Philanthropy UK: Letter from America

from Philanthropy UK’s December newsletter, by Melissa Berman

December 16, 2009
Two powerful forces in the US have combined to forge a renewed awareness of how and why the public sector and private philanthropy can connect.

First, of course, is the steep economic recession and the painfully obvious toll it’s taking on many people. Even with recovering equity markets, unemployment in the US is at historic highs, with low expectation for rapid relief. According to recent figures, nearly 15% of Americans are going hungry or worrying about where their next meal will be. Community feeding programmes face longer and longer lines – while donations of both food and money are dropping. Credit remains tight, even for sound borrowers, and by some estimates a quarter of American homeowners are behind on their mortgage payments. Fifty million Americans now lack health insurance, and medical bills are a rising reason for bankruptcy.

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Philanthropists Set Spending Deadlines

The Wall Street Journal
May 21, 2009
By Shelly Banjo

A growing number of philanthropists are adopting spending deadlines and sunset provisions to ensure urgent global needs are addressed in a timely way.

By granting the entirety of funds within a certain period of time, these charitable efforts are looking to have a bigger immediate impact than traditional foundations, which are typically set up to last forever and pay out roughly 5% of assets a year.

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