Philanthropy Roundup: January 2018

Bill and Melinda Gates Philanthropy Donors
Bill and Melinda Gates were among those who made the largest private donations in 2017.

If you’re a philanthropist, your schedule might make it hard to keep up with the latest news, topics and emerging trends in the world of giving back.

That’s why we’re making it easier for you to stay current.

Our “Philanthropy Roundup” posts highlight stories – at the local and national level – that are valuable to our readers and will keep you up to date in the world of philanthropy. Check out the articles below.

Philanthropy Roundup

The 10 Largest Charitable Donations Of 2017
Forbes – Philanthropy
Every year, billions of dollars find their way from the pockets of the very wealthy to the coffers of needy institutions and philanthropic organizations. Looking back, 2017 proved to be a prolific year for individual acts of giving. In 2016, the ten biggest charitable gifts totaled $4.3 billion. This past year the total came to a whopping $10.2 billion.

How to Write Off Donations Under the New Tax Plan: Consider ‘Bunching’
The New York Times
Under the new tax plan approved by Congress, the standard deduction will rise to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples. That means people who are close to the cutoff may stop giving altogether, as they may no longer see tax savings from their giving. Or they might consider pooling their gifts in certain years – or “bunching – to beat the expanded standard amount and maximize their tax savings through itemization.

Helping Impact Investing Live Up to Its Promise
The Chronicle of Philanthropy
The “energy and excitement” surrounding impact investing has often not translated into the kind of real-world results its backers aim to achieve. But co-founder and CEO of the Global Impact Investing Network, Amit Bouri, says his organization is working on improvements that could make impact investing a “transformative” force on issues like housing, the environment, and sustainable agriculture.

$30M Record Gift Will Jumpstart a New Children’s Zoo, Opening in 2021
The San Diego Union Tribune
A new $69 million Children’s Zoo with a treehouse, supersized beehive, meandering streams and suspension bridges was announced Friday by the San Diego Zoo, along with a $30 million naming gift for what will be its costliest project yet.

Putting Wealth to Work: Philanthropy for Today or Investing for Tomorrow?
Philanthropy News Digest
In Putting Wealth to Work: Philanthropy for Today or Investing for Tomorrow?, social sector veteran Joel L. Fleishman examines the two sides of the question, finding strengths and weaknesses in both approaches and ultimately concluding that the correct answer is not either/or but both/and. In arriving at that conclusion, he also provides readers with an overview of modern American philanthropy, including the fairly recent advent of the Giving Pledge and the growing popularity of funder collaboratives; a brief history of limited-life foundations, and a framework for critically evaluating this evergreen conundrum.