“It’s Their Money.” Well, Sort Of.

There are occupational hazards to writing about philanthropy.

One is that when I make a critical comment about donors, I run the risk of being chastised for passing judgment. I’m told it’s none of my business how people choose to be charitable, that I should stop picking nits and simply honor their good intentions. The most frequent phrase I hear: “Remember: It’s their money!

But is it really their money? For most major donors, not entirely. Let me explain. Continue reading

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A Closer Look at One Donor-Advised Fund’s Questionable Pay-out Numbers

[Note: This post was co-published on July 20, 2015 in Inside Philanthropy.]

It’s one thing for organizations to spin information in a way that puts them in the best possible light. But the recent effort by Fidelity Charitable to overstate the rate of its annual grantmaking seems to be intentionally misleading. Fidelity arrives at its number through an accounting sleight of hand that demands deconstruction and rebuffing. Continue reading

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