News of Note Around the Philanthropic World

from The New York Times:

Confusion on Where Money Lent via Kiva Goes

“There’s a whole new generation of socially connected nonprofits that use the Internet to make the illusion of person-to-person contact much more believable,” said Timothy Ogden, editor in chief of Philanthropy Action, an online journal for donors. “The problem is that they are no more connecting donors to people than the child sponsorship organizations of the past did.”

from The Wall Street Journal:

What’s Wrong With Charitable Giving – and How to Fix It

It’s hard to overstate the crisis facing charitable giving today. So let me just say it as plainly as I can: Much of current philanthropic giving, by foundations and individuals, neither meets the needs of our charitable organizations nor addresses some of our most urgent public needs.

Foundation practices today are too bureaucratic, inflexible and cautious, and too focused on short-term objectives. Too often, the process and procedures of grant making are more tailored to the needs of foundations and their trustees than to the requirements of nonprofits.

At the same time, our depressed economy is exacerbating this crisis – and making it all the more crucial that we address it. A severe reduction in available public and private funds has put many important nonprofit groups, especially at the local level, in grave danger. Cutbacks in their budgets and programs are depriving their clients of essential health and social services.

… What can foundations and others do to make a difference for the nonprofits and the people they are designed to help? Here are nine changes that would go a long way toward making philanthropy do what we all claim we want it to do.


BofA Unit Cuts Web-Based Charitable Funds to $5,000

To boost its philanthropic business, Bank of America Corp. will begin letting customers open donor- advised funds online with as little as $5,000… The new minimum contribution is one-tenth of the previous requirement of $50,000…

“This allows people to get their feet wet in philanthropy,” Gillian Howell, the bank’s national private philanthropy executive, said in a phone interview. “So if you’re trying to introduce your children to philanthropy, this is a very effective way.”