Category Archives: Philanthropic Equity on Investing in Nonprofits

This will likely be the last guest comment I publish regarding my post Investing in Nonprofits. But Dennis Whittle, the CEO of Global Giving, a celebrated nonprofit, has offered his thoughts and the conversation to date has only included the perspective of funders. Dennis wrote: Let me validate many of the comments here based on […]

Holden Karnofsky on Investing in Nonprofits

GiveWell was one of the organizations I listed as taking the approach of Investing in Nonprofits. GiveWell founder Holden Karnofsky has added his thoughts: On one hand, I don’t believe it’s wise for a funder to withdraw completely from the “What sorts of programs work?” discussion. Many programs simply don’t work, and the state of […]

Mario Marino on Investing in Nonprofits

Many of the organizations I listed in my post about Investing in Nonprofits have added their thoughts to the conversation. Click on their names to see comments from George Overholser (NFF Capital Partners), Sasha Dichter (Acumen Fund), Paul Shoemaker (Social Venture Partners), Jeff Berndt (New Profit), and Chuck Harris (SeaChange Capital Partners). Now Mario Marino […]

Sasha Dichter on Investing in Nonprofits

Sasha Dichter is director of Business Development at Acumen Fund, one of the organizations I listed as practicing a “capital market” model of philanthropy. He also writes his own blog. Here’s his take: Sean, my thanks to you for starting this conversation, and to George Overholser, Chuck Harris, and Jeff Berndt for adding their perspective.  […]

Chuck Harris on Investing in Nonprofits

Chuck Harris is co-founder of SeaChange Capital Parters (see profile in the New York Times). His organization was on my list of organizations utilizing the model I described in my post Investing in Nonprofits. He’s left a comment with his own thoughts on investing in nonprofits vs. executing a foundation designed program through buying services […]

Jeff Berndt of New Profit on Investing in Nonprofits

After I wrote a post about investing in nonprofits that included a list of funders employing the model I was explaining, George Overholser (of Nonprofit Finance Fund Capital Partners, who was on the list) weighed in with illuminating comments here, here and here). Now Jeff Berndt, a parter at New Profit (also on my list) […]

Is Grantmaking Getting Smarter?

Grantmakers for Effective Organizations is “a coalition of more than 350 grantmaking organizations committed to building strong and effective nonprofit organizations.” On their website they write: Why is it important to focus on organizational effectiveness? Nonprofits cannot have impact unless they have well trained, capable staff, strong management and a committed, accountable board of directors. […]

Philanthropic Equity

Underlying much of my recent debate with Paul Brest was my view that funders should emphasize investing in building great nonprofit more than working with nonprofits to execute a foundation designed programmatic strategy. One problem with this approach is the lack of understanding around the concept of “philanthropic equity”. To that end I’d like to […]

What Causes Systemic Change?

I got an email from a reader in regards to the posts I’ve been trading with Paul Brest. The reader suggested that some major funders believe that systemic change does not come from funding individual nonprofits and that it can only come through more comprehensive foundation programs. I’m sympathetic to this point, but I believe […]

“Investing” & Philanthropy Part 2

Jeff Trexler who is a professor of social entrepreneurship at Pace University leaves a comment on my last post: This is an important discussion. As we see with the way Obama and others have framed government expenditures on infrastructure, the investment metaphor can be an effective rhetorical tool for building support for public benefit activities. […]