Candid insights

The big picture of the social sector, backed by data and expertise

Opening Up from the Inside to Engage Philanthropy in Race and Equity

At the age of 7, I remember the sheer terror of my family of five fleeing Vietnam to find political asylum. Branded “alien” and “outsider,” I found it hard to speak about the trauma of my experience as a refugee.…

By Hanh Cao Yu (she/her)

June 28, 2018

The Risky Business of Foundation Opacity

In case there was ever any doubt that foundation philanthropy suffers from an opacity problem, a recent Foundation Review article, Foundation Transparency: Opacity — It’s Complicated, by Robert J. Reid, helps settle the matter through research findings that confirm the…

By Janet Camarena (she/her)

May 23, 2018

Foundations and Endowments: Smart People, Dumb Choices

This post is part of a Transparency Talk series, presented in partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, examining the importance of the 990-PF, the informational tax form that foundations must annually file. The series will explore the implications of…

By Marc Gunther

August 3, 2017

10 Ways Technology Can Advance Family Planning

Family planning and contraceptive social marketing used to be a straightforward, relatively low-tech affair. You would design an attractively packaged condom or contraceptive product and sell it to as many retail outlets as possible. To increase demand, you would create…

By Christopher Purdy

April 28, 2017

Warren Buffett Has Some Excellent Advice for Foundations That They Probably Won’t Take

This post is part of a Transparency Talk series, presented in partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, examining the importance of the 990-PF, the informational tax form that foundations must annually file. The series will explore the implications of…

By Marc Gunther

March 16, 2017

Apocalypse Later? Philanthropy and Transparency in an Illiberal World

This post is part of a Transparency Talk series, presented in partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, examining the importance of the 990-PF, the informational tax form that foundations must annually file. The series will explore the implications of…

By Bradford K. Smith (he/him)

March 6, 2017

Serving the Public Good (by Invitation Only)

America's foundations are not particularly interested in receiving your proposal. Earlier this year I did a quick search on Foundation Directory Online (FDO) of the 96,042 independent, company-sponsored, and community foundations based in the U.S. The results were pretty shocking: only 26,663…

By Bradford K. Smith (he/him)

November 30, 2015

The Clinton Foundation Reveals Its Donors: Should You?

A fundraising foundation has two world famous founders, a global network of generous donors, and a track record of grantmaking success. One of the founders plans to run for higher office, and the foundation makes the decision to be highly…

By Steven Lawrence

June 1, 2015

Social Sector Knowledge Sharing: A Manifesto for 2015 and Beyond

Within the last six months, three of the world’s largest foundations—the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Ford Foundation—have all announced that they will require open licensing and knowledge sharing for all grant-funded products and content. In…

By Lisa M. Brooks (she/her) and Gabi Fitz

April 20, 2015

What Can I Do If a Nonprofit Isn’t Following Its Bylaws?

This is another question that visitors often have for our Ask Us team. Curiously, I've had a hard time finding a succinct answer to this seemingly simple question. Corporate attorney Paul Davis Fancher of Troutman Sanders presented a free webcast…

By Sandy Pon (she/her)

December 9, 2014

Sean Parker and the Perils of Stealth Philanthropy

I love weddings and I love philanthropy, so I have been following the fallout from Sean Parker’s wedding with growing interest over the last couple of weeks of unrelenting news coverage surrounding the big event. Mr. Parker is the co-founder…

By Janet Camarena (she/her)

June 17, 2013