Gimme 5: the best stories for the week of 24th February

Well, it’s Friday afternoon once again so it’s time for our weekly round-up of the best stories about philanthropy, giving, social investment and the like.

In honour of the launch of our new report “Give Me a Break, which argues that the US shouldn’t look to copy the US when it comes to charitable giving, this week’s selection has a distinctly Stateside flavour.


1) First up is this pair of stories both from the Chronicle of Philanthropy, which demonstrate why our report was timely in highlighting the inequality of the US giving environment. On the one hand we have a comment piece calling for the extension of the charitable deduction to all Americans, and on the other we have the news that the House of representatives is considering a plan to limit the deduction to those giving above 2% of their income – a move that would price a huge swathe of donors out.


2) On a more positive note is a piece in the Huffington Post, musing on what the announcement of Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp can tell us about the future of philanthropy.


3) An intriguing story this week concerned hedge fund millionaire Neil Barsky’s plan to use his philanthropic funds to launch a “non-profit, non-partisan new organisation dedicated to covering America’s Criminal Justice System“. The idea behind this is that Barsky feels that there is a great underreported scandal at the heart of the system, which commercial news organisations are unwilling or unable to address. It is fascinating for what it might say about the future of journalism and the use of philanthropy to set the media and policy agenda.


4) Moving outside the US, a fascinating and worrying story on the Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog brought to light the growing disparity in India between the way social enterprise and traditional NGOs are viewed. Whilst social enterprises are seen as almost wholly positive and above reproach, more traditional NGOs are increasingly viewed with suspicion and subjected to heavy criticism. You can read CAF’s most recent Future World Giving report for more about trust in charities.


5) And finally… returning to the US again, this article in Forbes examined the question of charitable deductions on donations of clothes (which was one of the topics I looked at in my report), with particular reference to Pharrell Williams’ attention-grabbing Grammy Award ceremony hat. Important stuff.


Rhodri Davies

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