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PEAK Grantmaking

Weekly Reader – March 13, 2017

What we’re reading and recommending this week. We add to this post throughout the week and look for your suggestions in the comments.

Monday, March 13

Can a Surge in Giving Be Bad News? (Timothy Ogden , SSIR) Recent leaps in giving to specific causes in the United States probably don’t represent a net addition to the annual total—which means a lean season for many nonprofits unless foundations step up their game.

Tuesday, March 14

What’s So Special About 5%? (Alex Daniels, The Chronicle of Philanthropy) Most big foundations give little more than the law requires, a Chronicle analysis shows. Critics say they should do better.

Wednesday, March 15

Universities Face New Scrutiny Over Spending by Private Foundations (Michael Vasquez, The Chronicle of Higher Education) The cost is several thousand dollars for an alumnus, but the head of the university’s fund-raising foundation, Howard R. Lipman, billed his $3,508 travel expense to the foundation. The justification: building relationships with 16 potential university donors.

Thursday, March 16

Crowdfunding Will Change Philanthropy—But How? (Kevin Johnson, Nonprofit Quarterly) As reported on, crowdfunding generated more than $34 billion in worldwide donations, equity funding, and person-to-person lending in 2015. In North America, it’s estimated that number was $17 billion, an 82 percent increase for the most recent year’s statistics available.

Friday, March 17

Why Racial Equity? Why Now? (Keecha Harris, Center for Effective Philanthropy) In my work with foundations on environmental issues and organizational change, a question I’ve heard with increased volume over the years is: “Why should we focus on racial equity now?”


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