It’s reasonable to think that when you make a donation to a particular charitable organization, the funds will be used in a way that supports that organization’s mission. But as a recent Boston Globe article by Bob Hohler explains, that’s not how it always works, particularly when there are celebrities involved. In this case, the charitable bait-and-switch involved New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady – a stellar athlete, for sure, but a philanthropic klutz. And, sadly, Brady’s approach to charitable giving is typical of the kind of pseudo-philanthropy that infects celebrities from the NFL to the White House. Continue reading
A recent article in the Boston Globe about the generous perks major Massachusetts nonprofits are providing to their CEOs has stirred up debate once more about proper compensation and incentives for charitable executives.
Some of the perks are wildly generous. The Museum of Science pays the college tuition for its president’s two children. The director of the Museum of Fine Arts receives a $60,000 housing allowance every year, on top of his $900,000+ salary. Several organizations provide generous entertainment allowances, dues at exclusive private clubs, free travel for spouses, fancy cars, and retention bonuses. Continue reading
Back in the 1930s, a series of movies starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland popularized the notion that you could solve big problems… by putting on a show. The orphanage is in trouble? No problem! Let’s fix up this old barn, kids! We can build a stage and start singing and dancing! People will flock in, money will magically appear, and the orphanage will survive!
It was a good formula for a successful movie franchise, and the plays in the barn were always magnificent productions. (It helped when two of the kids in the neighborhood always happened to be Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.) But even in 1930s Hollywood, where fantasy ruled, the writers had the good sense to structure these kid-run performances as what we in the nonprofit world would now call special events, raising funds for an established charity. Mickey and Judy were putting on a play to benefit the orphanage. They didn’t have the temerity to think they could start an orphanage of their own.
Today there seem to be a lot of folks who think otherwise. Continue reading