March 2022

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Friends in Philanthropy: March 2022 Issue


You probably know it’s a good idea to double-check a charity’s ratings when you’re planning a gift. But do you know the difference between the various charity ratings sites?

Here’s a quick breakdown:

This month we’re wrapping up our two-part series on using charity ratings to make more informed decisions as a donor. Click the first article below for lots more details on what ratings systems like Charity Navigator’s actually tell you.


The Ultimate Guide to Charity Ratings for Donors: Part 2 (Friends in Philanthropy) – Which sites are some of the most popular to check before making a gift? And how do you actually interpret those ratings, anyway? Here’s what you need to know.

Meet the Couple Who Rented an Entire Hotel for Ukrainian Refugees (BBC) – A logistics manager and a police officer living in the U.K. felt they had to help. So they found a closed hotel in their native Poland and started raising funds to rent it.

Most People Plan Their Giving at Year’s End. But That’s Exactly Backwards. (Forbes) – Donations surge in December because of Christmas and the end of the tax year. But you can boost your impact (and your tax benefit) by planning your giving right now.

Russian Oligarchs Have Some Asking: What Should Philanthropy Do With Tainted Money? (Town & Country) – The invasion of Ukraine is putting some charitable institutions in a bind: are they complicit with “reputation laundering”?

The ‘Year of Catastrophic Hunger’ Just Got More Catastrophic (Philanthropy News Digest) – The UN was already warning 2022 would be a dire year for hunger. Then Russia invaded Ukraine. Now supply chain problems, inflation, and diverted attention may make things much worse.


Photos courtesy of Unsplash.

Kinship United often posts content and opinions that are of interest to the philanthropic community that supports Kinship United’s mission. Nothing published by Kinship United constitutes an investment recommendation, nor should any data or content published by Kinship United be solely relied upon for any investment, tax, legal or financial decisions. Kinship United strongly recommends that you perform your own independent research and/or speak with a qualified investment professional before making any financial decisions.

January 2022

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Friends in Philanthropy: January 2022 Issue


“If you are feeling off, maybe you need to give some of yourself away each week.”

– Author Jamie Ivey on the healing power of volunteering

A sad consequence of the pandemic is that churches have seen steep volunteering declines in the last two years. But that’s not what scares church leaders the most.

They know the real danger isn’t a temporary volunteering dip. It’s what happens if things stay that way. That kind of interruption in the volunteer pipeline could set back a church’s work by decades if it becomes permanent.

So in this month’s issue, you’ll see how pastors are attacking the problem with all they’ve got. Because this story has resonance for people interested in philanthropy, too: it shows that returning to normal won’t just happen by magic. If we ever want to truly heal, we all have to pitch in to help.


Church Leaders Are Still Waiting for Volunteers to Come Back (Christianity Today) – Church volunteering plummeted to new lows in the pandemic—and they’re still stuck there. Now pastors wonder where and how they’ll find recruits.

Person signing forms

What’s a 990 Form and Why Does It Matter? (The Conversation) – Ever wondered how sites like Charity Navigator get their info? A charity accounting expert explains how one simple disclosure form can help you spot well-run nonprofits.

Young children in a classroom

Children in Uganda Are Finally Back in School. Now What? (BBC) – The world’s longest pandemic school shutdown is over after nearly two years. But many worry students will struggle to catch up, especially after a new UN report on the world’s “nearly insurmountable” learning loss.

Cropped picture of a pile of money

Forbes Names the Top 25 Givers in America (Forbes) – Some familiar faces lead this list of top philanthropists by lifetime giving. But most who took the Giving Pledge still have a long way to go.

An App Also Named ‘Wordle’ Is Raking in Money. The Creator Is Giving It Away. (Mashable) – Developer Steven Cravotta was shocked when his years-old app spiked in popularity because of a coincidence. Now he’s sharing the wealth.


Photos courtesy of Unsplash.

Kinship United often posts content and opinions that are of interest to the philanthropic community that supports Kinship United’s mission. Nothing published by Kinship United constitutes an investment recommendation, nor should any data or content published by Kinship United be solely relied upon for any investment, tax, legal or financial decisions. Kinship United strongly recommends that you perform your own independent research and/or speak with a qualified investment professional before making any financial decisions.

December 2021

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Friends in Philanthropy: December 2021 Issue


“My daughter told me she would rather be the kind of person who got scammed out of $70 than the kind of person who didn’t help a mama and her baby sleep in a warm place.”

– An anonymous parent describing a young woman’s
spontaneous act of kindness

If you’re looking for insights on the strategic side of philanthropy, you’ll find plenty in this month’s issue: financial trends to anticipate in 2022, lessons from the Haiti missionary kidnapping, and ideas for knitting your workplace back together by planning volunteer events.

But even the most analytical donor sometimes feels the impulse to cut out all the contemplation and just help someone in need on a whim. So for our final issue of the year, we’re also pointing you to 5 stories of philanthropists who were suddenly moved to perform acts of kindness for strangers without all the fuss.

We hope their experiences serve as a reminder that underneath all the chatter about tax law and expense ratios lies the true beating heart of philanthropy: the very human, very divine urge to lend a hand when you see someone hurting.


Get Inspired by These 5 Stories of Spontaneous Generosity (National Christian Foundation) – Yes, it’s wise to plan your giving. But sometimes you just want to do something kind on a whim—like stage an impromptu grocery trip to feed 600 people!

9 Trends That Will Shape Philanthropy in 2022 (Giving USA) – Nimbler planning, smarter measuring, and DAF growth galore. Here’s what donors and nonprofits will be talking about next year.

Habitat For Humanity’s First 3D-Printed House Gave This Family a Very Merry Christmas (CNN) – April Stringfield and her son got to move into their first home just in time for the holidays. Good thing it only took 12 hours to build.

What Should We Learn From the Haiti Missionary Crisis? (The Better Samaritan) – Thanks to a miraculous escape from their captors, all 17 kidnapped missionaries are now home safe. But what does this tragic situation mean for the future?

Reconnect Your Staff And Restore Culture Through Philanthropy (Forbes) – The rise of remote work makes team-building activities more important than ever. Here’s how your company can benefit by organizing to do good.


Photos courtesy of Unsplash.

Kinship United often posts content and opinions that are of interest to the philanthropic community that supports Kinship United’s mission. Nothing published by Kinship United constitutes an investment recommendation, nor should any data or content published by Kinship United be solely relied upon for any investment, tax, legal or financial decisions. Kinship United strongly recommends that you perform your own independent research and/or speak with a qualifying investment professional before making any financial decisions.

September 2021

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Friends in Philanthropy: September 2021 Issue


“Just ask them how we as funders can be helpful to them,
and you’ll get some really interesting answers.”

– Foundation president Philip Li on a simple mindset shift
that defines “trust-based philanthropy”

Donors have a tough job. On the one hand, they want to ensure they’re maximizing the impact of their giving. On the other, they know attaching too many conditions to their support can actually backfire by forcing nonprofits to jump through hoops to get it.

But as you’ll see in this month’s issue, there’s no shortage of smart people working on this dilemma. Over at the Stanford Social Innovation Review, you’ll hear experts discuss how to balance “strategic giving” and “trust-based philanthropy,” two philosophies that seem almost opposite until you learn how to integrate them.

And elsewhere, you’ll find more tips for boosting your impact, from setting up a donation-matching campaign to tying philanthropy in with your business.

So if there’s one overarching theme this month, it’s that effective support doesn’t just happen—you have to will your way there with your wits and your wisdom.


Line graph showing increase

Why You Should Sponsor a Donation-Matching Challenge (Charity Navigator) – An experienced donor explains how matching challenges have increased the effect of his family’s giving by up to 1200%.

A set table

Getting Into Family Philanthropy? You Might Have to “Set a New Table” (Wealth Management) – Before your multi-generational project can succeed, you may need to rethink some ingrained family dynamics. Here are 3 steps you can take.

A video play button

How A YouTube Star Turned Viral Views Into Hurricane Aid—and Vice Versa (Dexerto) – In the wake of Ida, mega-popular YouTuber MrBeast distributed thousands of free meals to survivors in Louisiana. How does he fund his philanthropy? By filming it, of course.

A spilled jar of coins

Philanthropic Tie-Ins Don’t Have to Cost a Fortune (Forbes) – Give time off for volunteering. Train nonprofit staff. Here are 10 ways small businesses can support good causes without jeopardizing their financial health.

A man explaining information on a white board

AUDIO: Understanding Trust-Based Philanthropy and Strategic Giving (Stanford Social Innovation Review) – How should donors view their role? “Trust-based philanthropy” and “strategic giving” offer different answers, but these experts agree combining them gives you the best of both worlds. (20-minute podcast.)


Photos courtesy of Unsplash.

Kinship United often posts content and opinions that are of interest to the philanthropic community that supports Kinship United’s mission. Nothing published by Kinship United constitutes an investment recommendation, nor should any data or content published by Kinship United be solely relied upon for any investment, tax, legal or financial decisions. Kinship United strongly recommends that you perform your own independent research and/or speak with a qualifying investment professional before making any financial decisions.

July 2021

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Friends in Philanthropy: July 2021 Issue


“She’s the kind of person that, when she gets
into a project, she gets really into it.”

– Amy Phillips on her mother Lisa, who found an unusual way
to fund her charitable donations

Lisa Phillips has sharp eyes. “I’ve always had this knack for finding things,” she told the Philadelphia news outlet Billy Penn. “I’m also 4-foot-10, so I have a better perspective on seeing things because I’m closer to the ground.”

Lisa means that last sentence literally. She’s known for the hundreds of dollars in lost change she’s collected on her daily dog walks, which she donates to retire medical debt. But it’s also tempting to read her story as a larger metaphor about philanthropy.

Because while grand gestures get all the glory, small acts add up when you make them part of your everyday life. In other words, sometimes the change you’re seeking is right at your feet—as long as you remember to look for it.


Is Trust-Based Philanthropy the Future of Giving? (Twin Cities Business) – Unrestricted grants. Streamlined funding requests. Support beyond the check. The Trust-Based Philanthropy Project is urging donors to give nonprofits more space to succeed.

Entrepreneurs, Is A 501(c)(3) In Your Retirement Future? (Forbes) – There are plenty of ways for a successful business owner to give back. But forming your own charitable entity could be the best way to use the skills you spent a lifetime developing.

The Refugee Olympic Team Is As Resilient As You Think (International Rescue Committee) – Right now in Tokyo, 29 athletes are representing the world’s 82 million displaced people. Each one has a story of survival.

Making Change: One Woman’s Quest to Turn Lost Coins Into Philanthropy (Billy Penn) – Lisa Phillips has always had a knack for spotting money on the ground. Now her daily dog walks are retiring thousands in medical debt.

Study: Regular Bible Readers Experienced More Stress in 2020, But Also More Hope (Christianity Today) – An American Bible Study survey confirmed the Bible offered serious solace to the many people in pain last year. Here’s what church leaders should know about the results.


Photos courtesy of Unsplash.

Kinship United often posts content and opinions that are of interest to the philanthropic community that supports Kinship United’s mission. Nothing published by Kinship United constitutes an investment recommendation, nor should any data or content published by Kinship United be solely relied upon for any investment, tax, legal or financial decisions. Kinship United strongly recommends that you perform your own independent research and/or speak with a qualifying investment professional before making any financial decisions.