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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

Philanthropy 50 Announced


CHRONICLE OF PHILANTHROPY just published Top Philanthropists for 2013.

Here’s the article and the list.

My quick takeaways:

  • For Impact orgs and development officers need to stop using the excuse of the ‘economy’. Gifts by living donors in 2013 equaled almost as much as the previous two years combined.
  • 97/3. 3% of your organization’s constituent/family/prospects will contribute/invest 97% of the money you raise.
    I believe that if every For Impact leader, social entrepreneur and development professional focused on that 3% … the third sector could triple the amount of investment it receives.
  • Just reading these stories should provide great optimism and inspiration. If you are a development professional, a valued board champion or CEO/Executive Director/leader in the third sector … you should take the time to read this.

Special Note: I just wrote out a huge rant about ‘FOUNDATIONS’. Then I tore it up. Life is too short.

However, I would pose this question:

Is anybody else bothered by the fact that the 10 most generous donors gave a total of $4B … and 5 of those donors gave $2.4M to FOUNDATIONS, not to actual IMPACT ORGANIZATIONS???

  • #1: Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan made an almost $1B commitment to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
  • #2: George Mitchell’s bequest was to the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation.
  • #5: John and Laura Arnold gave $235M to their foundation.
  • #9: Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki. $219M to their foundation.
  • #10: Jeffrey Carlton’s bequest of $212M to a trust that will eventually become his charitable foundation.

Compare that to Philip and Penelope Knight who gave $500M to impact Oregon Health and Science. Or, Michael Bloomberg who actually gave away $452M directly to Arts, Education, Environment and Public Health ‘Nonprofits’. Charles Johnson pledged $250M to Yale to actually build something (2 new residential colleges). Pierre and Pam Omidyar gave $225M directly to four organizations.

I’m not the brightest guy around. Obviously, I’m missing something. I just don’t understand putting huge sums of money into a ‘FOUNDATION’ … which then gives away 5% interest off the corpus.