With Charity For All: Why Charities Are Failing and a Better Way to Give
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Each year, the average American household donates almost $2700 to charity. Yet, most donors know little about the American charitable sector and the nonprofit organizations they support. In With Charity For All, former NPR CEO Ken Stern exposes a field that few know: 1.1 million organizations, 10% of the national workforce, and $1.5 trillion in annual revenues. He chronicles the many flaws in the charity system, from tax-exempt charities such as bowl games, roller derby leagues, and beer festivals, to charitable hospitals that pay their executives into the millions, to--worst of all--organizations that raise millions of dollars without ever cracking the problem they have pledged to solve.
With Charity For All provides an unflinching look at the philathropic sector but also offers an inspiring prescription for individual giving and widespread reform.
appropriately allocated among the many purposes, organizations and institutions which depend on private support.”31 For Rockefeller, the commission’s challenge was to develop new institutions that could answer such questions and create common rules for the charitable sector. These were knotty problems fraught with political challenges for a commission that included liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, representatives of business, government, academia, the foundation world,
current definition of charity while claiming tens of billions of dollars each year in tax benefits. In this chapter, we will look at two segments of the charitable sector that once operated as charities but now are indistinguishable from for-profit businesses. We will also examine organizations that are widely accepted as charities but fail the second of the two key elements that define charitable service, serving the community at large. These stories of “uncharitable charities” reveal a
living—research, analyze, and recommend the best investment opportunities. Throughout the late summer and fall, the group met regularly in a conference room at Bridgewater to discuss their findings; in between sessions they searched the Web for data and called and asked for information from a vast number of charities. They discovered that the Charity Navigator rankings were unhelpful, as they were based largely on ratios of overhead to programmatic spending that they quickly realized had no
Gulfstream III, a $37 million jet off the showroom floor.16 Church-related organizations are also susceptible to a particular form of brotherhood, the practice of putting entire families on the organizational payroll. The Trinity Broadcasting Network, which describes itself as the world’s largest faith network, employs four members of the Crouch family in senior positions with salaries collectively topping $1 million each year. While all these churches’ practices have from time to time drawn the
are evenly divided between those who find those conditions unacceptable and enraging and those who accept those conditions as reasonable trade-offs for free medical care. 4. Jason Grotto and Bruce Japsen, “Are Hospitals Passing Off Their Low-Profit Patients?,” Chicago Tribune, April 10, 2009. 5. Lucette Lagnado, “Twenty Years and Still Paying—Jeanette White Is Long Dead but Her Hospital Bill Lives On; Interest Charges, Legal Fees,” Wall Street Journal, March 13, 2003. 6. Lucette Lagnado,