December 29, 2015

Our Staff’s Favorite Stories of 2015: Year in Review

Illustration by Randy Lyhus, for the Chronicle
In June, we covered the growing trend of offering menus of naming rights online for everything from buildings to individual stools.

It’s hard to pick a favorite story, but it was fun.

We opened voting to our staff to nominate and select the stories they enjoyed most in 2015. Their picks included grant-making trends, data projects, lessons from Ferguson, and the history of philanthropy.

Below are a few of our favorites. What stories did you enjoy most in 2015? Let us know by sending an email to social@philanthropy.com.


July 21, 2015

U. of Miami Proves the Power of Hispanic Donors

Departing President Donna Shalala and her outside-the-box choice to be her top fundraiser secured 28 gifts of at least $1 million from Hispanics, totaling $61.5 million.

October 29, 2015

Mystery Money: the Art of Seeking Gifts From Donor-Advised Funds

Billions of dollars are available, but the lack of a paper trail makes it difficult for nonprofits to target pitches. Here are ways to cut through the fog.

March 05, 2015

Social-Media Stars Ascend as Top Partners for Nonprofits

Tyler Oakley is part of the growing crop of Internet sensations who present big opportunities, and big risks, for charities seeking to boost awareness and fundraising.

June 01, 2015

As Menu of Naming Rights Expands, Fundraisers Pitch Options Online

Supporters see the phenomenon as a natural evolution in the Internet era, but critics say the growing practice makes this type of giving seem too much like a business transaction.

November 18, 2015

Giving to Food Causes Is Increasingly Popular — and More Complicated

Agriculture, food distribution, nutrition, hunger, and obesity are all interconnected issues, making it hard for donors to know how to get the most bang from a contribution.

February 08, 2015

$100-Million Oregon Donor Flaunts Her Tough-Mother Reputation

The Columbia Sportswear chief decided to give her fortune to cancer research rather than have the money taxed and used to "buy bullets."

June 01, 2015

Opinion: Ben Franklin, Meet Phil Knight

Does the challenge grant empower people or plutocrats? The question has vexed philanthropy for more than 200 years.

July 08, 2015

A Mismatch Between Need and Affluence

American communities with high standards of living often don’t have high charitable giving rates, a new Chronicle analysis finds.

August 07, 2015

A Year After Police Shooting, St. Louis Offers Lessons in Rebuilding

Local and nonprofit leaders say one lesson for cities tackling deeply entrenched social problems is not to overwhelm donors with a torrent of needs and options.

March 18, 2015

Red Cross Case Raises Questions About How Nonprofits Handle Complaints

A growing number of nonprofits have hired ombudsmen to settle disputes fairly and confidentially, but critics say these officials often lack teeth and even help suppress dissent.

September 10, 2015

N.Y. Enforcer Gets Tough on Charities and Fraud

James Sheehan, in the state attorney general’s office, examines the web of lawyers, accountants, and others who assist shady nonprofits as he casts a wide net to find wrongdoing.