Foundation Friday: 5% is better than nothing

The Nonprofiteer spends a lot of time bitching about the fact that foundation giving is charity without the recipient: donors create a fund of, say, $25 million, and get credit for having made a charitable gift of that amount, but charities only actually receive $1.25 million of that in any given year–that is, 5% of the total value of the assets.  But having heard today about the Microsoft billionaire who plans to spend that same sum on a weeklong trip into space, she realizes afresh that everything is comparative and that it’s better to give away 5% of $25 million than, say, 0% of $25 million.  (Note: she also realizes that Charles Simonyi, the cosmos-trotting billionaire, has endowed a chair at Oxford, an activity that doubtless involved parting with many monies.) 

The Nonprofiteer regularly reminds clients who are hostile to fundraising and express it by being hostile to prospective donors that their choice isn’t between wonderful virtuous simpatico ultimately generous people who give money and annoying morally inferior people who give money, but between people who give money and people who don’t.  It’s always healthy to be reminded of one’s own wisdom.


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