For at least a decade, movers and shakers in philanthropy have been trying to persuade donors to behave more like data-driven investors. But the so-called effective-philanthropy movement suffered a significant setback last month when the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, a prominent champion of the idea, announced that it was ending an eight-year, $12 million effort to get donors to rely as much on their heads as their hearts.
MENLO PARK, Calif., November 18, 2009 — Nonprofit organizations need flexible funding to thrive, but whether a funder provides general support or underwrites a specific project depends on the compatibility of their interests, writes Paul Brest, president of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, in an essay accompanying the Foundation's recently released 2008 Annual Report.
June 3, 2009 — The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation announced a $2.5 million investment to identify promising strategies to dramatically improve college success rates, especially among those students least prepared for college-level work.
A new Foundation Center research advisory, "Grantmakers Describe the Impact of the Economic Crisis on Their Giving," examines how foundations expect their 2009 giving to be affected by the economic downturn. The advisory looks at public statements made by more than one-third of the 100 largest U.S. foundations by giving and 35 other foundation and corporate funders that have described their plans, ranging from raising payout rates to reducing administrative costs to cutting programs altogether.
Participants in the philanthropic world — from foundations and wealthy donors to the non-profit organizations that seek their support — must create a robust marketplace of information about charitable activity if they hope to increase their social impact, a newly released study has concluded.