A Catchy, Popular, Attractive, and Bad Idea

[This post was co-published in The Chronicle of Philanthropy on August 9, 2016.] The charitable world has been buzzing recently about a new idea from the Minneapolis Foundation: The Pay It Forward Forever Fund, a uniquely structured effort to build a community...

The False Allure of Charitable Endowments

[Note: This article was co-posted March 2, 2015 at Inside Philanthropy.) In her recent Inside Philanthropy guest blog post defending donor-advised funds, Council on Foundations CEO Vikki Spruill asserts that those of us who are critics of donor-advised funds and...

Think Before You Endow

I was recently asked at a public forum why I don’t like endowments. I answered: “It’s not so much that I don’t like endowments. It’s that nonprofits and their donors like endowments too much.” Endowments have become the default destination for major gifts and...

Waiting. And Waiting.

There’s an epidemic of deferred philanthropy in this country. What do I mean? Let’s imagine that your house is burning. Firefighters arrive on the scene, and they offer you three choices. The first option is for the firefighters to do all that they can, now, to save...