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On Philanthropy: Impact investing gets an IRS boost

Impact investing is one of the hottest topics in the philanthropic sector. It involves investments made with the intention of generating not just a financial return, but also a social or environmental impact — the double bottom line.

Until just recently, some foundation directors with an interest in impact investing felt restrained by their fiduciary duty to “exercise ordinary business care and prudence” in providing for the financial needs of the foundation, the breach of which could result in negative tax and other consequences.

Strengthening Results in Partnership with Grantees

As funders we are always looking for results—we spend most of our time evaluating grants to see if they fit in the Request for Proposal framework but not enough time to assess what happened post grant award. For United Ways and maybe community foundations as well donors want to know—what is the value-added? Why not just invest directly in a nonprofit organization and get the maximum impact for your dollar?

Art Donors Give to Smaller Nonprofits

Los Angeles art adviser and collector Elaine Gans was uncertain, at first, where to donate a large painting by San Francisco Bay Area artist Tom Holland. It was “one of his most important pieces,” Ms. Gans says.

If she gave it to an art museum, the painting risked being put in storage and forgotten, Ms. Gans says. A museum also might not have accepted it, she adds. So, earlier this year, she donated the painting to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Should Every City Have a "Chief Philanthropy Officer"?

In Jacksonville, Florida, Mayor Lenny Curry is hiring for a novel new position within his administration—a chief philanthropy officer for the city.

The idea is not an entirely novel one; the state of Michigan created an Office of Foundation Liaison (OFL) in 2003 in what the state called a “first in the nation” cabinet-level position. And in Newark, New Jersey, a city famous for its connection with big givers like Mark Zuckerberg, then-Mayor Cory Booker appointed a philanthropic liaison in 2007.

Hub funders launch contest for low-income housing ideas

A private Boston-based funders’ collaborative hopes to find innovative solutions to the state’s affordable housing crisis for extremely low-income families by hosting a competition to solicit new strategies.

Home Funders will launch its competition at the State House on Thursday, offering three awards of $10,000 to $25,000 for creative, feasible and sustainable ideas.

On Gratitude, For Thanksgiving, by Gioia Perugini

What can I do to help? It’s a familiar refrain, sometimes expressed to a neighbor going through a difficult time, or to a colleague at work, or in the face of a natural disaster. It’s a question we hear all the time when advising clients on their philanthropy. Whether the topic is hunger or climate change, donors want to know how to translate a pressing but broad concern into specific, effective giving.


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