Foundation Friday: Now that the Democrats are in power

There’s an intriguing article in the current e-newsletter issue of Nonprofit Quarterly about the likelihood that Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, now chair of House Ways and Means, will employ the committee’s oversight authority to call foundations to account for what they’re doing with all the tax-exempt money they’re sitting on.  Unlike Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, long the scourge of charities and philanthropies alike, Rangel’s likely to be concerned with how well foundations are advancing social justice and service to poor, elderly and nonwhite audiences rather than with whether they’re secretly playing liberal politics with their tax-exempt status.

The Nonprofit Quarterly article provides a quick review of foundation support of organizations that benefit poor and nonwhite constituencies, and it’s not–surprise!–a pretty picture; no matter how much the foundations talk about diversity, they still fund organizations that benefit white people overwhelmingly, and well-to-do white people at that.  Can’t wait to hear what the foundations have to say about that when Rangel schedules the hearings–and what he’ll say back. 


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