Nonprofits Report Poor Communication and Little Help From Foundations During the Economic Downturn
June 23, 2010

A new report by the Center for Effective Philanthropy found that nonprofit organizations believe foundations have offered little help and communicated poorly with them during this long economic downturn. According to the report, foundation giving — while only a small portion of most nonprofits' budgets — declined by approximately 8.4 percent in 2009, and foundation giving isn't projected to increase until 2011.

Three Gulf Research Institutions to Receive First Round of $500 Million Funding
June 18, 2010

BP today announced significant progress in its half-billion dollar pledge to the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI). Three research institutions in the Gulf region will receive a total of $25 million in fast-track funding for high-priority studies of the distribution, composition and ecological interactions of oil and dispersant. On May 24 BP announced a commitment of up to $500 million to the GRI open research program to study the impact of the Deepwater Horizon incident, and its associated response, on the environment and public health in the Gulf of Mexico.

Some 70% of Grant Makers Say Foundations Have Few Measures to Test Effectiveness
June 15, 2010

More than 70 percent of grant makers say not enough is being done to assess the performance of foundations, according to a survey conducted by the LFA Group for the Center for Effective Philanthropy.

The biggest barriers to measuring performance are the difficulty of establishing a causal relationship between a foundation’s support and creating change, and a lack of time to conduct an evaluation, respondents said. LFA Group polled more than 500 foundation executives and program officers in February.

Search New Subsidyscope Database on Federal Aid to Nonprofits
June 15, 2010

In fiscal year 2008, the federal government gave $38 billion in grants to nonprofit entities and spent $10 billion on non-competed contracts with nonprofits. Billions were also taken in tax expenditures benefiting nonprofits, representing foregone revenues of $50 billion in 2008.

Excluding contracts, that means that the average U.S. household spent $430 a year on programs to nonprofit entities such as universities, hospitals and charities in 2008.

Federal Government Needs to Clarify How Grants Cover Charity Costs, Report Says
June 9, 2010

The way nonprofit groups are reimbursed for work done under federal grants is erratic and needs to be clarified, says a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Much of the money flows through state and local governments, which offer different rates depending on their policies, it says.

That makes it difficult to get a clear picture of whether the contracts are covering the indirect costs (such as rent or utilities) of the charities doing the work, it says. When such costs are not fully paid for, it adds, the groups cut back on their services -- or on vital "back office" functions, which can over time compromise their ability to fulfill their missions.

GSMA Announces Seven New Grant Recipients from the Mobile Money for the Unbanked Programme
June 4, 2010

The GSMA announced the details of a further seven grantees from the Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) Fund, which is administered by the GSMA Foundation, Inc., with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. New grantees are Cellcard in Cambodia, Digicel in Fiji, Orange in West Africa, Safaricom in Kenya, Tata Indicom in India, Telenor in Pakistan, and Tigo in Africa.

“Just 15 months after we first announced the launch of the Mobile Money for the Unbanked Programme we are proud to announce that all funds have been committed in support of mobile money deployments across the globe,” said Gavin Krugel, Director GSMA. “Projects were chosen on their ability to deliver, speed of delivery, scale and sophistication. Between now and the end of 2011 millions of consumers are expected to directly benefit from mobile money services launched with the support of the Fund – that is 170 million customers at the base of the economic pyramid and who previously lacked access to financial services, from 19 operators in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.”

John Bracken to Direct Knight Foundation’s Digital Media Grants
June 4, 2010

As Director of New Media, Bracken will work to advance informed and engaged communities through media innovation and quality journalism.

He will lead the foundation's Knight News Challenge, an international contest to find innovative ideas that use digital platforms to help inform local communities.

"John is already a leading digital media grant maker," said Eric Newton, vice president of Knight Foundation's journalism program. "His work will only grow in impact as all news organizations seek to invent or reinvent themselves for the digital age." “In a world of constant technological and social change, it’s essential that we fund a wide range of experiments that will help point the way we will share and use information in this democracy,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation.  “Only by intense experimentation and staying open to new trends and ideas can we hope to sustainably provide communities with the information they need to function in an open society.”

Race to the Top Competition Offers Lessons for Grantmaker and Government Collaborations
June 2, 2010

New York, NY — June 2, 2010. The nation's foundation community has provided critical financial and technical support to states applying for the first round of the U.S. Department of Education's "Race to the Top" education reform competition. Yet according to Race to the Top: What Grantmakers Can Learn from the First Round, released today by the Foundation Center, the success of future collaborations will depend on government including grantmakers in the development of new policies and grantmakers being engaged, long-term partners in the process.

Under the auspices of the Foundations for Education Excellence initiative, the Foundation Center conducted interviews in March and April 2010 with foundation staff, education consultants, and government leaders who had guided the first-round application process in nine states. Key findings from these interviews include:

Walmart Foundation Launches Solar School Program With $1.2 Million Grant
June 1, 2010

CHICAGO, Ill. – May 24, 2010The Walmart Foundation today announced a $1.2 million dollar donation to the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) to install solar panels on 20 schools in five cities across the country. The five cities taking part in the program are Chicago, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Seattle.

“The Walmart Solar School program will help educate the next generation on the opportunities and benefits of using more renewable energy,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “This program aligns perfectly with Walmart’s sustainability commitment to involve our communities and customers in our environmental and social efforts.”

$45 Million Match Is Pledged
May 28, 2010

Michelle Obama on Thursday announced that five foundations — the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Omidyar Network, the Skoll Foundation, the Open Society Institute and the Benificus Foundation — would provide a total of $45 million to match the money the government plans to grant to nonprofit groups through its Social Innovation Fund, which will help expand social programs that have proven successful. More than 20 other foundations and organizations will provide an additional $5 million so that the fund will have $100 million, half in federal money, to award beginning in July.