Democracy is Dying. Philanthropy Needs to Stop Its Toxic Intellectualizing.

[Image description: A large colorful mural on a building, by artist Shepard Fairey, featuring a person looking into the distance, with the words “voting rights are human rights” painted in black on red background. Image taken by Tom Barrett on Unsplash]

Hi everyone, just a quick warning that this post will likely burn a few bridges. But as colleague Aubrey Alvarez quoted from a novelty flask, “May the bridges we burn light the way.”

Today I had breakfast with my friend Seth Ehrlich, an executive director who told me that for the third time during the pandemic a funder invited him to attend a forum where nonprofit leaders were asked to give feedback on how to improve that funder’s grant process. Foundations, please stop doing that. Here’s a checklist you can use for free. Stop wasting everyone’s time asking them how you can improve your process.

Continue reading “Democracy is Dying. Philanthropy Needs to Stop Its Toxic Intellectualizing.”

DAFs: What They Are, Which Misguided Orgs Oppose Mild Legislations on Them, and Why You Should Care

[Image description: An adorable black-footed ferret, standing upright in the snow, looking at the camera. They have a cream-colored coat, brown legs with black feet, small round ears, and dark, liquid eyes that steal your heart. No, this ferret has nothing to do with DAFs. Image by Rohan Chang on Unsplash.]

Hi everyone. Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) is not the most riveting of topics, I will admit. Sometimes, when I have insomnia, I read about DAFs, and that usually does the trick, especially when combined with some melatonin. However, they are rapidly growing as a vehicle for charitable giving, have almost no regulations whatsoever, and are rife with inequity. So we all need to care about them.

It seems though that some colleagues are still confused by DAFs and what the problem is and so don’t want to tune in to this conversation. I’m going to explain it simply for those not familiar, so that you don’t fall asleep; apologies to colleagues who are more knowledgeable in this area than I am.

Imagine that you made millions of dollars selling naturally fermented pickle products. After buying yourself a yacht, you think “Huh, I should probably donate some money to charity. That will help people and also prevent me from paying so much in taxes, win-win.”

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