keeping a close eye on philanthropy … NCRP’s blog

Investigating Charitable Lead Trusts with David Cay Johnston

posted on: July 28, 2015

taxesIn researching our Philamplify assessments of the Hess Foundation and Walton Family Foundations, I interviewed David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and expert on economics and tax issues. Johnston is a well-known critic of charitable lead trusts, an investment strategy that provides the Hess Foundation with much of its wealth. Read on to learn what he thinks of this controversial, but little-understood, philanthropic tool.

NCRP) What is the purpose of a charitable lead trust (CLT)?

JOHNSTON) To avoid paying taxes on the increased but untaxed increase in value from a family business’s corporate stock, a family can put these assets into a charitable lead trust, which throws off income that is donated to charities. The trustees decide

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Can We Love Humanity with a Market-Based Approach?

posted on: July 24, 2015

SocialJusticeSeekerSeveral Fridays ago I first learned that yet another Black man had been killed during a police stop in Baltimore, and I made no immediate effort to learn more of the story. It was a tale I had heard several times over, especially recently, and I suppose because of this it was easy to brush it to the side as I toiled through my daily tasks. The next night, after weekend errands and the premiere of my favorite show, I was finally ready to dive a little deeper into the story. I googled “Freddie Gray”, and as I poured over the Baltimore Sun article detailing the injuries he sustained, along with stills and a video of his arrest, I found

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How Volunteering Gives Us Strong Roots for Strong Giving

posted on: July 21, 2015

StrongRootsNCRP strives to transform philanthropy so that it more directly supports organizations that use strategies like community organizing, and supports the people who drive and benefit from those organizations, particularly underserved communities. NCRP’s research and policy work is highly regarded in our sector and we spend a lot of time in the field to help philanthropy be more responsive to the communities and causes we believe in. Our work is based clearly on our values and our mission, and each of us is passionate about what we do.

In addition, many of us volunteer with organizations that use social justice strategies and serve marginalized communities, and draw on our personal passions to supplement our organizational work. Here are a few

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Our Time: Echoing the Critical Call to Action in South Carolina

posted on: July 16, 2015

StopLookListenEditor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series. Read the first piece by Dave Beckwith.

By Dr. Sherece West

Dave Beckwith’s call to action and his kind words about our work together in Louisiana remind me that this is really our moment; our moment as funders to answer the call to make a real difference, to practice strategic philanthropy and not just feel-good charity. Now, after the tragedy in South Carolina, and in light of the growing movement for Black lives, is an opportune time to take action, of course. This begs the question, though – where have we been? What we do now is important, but we should ask ourselves, what are we doing anyway? Why

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Philanthropy Need Not Be Powerless in Response to Tragedy

posted on: July 15, 2015

AndreasSchalkEditor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series. Read the second piece by Dr. Sherece West.

By Dave Beckwith

The killings in South Carolina have left me feeling both angry and powerless. I know that’s not true – we each can do something, or do nothing. But I’m longing for the days before I retired, when I worked for a foundation – that was power!

What would I do, I wondered, if I were executive director of a foundation right now, what would I do with that powerless feeling? First, I’d call my board chair and ask her, “Are you feeling compelled to do something out of the ordinary, to act in new ways to respond to what

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If You Had $23 Million for Education, How Would You Spend It?

posted on: July 9, 2015

MIKIYoshihitoAfter the release of NCRP’s comprehensive Philamplify assessment of the Walton Family Foundation in May, NCRP asked Facebook users, “From 2010-2014, Walton Family Foundation granted nearly $23M to improve education in Louisiana. If you had that money how would you spend it?” The answers varied, but the main points that came up repeatedly among the comments included putting children first and hiring teachers who are passionate about teaching – and giving them the ability to teach with adequate training and proper pay.

Walton Family Foundation spends virtually all of its education grants on charter schools. While charter schools can address the concerns identified in our Facebook question for their students, can they contribute to large-scale change that addresses these issues

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Respect Is Key to Inclusive Funding

posted on: July 7, 2015

JenniferMizrahiBy Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi

My husband and I started our family’s charitable fund shortly after we got married. Like other philanthropists, we wanted to make the world a better, safer, more respectful and welcoming place. Now that we have children, we want our children to grow up in a society that sees, respects and benefits from the diverse talents of all people – regardless of race, gender, creed, sexual orientation or identity, or ability. So how can our philanthropy help?

Over the last fifteen years we have donated to 96 different nonprofits. There are a few “one-offs” every year due to special events and situations, but primarily we invest in nonprofits year after year as we care about their causes

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