Foundations, For Better or For Worse

Most of us don’t question the basic operating procedures of private foundations. They are what they are. But if not for a turn of events a century ago, the common business model for foundations could have evolved in a much different – and, to my mind, much better –...

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...

The Few

You may have seen this recent video on wealth inequality. It graphically shows how 40% of the nation’s financial assets are now owned by only 1% of the population. By contrast, the 80% of Americans with the least wealth control only 7% of the assets. Or, to put it...

Power

There are few places in public life where there is a greater imbalance of power than between a private foundation and a nonprofit grantee. I’m not saying that a foundation has more absolute power than, say, the Pentagon or Exxon-Mobil. Of course it doesn’t. I’m simply...