Altruism Today

Peter Buffett on The Charitable-Industrial Complex

July 27th, 2013  |  Source:

Early on in our philanthropic journey, my wife and I became aware of something I started to call Philanthropic Colonialism. I noticed that a donor had the urge to “save the day” in some fashion. People (including me) who had very little knowledge of a particular place would think that they could solve a local problem. Whether it involved farming methods, education practices, job training or business development, over and over I would hear people discuss transplanting what worked in one setting directly into another with little regard for culture, geography or societal norms.

Often the results of our decisions had unintended consequences; distributing condoms to stop the spread of AIDS in a brothel area ended up creating a higher price for unprotected sex.

But now I think something even more damaging is going on.

Read the whole NYT Op-Ed here:

IKEA develops flat pack REFUGEE CAMPS designed to replace tented cities in disaster zones

July 8th, 2013  |  Source: Daily Mail

·       Innovative flat pack refugee shelters from IKEA will be headed for war zones

·       They come equipped with solar panels, good insulation and high ceilings

·       Shelters will be tested by Somali, Iraqi and Lebanese refugees

Swedish furniture giant IKEA is now expanding its reach into a new frontier - warzones.

With its innovative flat pack shelters, now even refugees will be experiencing IKEA's self-assembly living.

Through its charitable arm, the IKEA foundation, it has developed an alternative to the basic refugee tent.

It is hoped they will make desperate conditions for refugees around the world more bearable.

IKEA, along with other refugee aid organisations, believe the flat pack camps could be the solution for the world's shifting refugee populations.

The new structure comes equipped with solar panels, insulation and a ceiling high enough for people to stand up in.

Many of the current refugee camps have a life span of as little as six months before the impact of sun, rain and wind means they need to be replaced. 

However, refugees usually stay in camps for several years.

The foundation has teamed up with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Refugee Housing Unit to design and build a better home for refugee families.

Once assembled, they look like a canvas shed.

Read more:

The promising nonprofit quarterly, Boom

June 26th, 2013  |  Source: Columbia Journalism Review

A Journal of California, aims to bridge academia and journalism, reach beyond California—and stay afloat.

Nonprofit journalism is now central to the American national news ecosystem; ProPublica, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and the Center For Public Integrity, among others, regularly make distribution agreements with major media organizations that give them enormous reach.

For example, when CNN recently lambasted a cancer charity that raised millions of dollars, most of which went to fundraising and administrative costs rather than cancer patients, it was doing so in partnership with and largely on the strength of reporting by the Tampa Bay Times and CIR, both of which are nonprofits. And this is not to mention the burgeoning ranks of serious local and regional nonprofit news enterprises, from theTexas Tribune (see CJR’s recent piece on the Trib) to the Voice of San Diego to Minnpost and beyond.

New Features to Boost Nonprofit Financial Management

June 19th, 2013  |  Source: Wallace Foundation – a free collection of tools, how-tos, articles and other features to help nonprofits become "fiscally fit" – is adding videos to the mix.

Check out these new features: In a series of video shorts, two executives explain why financial management matters to nonprofits and what financial management steps are particularly important to take. A brief video report shows how two nonprofits looked for – and found – new ways to raise revenue.

The series of videos can be viewed here:

To make the most of StrongNonprofits, please consider joining a free webinarintroduction to the site on Tuesday June 25, from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM E.D.T.

For the webinar sign-up:

StrongNonprofits was created by The Wallace Foundation and consultant Fiscal Management Associates.

Their videos – and all their knowledge products – are free of charge.

Let them know what you think of them at:










Tap the power of travel to drive donations

June 15th, 2013  |  Source: Mitch-Stuart

Looking for new and creative non profit fundraising ideas that build loyalty among current donors, attract new ones, and generate a steady stream of incremental revenue? All without spending a cent? Or using up valuable staff time? Then consider Perfect Places—innovative non profit fundraising ideas that make it simple for businesses to offer attractive travel packages to employees and customers for the benefit of non profit organizations like yours. • It's a proven way to raise funds. Your organization receives a portion of the proceeds from every trip purchased through Mitch-Stuart, Inc. • It's a valued employee benefit. Your corporate partners can offer employees and customers the chance to buy or bid on hundreds of dream vacation packages at special charity rates. • It's a money-saving travel program. Your partners' employees get preferred rates on fabulous travel packages at the same time they give back to a worthy cause—yours. Why Perfect Places? • Build donor loyalty • Expand your donor base • Establish stronger relationships • Create a nonstop revenue stream • Gain free publicity • Increase your visibility • Reduce administrative burdens Download more Perfect Places information Download the Perfect Places PowerPoint Presentation

The Affordable Care Act Meets IRS in Climate of Scandal

June 9th, 2013  |  Source: NPQ

The unfortunate IRS controversy has given new life to critics of the Affordable Care Act due to the IRS’s role in the implementation of healthcare reform.

Almost overnight, diehard critics of “Obamacare” have begun to fret publicly about the ability of the Service to meet its obligations to carry out the program, giving Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) more Republican plaudits for his prediction that the implementation of the ACA could be a “train wreck“ than he has heard from his friends across the aisle since he became the Democratic negotiator for tax cuts during the Bush Administration.

With the focus on four or five supposed scandals diverting the attention of the press and the public—and, not least, the nonprofit sector—from the Affordable Care Act, it is no surprise that apprehensions are increasing and reliable information decreasing about the emerging contours of national healthcare reform.

Two specific elements of the Affordable Care Act have been enveloped in the Washington climate of controversy and scandal, both with components significant to the nonprofit sector. But these ACA-related scandals are only so much smoke, being stoked by critics of national healthcare reform, without much kindling to ignite a broader fire.

The Role of the IRS in the ACA: Assigned or Usurped? Rick Cohen’s article asks, read his take here:

New Report: 50 worst charities in America

June 6th, 2013  |  Source: CIRonline

Many charities nationwide are turning donations that were intended for paralyzed veterans, dying children and cancer victims into huge profits for private fundraising companies.

Nearly $1 billion has been collected in the name of charity but diverted elsewhere in the past decade, according to a yearlong investigation by the Tampa Bay Times and California-based The Center for Investigative Reporting, the nation’s largest and longest serving nonprofit newsroom dedicated to watchdog journalism. CNN joined the partnership in March.

The results of the investigation are chronicled in the series – America’s Worst Charities – that will start publishing online today at and
The series also will publish June 9, 10, and 16 in the Tampa Bay Times. CNN will air broadcast reports on June 13 during the AC360 show at 8 pm and 10 pm ET.

The series identifies the nation’s 50 worst charities based on the huge amount of money they have paid for-profit solicitors over the past decade. These charities spend just a few pennies of every dollar raised on the needy. In some cases, more than 90 percent of the money
raised went to the telemarketing firm. Until now, the public has had no way to know where their money has gone.

Find out the 50 worst charities in America by the list of the charities at

Bill Gates And Bono: 'Partners In Crime' Discuss Their Collaboration For Good

June 6th, 2013  |  Source: Forbes

The richest man in the world and the biggest rock star in the world made a rare joint appearance Wednesday at the second annual Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy, discussing the genesis of their partnership, friendship and their goals as they work together going forward.
Bill Gates and Bono joined approximately 150 billionaires, near-billionaires, philanthropist and leading social entrepreneurs, as well as two Nobel Peace Prize winners, all of whom spent the day sharing ideas and seeking solutions to extreme poverty.
And what did this duo have to say? Over the course of a free-wheeling hour, which I moderated and encompassed more than a half-dozen questions from others in the room, ranging from Paul Tudor Jones II to Indian billionaire Prakash Hindura, quite a lot.

View the video here:

Coalition of Investors Voices Support for Conflict Minerals Rule

June 4th, 2013  |  Source: Social Funds

Expressing their disagreement with a lawsuit filed by the US Chamber of Commerce and industry trade groups, the group states that improved disclosure and reporting on social risk factors will protect investors.

A coalition of more than 50 sustainable investor groups representing $459 billion under management have issued a statement of support for the Security and Exchange Commission's rule mandating disclosure of the presence of conflict minerals in corporate supply chains. 

Included in the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation passed in 2010, the rule was finally implemented by the SEC last August and requires that companies begin providing disclosure on the issue this year. However, the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and the Business Roundtable filed a lawsuit shortly afterward, arguing that implementation would amount to an overly burdensome cost to companies. 

In November, multi-stakeholder group led by the Responsible Sourcing Network spoke out strongly in favor of the rule, urging "all stakeholders to continue the important work underway to address the critical issue of transparency in the supply chains for these minerals." 

"We strongly believe these efforts are a matter of corporate social responsibility," the group stated. 

The signatories to the Investor Statement include members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), signatories to the United Nations' Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment

Noting that conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has resulted in more than five million deaths and "contributed to egregious human rights abuses," the coalition stated, "As investors and fiduciaries with a long-term view of capital appreciation that must meet the interests of multiple generations of beneficiaries, we believe it is important to protect investors through improved disclosure and reporting on social risk factors such as labor practices and human rights." 

Designer Uses Fashion to Save the Culture of South Sudan Nomadic Cattle Camps

May 30th, 2013  |  Source: Obakki Foundation

The Obakki Foundation’s Founder and Creative Director Treana Peake sees a strong connection between fashion and the ancient culture of South Sudan cattle camps. In fact, her newPreserved in Time collection is inspired by the shades, colours and shadows of the very cattle camps she is working to save. 

Peake, an active philanthropist, mother and wife, heads up The Obakki Foundation, a unique non-profit based in Vancouver. At The Obakki Foundation, fashion is used as the main fundraising vehicle and Peake and her team use creative campaigns and authentic storytelling to engage and inspire consumers to support their projects. And 100 per cent of net profits go to the charitable work being done. Not a part of the profits, not a percentage – all of it. To date, they have raised close to $2.5 million for initiatives focused on providing education and clean water for communities in urgent need in South Sudan and Cameroon.

Proceeds from the Preserved in Time collection will build water wells for the nomadic people of the cattle camps in the far-reaching corners of South Sudan. Clean water is a valuable resource that is in such short supply in the region that it is considered a crisis. The people of these camps are being forced into conflict with each other over access to water needed to sustain their people and their cattle. They are the last truly preserved society to roam the African terrain alongside their revered cattle. With 80% of the internal conflict in South Sudan emanating from these battling cattle camps, there are political threats to dissolve the camps, extinguishing this culture’s ancient way of life.

To better understand the challenges being faced by these historically significant cattle camps and to hear from the tribespeople themselves about the negative effects of the water crisis on their youth, their culture and their way of life, please watch the five-minute video of Peake’s recent visit to South Sudan:

At a cost of $10,000 per well, Peake is hopeful that their focus on building wells will help to alleviate the growing conflicts between the cattle camp tribes. “With the provision of water, we hope we can help these cattle camps create a sustainable framework for peace, health and growth,” said Peake. “The people purchasing an item from the Obakki collection get a stylish piece that has a very real connection to the culturally significant nomadic cattle camps. Tribespeople get fresh water and a chance at a peaceful, sustainable existence.” She added: “We’ve been told by customers that these items are conversation starters, since each piece reflects the world that the cattle camp tribes have lived in for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.” 

About Value News Network

Value is the only commonality in an increasingly complex, challenging and interdependent world.
Laurance Allen: Editor + Publisher

Connect with Us