Incubators of philanthropy

September 5, 2014

A new report shows philanthropy and civil society coming to life in the great emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.



In the United States, when we wonder how the philanthropic urge begins, and how it grows, we tend to seek answers mainly in the realms of philosophy and psychology: what motivates people to give, what values attract their support, and what satisfactions they derive from giving.


Climbing toward the finish line

July 29, 2014

The newest installment in our ongoing chronicle tells about the year The Atlantic Philanthropies defined how it was going to end, and what its final goals would be.


Several weeks ago, Chris Oechsli, The Atlantic Philanthropies’ CEO, posted an online essay whose headline declared that Atlantic is “NOT spending down.” In no time, a couple of old friends and foundation-watchers wrote me to ask, “What?! When did they change their minds?”


(Another) Cautionary Tale for School Reformers

May 15, 2014

Ras Baraka, the winner of this week’s special election for mayor of Newark, New Jersey, staked a big part of his campaign on his opposition to the school-reform effort backed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Under former mayor Cory Booker, who recently decamped to the U.S. Senate, Mr. Zuckerberg’s foundation had poured $100 million into a sweeping attempt to overhaul the city’s public education system. His gift drew an equal amount from other national donors, all deposited in the newly formed Foundation for Newark’s Future.

A Foundation Initiative Runs Out of Time

May 5, 2014

The announcement, a few weeks ago, that the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation would soon end its Nonprofit Marketplace Initiative sent a chill through the young industry that collects and markets data on nonprofit performance. The foundation had been a formidable supporter of such grantees as the data-aggregation sites GuideStar and GiveWell, which try to arm donors with information on how nonprofits are run and what they achieve.


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