Tag Archives: commercial gift funds

Point, Counterpoint

Dear Readers:

You may be familiar with epistolary novels – that is, novels told entirely in letters between the characters.

Today is an epistolary blog post. My first! (Perhaps yours as well?)

Here’s the background:

Back in May, the Chronicle of Philanthropy published an opinion piece by me criticizing the growth of donor-advised funds, particularly those run by Wall Street. Unless you have a subscription to the Chronicle, you’ll have a hard time accessing that original piece on line, but if you’re curious, in many ways it’s a recast and updated version of Deluge, a blog post of mine dating from January.

In July, Douglas Kridler, the CEO of the Columbus Foundation, published a letter to the editor in the Chronicle criticizing my piece. And in the August 11 edition, the Chronicle published my response to Mr. Kridler.

Feel free to click on the links to the Chronicle site, or you can read the two letters, in sequence, below.

I’m honored to be in the middle of this national conversation. Clearly, I think it’s an important issue – and apparently others do, on both sides. Continue reading

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The bad news about commercial donor-advised funds is getting worse.

As my loyal readers know, I’ve been giving attention here and in national journals to the negative impact that the burgeoning popularity of donor-advised funds is having on traditional charitable giving. People have been dumping money into Fidelity Charitable and Schwab Charitable in record numbers, to the point where in 2011 they ranked as the number two and number twelve “philanthropies” respectively in terms of money received from donors. Their cousin, Vanguard Charitable, hasn’t been doing so badly either, ranking number 22 on the Philanthropy 400. (To put their success in perspective, numbers 20 and 21 on the list were the not inconsiderable fundraising machines of Harvard and Yale.) Continue reading

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