How foundations can better serve financial needs of nonprofits

Posted on: November 10, 2009

In an editorial Monday (11/9) in the Wall Street Journal, Pablo Eisenberg, a senior fellow in the Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership at Georgetown Public Policy Institute, writes, “It’s hard to overstate the crisis facing charitable giving today. So let me just say it as plainly as I can: Much of current philanthropic giving, by foundations and individuals, neither meets the needs of our charitable organizations nor addresses some of our most urgent public needs. Foundation practices today are too bureaucratic, inflexible and cautious, and too focused on short-term objectives. Too often, the process and procedures of grant making are more tailored to the needs of foundations and their trustees than to the requirements of nonprofits. … What can foundations and others do to make a difference for the nonprofits and the people they are designed to help? Here are nine changes that would go a long way toward making philanthropy do what we all claim we want it to do.” Eisenberg’s list includes: increase the distribution percentage; increase general operating support; increase multiyear funding; adopt rolling grant making; allocate more funds to the truly needy; reach out to local groups and underserved regions; simplify application and reporting procedures; improve public accountability; and “fund the watchdogs.”

Posted November 10, 2009