Monday, January 15, 2007

Competing philanthropies:

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with its $30-billion-plus endowment that dwarfs all others, now dominates discussions of philanthropy, and the philanthropic experiments of young billionaires like Pierre Omidyar and Jeff Skoll are studied and mimicked.

But the Carnegie Corporation and the Rockefeller Foundation are fighting back, hoping to get more impact for their money, increase their influence and extend their legacies by changing the way they have operated for years. They are pushing to streamline their operations by eliminating internal fiefs and to improve their efficiency by increasing collaboration among staff members. (NYT)

It's ironic how charities are motivated by greed (for attention? prestige? the "number-one" label?) to compete with one another. Whatever the motivation, at least the outcome is good: more people being helped.

Later on, ranking the philanthropies by size of their endowments:

With roughly $12.5 billion in assets, the Ford institution is the country’s second largest foundation, but it is just one-third the size of the Gates Foundation. The Rockefeller Foundation is 15th or 16th in the pecking order with roughly $3.6 billion, and the Carnegie Corporation, with $2.6 billion, is no longer among the top 20.

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