March 30, 2015

'Shark Tanks' for Nonprofits Draw Charity Leaders' Ire

Recent proposals for nonprofit competitions modeled on reality television at which charities would pitch their missions and plans to wealthy investors have stirred a furor in the philanthropic community, writes The Boston Globe. The Council on Foundations and Boston venture capitalist Todd Dagres separately announced plans earlier this month for the "Shark Tank"-style contests at which investors would grill groups and award capital and advice to their top choices.

Critics, including the authors of a Chronicle of Philanthropy column, derided the contests as demeaning and said they took the notion of applying market principles to charity a step too far. The authors followed up with a letter to the editor praising the council after it canceled the competition. scheduled for its annual meeting in San Francisco. The council plans instead hold a panel discussion on contest-style grant making.