Changing Our World

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Buzz is Changing Our World's news and commentary blog, covering the latest stories and updates in the world of philanthropy.

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April 08, 2008

News Briefing: Research on Worst Skin Cancer Struggling

  • The McCune Foundation's wealth, tied to stock in National City, plummets, hampering its ability to help nonprofits in the Pittsburgh area.  [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]
  • Traditional microlenders voice disapproval of market-oriented model of microfinance, with its emphasis on investor returns.  [New York Times]
  • Rare diseases struggle against more common killers in the race for funding research studies.  [Associated Press]

October 23, 2006

The Humanities vs. The Humanitarians

Where Most Needed: The Wall Street Journal offers a free article reporting on efforts of major cultural institutions to attract new donors from young and the wealthy ("Hunger vs. the Arts" by Jacob Hale Russell). The reporter wants us to believe that high profile humanitarian causes favored by the likes of Bill Gates & Angelina Jolie are crowding out traditional cultural giving. But even the lead of the article doesn't support that claim:  the rich young philanthropist Michael Tennenbaum just gave $10 million to three universities and sits on the national board of the Boys & Girls Club of America (along with Hank Aaron & Denzel Washington).  No Africa trips for this guy—it's still higher education and kids that drive his giving.

October 17, 2006

Charity Is Selfish: The Economic Case Against Philanthropy

Slate: ...the closer you look at charitable giving, the less charitable it appears to be. A recent experiment by John List, an economist at the University of Chicago, and a team of colleagues, showed that donations are less than magnanimous after all. Using controlled trials to compare different methods of door-to-door fund-raising, professor List's team discovered that it was much more effective to raise funds by selling lottery tickets than it was to raise funds by asking for money. This hardly suggests a world populated by altruists seeking to do the maximum good with their charitable cash. More effective still was simply to make sure that the fund-raisers were attractive white girls rather than a dowdier assortment of males and females representing all shapes, races, and sizes. This dramatically increased the average contribution, because many more men decided to give money. Altruism?

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