billion, the DAF industry has pushed back strongly against Madoff and other reformers, relying on a familiar set of arguments to justify the status quo. These assertions have long rung hollow. Now, thanks to research that has come to light in the last few months, it’s increasingly evident that the talking points of the DAF industry are utterly without

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Everyone Is Asking About How To Apply To MacKenzie Scott

Mother Jones illustration; Jörg Carstensen/Getty By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA Much has been written about the extraordinary grantmaking of businesswoman MacKenzie Scott. With a net worth of $65.3 billion, much more giving is expected. Scott is a member of the Giving Pledge. When she signed the pledge, she said, “I have a disproportionate amount of money to share. My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort, and care. But I won’t wait. And I will keep at it until the safe is empty.” Despite its name, the pledge is not legally binding. The

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Philanthropy Operations: What Is It, and Why Is It Important?

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA What the heck is Philanthropy Operations, and why is it important?   The fundraising positions of Director of Development or Chief Development Officer are familiar, but what do Directors of Philanthropic Operations (DPOs or Ops. Dir.) do? And why is the function less well known? (Those of you in higher education may know the function as “Advancement Services.”)  A focus on Philanthropic Operations becomes necessary as your development function grows and as you seek to deepen the quality of your advancement work. The position or function is less well known because so few nonprofits truly invest

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woman holding coffee looking out window thinking about fundraising jobs

The Value of a Fundraiser

By Roger Craver Almost every sector of the economy is now facing the issue of how many employees will actually return vs. how many will simply opt for greener pastures. If the financial meltdown of 2008 was the Great Recession, will post-pandemic 2021 turn out to be the Great Resignation? Virtually every part of the nonprofit sector – from higher ed, to healthcare, to advocacy and social benefit organizations – have historically been notoriously irresponsible when it comes to training, onboarding, promoting  and holding on to fundraisers. The result of this neglect on the part of boards, CEOs and even the

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Barack & Michelle Teach Us About Personal Giving

Barack & Michelle Teach Us About Personal Giving

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama donated $64,000+ to charity in 2015, about 15% of their income, according to their recent tax return. The couple supported many wonderful nonprofits including Sidwell Friends School ($5,000), where their children attend, Fisher House, which provides homes for veterans ($9,066), the Beau Biden Foundation $5,000, American Red Cross $2,000, CARE $2,000, International Rescue Committee $2,000, Sandy Hook Promise Foundation $2,000, AIDS United $1,500, Calvary Women’s Services $1,500, Central Illinois Food Bank $1,500, Christopher House $1,500, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy $1,500, Habitat for Humanity $1,500, Illinois

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