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Articles on Philanthropy

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Usher, shown speaking in 2019 at an event hosted by the nonprofit he started, and two other celebrities shot five episodes of the canceled series. Paras Griffin/Getty Images

‘The Activist’ reality TV show sparked furor, but treating causes as commodities with help from celebrities happens all the time

The producers are recasting the show as a documentary. The original version would have done more harm than good for the causes being showcased, two scholars argue.
Participants warm up at Federation Square ahead of the 5k Run Melbourne event in 2018. AAP Image/Penny Stephens

Australian charities are struggling with the loss of fun runs and other ‘fitness philanthropy’ events

Australians love mass sporting events and raising money for charity. Under COVID, these activities have taken a major blow.
CEO Warren Buffett was surrounded by press and fans when he arrived at Berkshire Hathaway’s 2019 annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, in May 2019. Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Why Warren Buffett is a model for his billionaire peers

The investor has already given half of his $100 billion fortune to charity and he has pledged to disburse nearly all of the rest.
Attorneys George E.C. Hayes, left, Thurgood Marshall, center, and James M. Nabrit, all HBCU grads, successfully sought to defeat school segregation in court. AP Photo

MacKenzie Scott’s HBCU giving starkly contrasts with the approach of early white funders of historically Black colleges and universities

When white philanthropists made large gifts to these schools in the 19th century and early 20th century, many insisted upon a vocational focus for Black higher ed.
Graduates of Cal State Fullerton, one of many universities with nonwhite majorities that billionaire MacKenzie Scott is supporting. Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

5 ways MacKenzie Scott’s $8.5 billion commitment to social and economic justice is a model for other donors

By not attaching any strings to the money, championing representation and generally taking care to respect nonprofit leaders, she’s following five best practices.
Some extremely rich people are paying a much smaller share of their income on taxes than other folks. Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock via Getty Images Plus

A new reason Americans are getting leery of billionaire donors

News about how little income tax some of the richest Americans reportedly pay is adding to questions about the value to society of their massive charitable donations.
Prominently placing fresh produce can encourage healthier choices. Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Giving food pantry clients choices – and gently nudging them toward nutritious foods – can lead to healthier diets

Behavioral economics, long employed in grocery stores to guide customers to certain products, could be employed by food banks and pantries to encourage healthier choices.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation reacted more quickly when the COVID-19 pandemic began than most other foundations. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Only a handful of US foundations quickly pitched in as the COVID-19 pandemic got underway, early data indicates

Two scholars of philanthropy and geography who reviewed the numbers see cause for concern about the agility and priorities of grantmakers during a crisis.
The Jewish Museum’s Purim Ball at the Park Avenue Armory in 2015 in New York City. Andrew Toth/Getty Images

How New York’s 19th-century Jews turned Purim into an American party

In the 19th century, Purim became an occasion to hold fancy dress parties, the proceeds from which were given to charities. These parties helped American Jews gain a standing among the elite.
Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott, seen here before they divorced in 2019, were the top two U.S. charitable donors the following year. Jorg Carstensen/dpa/AFP via Getty Images

What the $25 billion the biggest US donors gave in 2020 says about high-dollar charity today

While support for social services and historically black colleges and universities rose sharply, these donors spent a tiny fraction of what the government distributed to people who needed help.
Defunding of universities has forced administrators to to seek and secure private donations from wealthy individuals or corporations. Pictured here, the Michael G. De Groote Faculty of Medecine, McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ont.

Half of Ontario’s medical schools are now named after wealthy donors

We should challenge government defunding of universities, and greater reliance on private donations that can affect the transparency, equity and democracy of public institutions, including hospitals.

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