A Bubble Bursts

A scandal at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) has roiled the world of philanthropy. It’s a blockbuster story with dramatic elements worthy of an HBO mini-series: An imperious and (until now) impervious CEO, secretive billionaire donors, abusive treatment...

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Affairs of the Heart

Some people misunderstand the motivation for charitable giving. They consider that charitable donations typically result from extended intellectual analysis. In fact, most donors don’t think their way into giving to charity. From my observation, charitable giving is...

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I Hope I’m Wrong

An earthquake just hit the nation: the new Republican tax bill. It will take months and years to sort through the ramifications and debris. There are huge implications for the economy, for the wealth divide, and for the healthcare system. But I’m going to focus on the...

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Live Oak

[Note: A version of this article appeared in Philanthropy Daily on December 21, 2017.] I’m fascinated by what makes someone an effective nonprofit leader. Yes, leaders should be inspiring and visionary, setting and articulating a vision for the organization. And, of...

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Charity, Incorporated

It seems that every time I set out to write about topics other than donor-advised funds, fresh news explodes on the scene that requires my attention, and yours. This week it’s the astounding – but not at all surprising – announcement by the Chronicle of Philanthropy...

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A Tale of Two Letters, and Two Sectors

[Note: A version of this post was published in the opinion pages of The Chronicle of Philanthropy on November 2, 2017.] Here’s an idea: Let’s agree to stop referring to “the nonprofit sector.” That’s because, in reality, there are two nonprofit sectors. The first is...

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Do More

[This article was co-published on October 4, 2017, by the Maine Association of Nonprofits] When I was a 27-year-old, freshly promoted, and utterly under-qualified executive director (back in 1985 we didn’t think to call ourselves “CEO” or “President”), I met with a...

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Peak bagging

As someone who likes to be taken seriously, I probably shouldn’t begin this post by publishing such a goofy picture of myself. But here I go, happily sharing this photo, as a way of illustrating a point about goal-setting. This picture was taken on July 2nd atop Mt....

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