August 20, 2012

New Web Site Informs Philanthropists About Nonprofits

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation has created a new online forum to help philanthropists learn about charities and then connect with the ones that interest them.

The new Web site is called the Giving Library and includes videos from 250 nonprofits hoping to catch the attention of donors who visit the site. The videos detail each organization's history, mission, challenges, and plans as well as the results they have achieved.

Donors who find them interesting can then anonymously seek out more information.

Foundation officials are evaluating 100 more charities that hope to be added to the site, says Meredith Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Arnold fund.

Charities that are interested in being added to the library can apply online.
To be considered, a nonprofit must show proof of its tax-exempt status, including its Form 990 informational tax forms. The foundation then conducts a background check to make sure gifts to the charity have been used responsibly and legally.

In a written response to questions from The Chronicle, Mr. and Ms. Arnold said they created the site to "help philanthropists explore a large number of giving opportunities in one place and to help them make informed and impactful decisions."

Ms. Johnson is careful to point out that inclusion in the Giving Library is not an endorsement from the foundation but said the grant maker does its best to ensure a charity's authenticity.

“There is not currently a way for philanthropists to quickly but substantively look into a large number of giving opportunities," wrote Ms. Johnson in a written response to The Chronicle. "The Giving Library addresses that need. Individuals will be able to easily locate, study, and engage with organizations that fit their giving criteria. What would have taken months or even years of meetings and travel can now be done in a matter of days, from anywhere.”

Send an e-mail to Maria Di Mento.