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Policy Advocacy: Best Weapon in a Foundation's Arsenal — or a Threat to Democracy?

Nowhere have concerns about foundations’ policy influence been greater in recent years than in the area of education. While critics of “education reform” like Diane Ravitch have for years warned of the outsized influence of what she terms the “billionaire boys club,” the critiques have now spread. Common Core standards, for example, which were pushed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others and rapidly adopted by states, are now under fire from conservatives and liberals alike.

Fidelity Charitable now ranks as the top nonprofit fund-raiser in the US

The charitable-giving arm of Fidelity Investments raised more money than any other nonprofit in the country last year, outpacing United Way Worldwide, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual rankings published Thursday.

Boston-based Fidelity Charitable ascended to the No. 1 slot for the first time, as customers put $4.6 billion into gift accounts in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015, according to the report. That marked a nearly 20 percent jump from the prior year and vaulted Fidelity over the $3.7 billion collected by United Way, which declined — by 4 percent.

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