How Billionaires Are Pooling Assets For A New Philanthropic Fund

Several billionaire philanthropists who signed Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s “Giving Pledge” have agreed to combine some of their resources and to develop new ideas for giving their money to philanthropic causes. Recently, Bill Gates, Richard Chandler, Jeff Skoll, Romesh Wadhwani and others have joined to launch Co-Impact, an organization committed to improving global health, education and economic inequality.

 

Giving Pledge

In 2010, billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett created the campaign “The Giving Pledge.” This campaign inspires wealthy people to donate part of their money to philanthropic causes. The pledge is not a contract but a moral agreement to give at least half of their net worth to charity, either during their lifetime or upon their death. The Giving Pledge initially had 40 donors but has increased to 158 in seven years. Over $365 billion dollars has been pledged from the most wealthy including donations by Mark Zuckerberg, David Rockefeller, and Sara Blakely.

 

Co-Impact

Co-Impact was founded due to the evolving approach to philanthropy, which connects philanthropists, non-profit organizations, government, social leaders, and the private sector to make change collectively. The group plans to connect, support and leverage to provide world-wide change. The organization has set a goal to donate at least $500 million to provide economic opportunities, advance education, and improve health for all people.

“Time is not on our side on some of the world’s most pressing issues,” Jeff Skoll, Co-Partner of Co-Impact, said. “Investing more in social entrepreneurs’ proven work allows them to accelerate their pace and reach, and enhances the possibility of achieving transformational social change sooner.”

The core of Co-Impact is to bring public and private groups together to create a “systems change.” Unfortunately, there are not many mechanisms to match leaders aiming to solve social issues with the donors and philanthropists interested in providing the right size and kinds of capital. Co-Impact wants to connect social change leaders with the donors who both share a vision to make change.

“Partnerships between social change leaders, youth, women and communities are essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General for the United Nations, said. “If we want to improve people’s health and well-being, provide education and economic opportunities for all, we must scale up solutions. Co-Impact can make a meaningful contribution to building more peaceful and prosperous societies and creating a brighter future for all.”

 

Co-Impact is committed to improving global health, education and economic inequality around the world by connecting wealthy philanthropists to social change leaders. The organization is breaking down barriers to large-scale change and improving the lives the millions.

What To Consider Before Donating To Charity This Holiday Season

The holiday season is finally here, and you can’t get your mind off your to-do list. Your list is long, as usual, but there is one thing that makes it different from other lists that you have made before: it includes giving some money to a charitable organization. You want to be a change agent and help make the world a better place. Before you give, however, be aware that there are fake charity organizations out there that want to take advantage of your generosity and compassion for others. You want to ensure your hard-earned money is benefiting a worthy cause. Here is what you should consider before you donate to a charitable organization this holiday.

Are They Legitimate?

Charity solicitations increase during holidays. Before you give, it is crucial to ensure the non-profit organizations you choose are legitimate. How can you tell if a non-profit is legit or not? The first thing you should consider is the word-of-mouth. Do your friends and colleagues know about the organization? You should also conduct research online to find out what other donors and other people say about the organization. Besides, there are also online tools that have popped up in recent years that can help you know whether or not an organization is worth donating to. Use every source possible!

Tip: Donate only to organizations that you know and have confidence in what they do and represent.

Who Runs The Organization?

Information about the people running a non-profit will also help you know if it’s worth it or not. Well-run charitable organizations are effective and have a transparent management team. Are they responsive and committed to the people they serve? How will they show you that your donations will be put to good use? Answers to these questions will help you know what you are getting yourself into.

Tip: Look at the organization’s financial records will help you know the kind of people that run the organization.

Does The Non-Profit Organization Have Tax-Exempt Status?

When giving to charity, it’s advisable to ensure your donations are tax-deductible. The best way to make sure this happens is to ensure you only deal with accepted non-profit organizations. If an organization claims to have a have tax-exempt status, don’t take their word for it. Make sure you use every resource possible to verify that information.

Tip: Check if the organization is in the IRS online charity database is the easiest way to know if it has a 501(c)(3) tax exemption.

Don’t judge a non-profit based on its name. Be bold and ask the hard questions. This way, you will identify a non-profit that will help make a difference.

Philanthropy’s Most Powerful Women 2017

In 2017, we saw the power of women grow in society like never before, and their influence in philanthropy continued to increase simultaneously. The following four women were standouts in the philanthropy community.

Melinda Gates, Co-Founder,  Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Forbes writes that Gates continues her run as the most powerful woman in philanthropy as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Her laser focus on health is having a real impact as she showed in the foundation’s first “Goalkeepers” report which presented hard metrics behind the giving. Maternal deaths in Ethiopia are down 57% since 1990 thanks, in part, to foundation efforts to get more mothers to give birth in health care facilities.

Alexandra Cohen, Co-Founder, Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation

Alex is the wife of the controversial hedge funder Steve Cohen, who commands one of the largest fortunes in finance. The Cohens focus mainly on healthcare and education, with the arts as another major interest. All signs point to continued increases. Forbes explains that while the couple is quite private, Alex is a key figure in their giving, with a backstory that helps explain why: She grew up in a low-income New York neighborhood.

Jennifer Buffett, Co-Founder, The NoVo Foundation

According to Inside Philanthropy, The NoVo Foundation that Jennifer Buffett leads may not rank among the largest foundations in the U.S., but it is one of the biggest family foundations led by a woman and it gives at a very substantial level: $56.7 million in grants in 2012 alone. And it’s only up from there, given that Warren Buffett has pledged shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock to NoVo that will ultimately total several billion dollars.

Eliza Manningham-Buller, Chair, The Wellcome Trust

Established in 1936 at the behest of pharmaceutical entrepreneur Henry Wellcome, the Wellcome Trust is now one of the biggest medical trusts in the world. The trust continues to tackle the globe’s biggest health problems, including working on a vaccine for Ebola and a potential cure for three tropical diseases. The trust announced that it’ll donate over $1 billion in 2017-18.

Female heads of nonprofits usually make less than their male counterparts. GuideStar’s 2017 Nonprofit Compensation Report found that male CEOs make 21% more than female CEOs of organizations with budgets of $50 million or more. With that in mind, it is even more important to acknowledge Melinda Gates, Alexandra Cohen, Jennifer Buffett and Eliza Manningham-Buller as 2017’s most powerful women philanthropists.

Seven Strategic Philanthropy Lessons

Although mission-based philanthropy is highly individualized, there are some broadly applicable lessons. The following seven strategic philanthropy lessons, followed correctly, will be a recipe for success in your philanthropic adventure.

1. Align Investments with Mission

Nearly $1 trillion currently sits in foundations and donor-advised funds. This money is committed to charitable missions, has received a tax deduction and can’t be returned. Each year, just 5 to 20 percent of that amount is distributed to nonprofits. The rest is usually invested for the single bottom line of financial growth.

2. Go Deep, Not Large

Donors and beneficiaries alike reward donors when they focus deeply on a scaled-down selection of meticulously chosen key concerns or will cause. Wealth Management.com explains that impact investing that uses mission-related investing, program-related investments and socially responsible investing tools can help you achieve much more bang for your philanthropic buck.

3. In Decision-making, Use Two Lenses

The Denver Post suggests that when setting philanthropic goals, donors should look through two lenses. The external lens helps us answer the question, “What are we hoping to accomplish for our community, country or world?” The internal lens helps us answer, “What am I hoping to achieve for my family, business or self by donating hard-earned money and precious time to charity?” Both questions are important. Your answers inform an effective strategy to achieve both internal and external goals through philanthropy.

4. Create a “Safe Zone” for Family Philanthropy

In most cases, philanthropy represents a small fraction of a family’s assets. Bruce Debosky recommends that you create a separate table for consideration of these assets, and invite all members of the family to sit there as equals. This is a key step toward creating a “safe zone” for improved communication about philanthropy, which can lead to more engagement, enhanced family dynamics and greater impact.

5. Give Boldly and Take Risks

People rarely donate so much to charity that they can no longer provide for themselves or their loved ones. Yet many of us can give far more than we do. Your financial advisor can help determine what you can really afford to give, and then give boldly. Taking calculated risks with grant making may be the only way to find new solutions to old problems.

6. Engage Other Stakeholders

Business stakeholders can include employees, directors, shareholders, customers, vendors, regulators, lenders and community leaders. Each stakeholder offers a different and valuable perspective on the role of the company in the community. This tactic enhances internal and external effectiveness.

7. Give While You Live

When you give while you live, you can learn about and experience the internal and external impacts of your philanthropy in real time!

Philanthropy, done well, is a powerful tool that adds joy and purpose to life and enhances business success. Follow these seven strategic philanthropy lessons and you will make the most of your philanthropic experience!

How Corporate Funders Are Stepping Up for Puerto Rico

According to Triple Pundit, after three hurricanes that have disrupted thousands of lives and generated billions of dollars in damage over the past month, many Puerto Ricans feel ignored. The military, various federal agencies, and disaster relief organizations are working to evacuate residents, distribute aid and repair damaged power grids in Puerto Rico. But private U.S. companies, including  Google, Facebook and other Silicon Valley powerhouses, are also stepping up to offer support and crucial services.

Google

CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company and its employees are planning to raise one million dollars in donations to various relief organizations including the Red Cross, World Food Program and UNICEF, to help residents of Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands get back on its feet.

Starbucks

The coffee retailer, which employs hundreds of Puerto Ricans, has pledged $250,000 for disaster recovery efforts for the island. The company has also allowed customers to make donations through its smartphone app to benefit the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

Facebook

Fortune.com writes that Facebook is donating $1.5 million to recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, with the money to be split between the World Food Program and Net Hope. Facebook also sent a “connectivity team” to Puerto Rico with emergency telecommunications support.

Apple

Apple announced that the tech giant’s “community” (which includes the company’s employees as well as customers who donate directly through the Apple App Store and iTunes) has provided more than $13 million to hurricane relief efforts in the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean, including over one million dollars for Puerto Rico.

Airbnb

The room-sharing startup has been working to provide housing for thousands of people who have been displaced by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and now Maria over the past month. Airbnb’s website offers options for users in need of shelter in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, while also providing ways for people with available housing to offer space to those who have been displaced.

Some businesses are lending a hand by providing services and donations, like food and supplies.  AT&T and T-Mobile are waiving cell phone charges to those in impacted areas. Western Union will offer free money transfers to Puerto Rico from the mainland U.S. as soon as the network on the island is stable. While PR residents may feel disappointed in the mainland’s support during this horrible time, corporate funders are stepping up with donations of not only the monetary kind but physical donations as well.

Following Your Donor Dollars: How the Money You Donate is Spent

Something catastrophic happens in the world and your first reaction is to want to help by whatever means you can. Most often, this means donating money to a relief fund or nonprofit organization so that front line work can happen at the location of the tragedy. Once the dollars leave your plastic card in your wallet, do you know exactly where they go? The truth is, there’s a lot more to the path than a direct flight from your pocket to the scene of the disaster.

Separating Emotion from Thought

Sometimes it can be difficult to separate thinking from emotion during traumatic times. People most often relate to others in hard times through sympathy and empathy, which are not tied to cerebral brain function. Conversely, investing money has lots to do with practical thought. Before you donate, do your best to take a second for critical analysis of whichever charity or vessel your money will travel through to get to the people who need it. “Is this organization healthy and functional? Does their mission resonate with me on a deep level?” If both of these questions are answered with the affirmative, proceed to donate your heart out.

Undesignated Funds for the Win

Pro tip: If given the option, let your donation stay undesignated rather than choosing a specific job for it. For example, if there are multiple projects as options for donating and another pool that says the foundation can do as they see fit with the money, choose the latter. By entrusting your donation to the organization, they can direct it toward whichever program is in the highest demand at that moment. Allowing this freedom means that your dollar will go as far as it possibly can.

Advantages to Donating Money vs. Supplies

Once the organization receives your money, it is turned into a grant and utilized for project purposes. Often, especially if you allowed your donation to stay unrestricted, your dollar goes a lot further than it would if you had spent it and donated physical supplies. Nonprofits and charities often get special discounts at stores that allow them to purchase much needed supplies cheaply in bulk so that they can be re-packaged and distributed to people that need them.

Thanks to people like you, victims of tragedies can get the support they need following an unfortunate event. By understanding the process of donation, you maximize your contribution.

The Most Influential Nonprofit Organizations

In the wake of the natural disasters that have occurred over the last few months, nonprofit organizations are important. These organizations strive to make an impact by helping people. If you are looking to donate your time or finances, here is a look at the top nonprofit organizations in the World.

National 4H Council

4H is one of the most historic land grant universities in the World. 4H has a large mentoring and development organization. National 4H Council emphasizes public service and strives to help out communities. The National 4H Council has positively impacted millions of young people through its large network of volunteers.

PBS

The Public Broadcasting Services have reached multiple generations of people through their intriguing, high quality programs. PBS hopes to positively influence people regardless of their gender, socioeconomic status, or race. The famous home of Reading Rainbow, Barney, and Sesame Street, PBS Kids is available to everyone free of charge.

TED

The Technology, Education, and Design nonprofit organization was founded by Richard Wurmah. TED was originally a conference for people who wanted to establish new relationships. Today, TED strives to increase awareness about commerce, innovation, and society.

The Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation is made up of many volunteer organized projects that strive to help communities. The Rotary Club is actively backed by more than a million people. The Rotary Foundation uses their funds to create grants that start neighborhood cleanups, among other initiatives.

United Nations Children’s Fund

UNICEF is committed to the health of every child in the World. UNICEF strives to make sure that every child receives the proper education and nutrition. The organization sets aside billions of dollars to go towards medical supplies and services to make sure that every child receives the necessary vaccines.

Human Rights Watch

The Human Rights Watch is made up of hundreds of lawyers, journalists, and other experts around the World who investigate information about the global outlook. The Human Rights Watch issues multiple reports and briefings throughout the year. The Human Rights Watch works with different financial institutions, government officials, and corporations.

Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is one of the most famous environmental organizations in The World. The Sierra Club promotes clean energy, and has helped pass the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.

The Destructive 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season

The 2017 hurricane season is one for the record books. The National Hurricane Center has described it as an “extremely active season,” for it has produced more major hurricanes than any season since 2005. There have so far been 15 named storms – and the season doesn’t end until November 30.

A storm is a weather event in which the wind speed exceeds 39 miles per hour (mph). A storm becomes a hurricane when its wind speed exceeds 74 mph. Hurricanes, as many people now know, are further categorized by the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale that ranks hurricanes by their sustained wind speed from Category 1 to Category 5. A major hurricane is Category 3 or above.

So far, there have been ten hurricanes, with the first, Franklin, forming on August 7. Six of those ten, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Lee, Maria and Ophelia were major hurricanes.

Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm, was the first major hurricane of the season, and it made landfall on August 25 near Corpus Christie, Texas. It then went back into the Gulf Coast, where it picked up a lot more moisture. Harvey then made a second landfall near Louisiana’s border and dumped over four feet of rain on Houston and the surrounding area. Harvey is thus the worst rainfall disaster in US history. Most of the 82 people who perished had died trying to escape the flooding.

Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Katia all developed in the Atlantic basin at more or less the same time. The last season to have three simultaneous hurricanes was 2010. The current season, however, stepped up its game by being the first recorded to have two Category 4+ hurricanes developing together. It set another record by having three major hurricanes (Harvey, Irma and Jose) in a row.

Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, was one of the most powerful storms in history with a sustained windspeed of 185. After thrashing several Caribbean islands, it made landfall on Florida on September 10 as a Category 4 storm. It plowed through the entire state and did not dissipate until reaching Georgia. Roughly 95 of the buildings on the islands Barbuda and St. Martin were destroyed.

Hurricane Jose, a Category 4 storm, never made landfall. Instead, it tore up along the US East Coast bringing powerful winds, heavy rain and dangerous surf.

Hurricane Katia was the weakest of the trio of hurricanes and made landfall on Mexico as a Category 1 storm on September 8. Three people were still killed.

Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm, demolished many of the same Caribbean islands that had been struck by Irma a few weeks earlier. It destroyed Puerto Rico’s electric grid leaving the entire island without power.

The most recent major hurricane, Ophelia, was a Category 3 storm that brushed by Spain, stirring up wildfires, before making landfall on Ireland on October 16. The last time an equally powerful hurricane hit Ireland was in 1961.

What is the Center for Disaster Preparedness

If you are like millions of people around the world, you watched in horror as Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath tore up Texas and Louisiana. Many individuals were moved like the members of the Cajun Navy to move into the area to provide immediate help while thousands were moved to donate their hard-earned money to help victims. Most of the giving came within a week of the disaster and almost 80 percent of donations will come in the first month. Yet, recovery is a long-term process. As of September 12, 2017, 692,030 people had applied for federal emergency disaster help through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Who is the Center for Disaster Preparedness?

Nearly everyone who opened their Facebook and Google accounts to be confronted with a request for donations. Facebook even announced that they would match donors pledges up to $1 million. Those donations went to a Washington D.C.-based think-tank called the Center for Disaster Preparedness led by Bob Ottenhoff that has been in operation since 2012. In 2016, this organization operated on a seven-person staff with a $4.4 million budget. This is the first time that the organization will handle anywhere near the amount of donations they are likely to receive. In addition to providing funding for organizations working on hurricane relief, the group assists with disaster funding for lesser-covered events like the severe flooding in Asia.

What Does the Center for Disaster Preparedness Do?

Storm victims are unlikely to recognize this nonprofit in the immediate wake of the hurricane. In fact, they may never recognize the name because this organization is not aiming to do hands-on relief. Instead, it is a clearinghouse that will distribute funds to organizations that are providing relief now and far into the future. It is the goal of Center for Disaster Preparedness to identify unmet needs and encourage organizations to meet those needs. The center takes only 5 percent of donated funds to cover their administrative costs, and it allows donors to determine what disaster their donations will help fund. The first funds will not be distributed for two to six months after Hurricane Harvey wrecked havoc as it came on land at Rockport, Texas.

Who Directs the Center for Disaster Preparedness?

Robert Ottenhoff is the Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Disaster Preparedness who is the former director of GuideStar. Regina A. Webster is the vice president of the center. In addition to working with FEMA, she has managed the emergency portfolio for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month & How You Can Help

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer sometime in their life. Such a prevalent condition deserves as much publicity and attention as possible. Take the initiative this October to donate, become a corporate partner, contribute to the Art of Hope Gala, or utilize social media to educate and share your story.

Donate

By donating to the cause, you help a multitude of different people. Educational resources are created and utilized as prevention tools to provide information about breast cancer to people who otherwise may not have access to it. Your donation helps provide free mammograms to members of the public who are in need, so that breast cancer diagnosis can begin early and coincide with effective treatments. Otherwise, the same individuals risk being diagnosed later on in the cancer progression and met with less probability of remission, or worse. Patient navigation programs to help people through treatment are another objective of donated funds. This sort of support is invaluable to patients and family members alike. Fortunately, eighty percent of funds go directly to programs rather than to administrative support or overhead. You’ll rest assured that your donation is making as big an impact as possible.

Corporate Partnership

By establishing a partnership to support breast cancer awareness, you are establishing trust in your organization. Most of the general public is likely to buy from a company with strong moral values. By investing in breast cancer awareness, you are proving exactly that. Employees will be inspired by your organization’s social commitment to the cause.

Art of Hope Gala

By sponsoring or attending the gala in March in Dallas, Texas, you are demonstrating support and commitment to an enormously important cause. Thanks to your participation, more people will have access to the medical and social supports they need to stay healthy and happy.

Social Media

Engage with your community on social media to educate others about the importance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Utilize images, text, and infographics to spread the word. Pink ribbons and inspiring messages are both symbols of the ongoing fight against breast cancer that are simple to work into existing conversations. Sharing a story about yourself or a loved one who is battling breast cancer or has survived it lets people know that the condition is real, serious, and beatable. Your words matter; use them to empower the people around you.

Truly, there are lots of ways to participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Take your pick, engage your audience, and teach people why October matters.