Apparently prompted by the much-touted Giving Pledge of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, more than 60 US foundations have set up their own pledge, Philanthropy’s Promise, by which they undertake to channel at least 50 per cent of their grant money to the poor and other disadvantaged people.
If the immediate stimulus for the Promise is the Gates-Buffett Pledge, however, the real mover is the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), which has been agitating for a number of years for foundations to give at least 50 per cent of their grant money to help the poor and other groups the NCRP defines as economically disadvantaged: minority groups; disabled people; women and girls; those who live in rural areas; or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.
Signatories have also undertaken that least 25 per cent of their spending on disadvantaged groups will go to projects that promote advocacy, community organizing and other efforts designed to solve the policy problems that hurt vulnerable members of society.
Among the foundations signing up to the Promise are the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Arcus Foundation, the Foundation for the Mid South, the General Mills Foundation, the Needmor Fund and the Wallace Foundation. The money in question is a significant sum. According to NCRP, the signatories give a total of $2.5 billion a year.
The move seems part of a ripple effect from the Gates-Buffett Pledge and came only a few days after the launch of the so-called Hollywood Pledge through which entertainment and sports stars are attempting to encourage their fans to increase their support for charitable causes.
Chronicle of Philanthropy, 8 June 2011