Philanthropedia Blog

Archive for November, 2010

All I want for Christmas is… Recurring Donations please!

November 30th, 2010

As you think about making your charitable donation this holiday season, consider “upping the ante” and spreading out the love throughout the whole year. Nonprofits need consistent, steady funding now more than ever before as the economy slowly recovers. If there is a particular nonprofit you feel strongly about, the best way to ensure it keeps up the good work is to be a regular supporter through recurring donations. A recurring donation is one in which you give the same amount (of your choice) to a nonprofit at regular intervals.

You can set up a recurring donation (monthly or quarterly) to any of the top nonprofits we allow you to donate to through the Philanthropedia site. There are two main benefits to setting up recurring donations. On the nonprofit side, this kind of donation saves the chosen nonprofit time and money in processing the payment. And on your side, the donor side, giving a recurring payment means you don’t have to remember to make the gift, handwrite the check, or give your credit card information again and again. (And of course, an added benefit of donating to nonprofits is that your donation is tax deductible meaning you will reduce your taxable income and lower your total tax bill!)

So this year as you get ready to make your one-time donation in December, think about making a New Year’s Resolution to support your favorite top nonprofits with a recurring donation to help them do their great work all year long.

The Aspen Institute: #4 High Impact Nonprofit in National Workforce Development

November 30th, 2010

The Aspen Institute, our top #4 nonprofit in national workforce development, was noted by our experts for its demonstrated ability to improve workforce development outcomes through sector-based strategies.

Here’s the story of how the Aspen Institute got started:

Chicago businessman Walter Paepcke (1896-1960), chairman of the Container Corporation of America, first visited Aspen, Colorado in 1945. Inspired by its great natural beauty, he envisioned it as an ideal gathering place for thinkers, leaders, artists, and musicians from all over the world to step away from their daily routines and reflect on the underlying values of society and culture. He dreamed of transforming the town into a center for dialogue, a place for “lifting us out of our usual selves,” as one visitor to Paepcke’s Aspen would put it.

To make this dream real, in 1949 Paepcke made Aspen the site for a celebration of the 200th birthday of German poet and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The 20-day gathering attracted such prominent intellectuals and artists as Albert Schweitzer, Jose Ortega y Gasset, Thornton Wilder, and Arthur Rubinstein, along with members of the international press and more than 2,000 other attendees.

The next year, Paepcke created what is now the Aspen Institute.

Today the Aspen Institute’s mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events.

(Learn more here:

Read more reviews from workforce development experts here to learn more about the great work the Aspen Institute is doing.

Public/Private Ventures: #5 High Impact Nonprofit in National Workforce Development

November 29th, 2010

This week we’re highlighting our top (according to impact) 5 national workforce development nonprofits. Public Private Ventures, nonprofit #5, was heralded by our experts for their research, evaluation, training, and policy advocacy within the workforce development field. Their research has compelled other organizations to be more efficient and more impactful in their practices and programming.

To learn more about this great organization, this is their founding story:

In 1978, P/PV was created by the Ford Foundation and the US Department of Labor to bring together the government, business, and nonprofit sectors to address the needs of disadvantaged young people. The organization’s initial work focused on evaluating and creating strategies to connect these youth to education and jobs. Its work now focuses on a wide range of social issues, including community health, youth development, faith-based initiatives, sectoral employment, mentoring, after-school programs, youth violence, and prisoner reentry.

(Learn more here:

To view more expert comments about the great work Public/Private Ventures has done, go here.

Press Release: 17 Top National Workforce Development Nonprofits Identified by 121 Experts

November 28th, 2010

A strong economy begins with a strong, well-educated workforce. -Bill Owens

The workforce development field is focused on helping people get the skills and the jobs they need to sustain themselves and their family. It’s about connecting employers who need skilled workers and ideally building a system of successful organizations because no one organization can do it all. Workforce development organizations must collectively understand the labor supply issues in a region and develop strategies for people to get jobs and businesses to get skilled workers.

I’m not sure which field “workforce development” falls into for the designations Giving USA uses to report what kinds of nonprofits receive charitable donations each year. If it falls under the category “giving for public-society benefit,” then $22.77 billion was donated in 2009 to this field making up 8% of total donations. If it falls under “human services” then $27.08 billion was given last year, or 9% of total donations. Or, if it falls under education, that was $40.01 billion, or 13 percent of the total (the total is $300 billion). (From Giving USA 2010 report.)

Given the economic crisis, we felt that workforce development was a very relevant and important field for our country right now. Therefore, Philanthropedia surveyed 121 national workforce development experts (with an average of 16 years of work experience in the field) to identify those organizations that were making the biggest impact in the field.

Philanthropedia’s experts (funders, researchers, nonprofit senior staff, government officials, etc.) identified 17 top workforce development nonprofits (out of 151 total reviewed nonprofits) making an impact at the national level. We asked experts to recommend nonprofits focused on job retention/stability, advancement to better jobs, capacity and skill building, helping the formerly homeless, imprisoned, and hospitalized to move to work, and/or helping employers to invest in their own workforce. These nonprofits could work with various populations: adults with low literacy skills, adults or youth with disabilities, immigrants, refugees, youth, welfare recipients, businesses, or the community at large. And these nonprofits could focus on different kinds of activities: policy, research, advocacy, direct services, education, technical assistance, job training programs, etc. Specifically excluded from consideration were for-profit organizations such as head hunting and for-profit staff placement companies.

The following is the list of the top-recommended high-impact nonprofits working on workforce development at the national level. “Agree” is the number of experts who agree that the nonprofit has had the most impact in the field. “Disagree” is the number of experts who disagree that the nonprofit has had the most impact in the field.

17 Top High-Impact Nonprofits # of Experts who Agree # of Experts who Disagree Year Founded Location

National Skills Coalition

58 3 1998 Washington, DC

CLASP (Center for Law and Social Policy)

54 3 1969 Washington, DC

Jobs for the Future

53 2 1983 Boston,  MA

The Aspen Institute

48 3 1950 Washington, DC

Public/Private Ventures

45 1 1978 Philadelphia, PA


41 11 1902 Rockville, MD

National Network of Sector Partners (NNSP)

35 6 1999 Oakland, CA

National Governors Association (NGA)*

35 9 1908 Washington, DC

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)

29 7 1974 Chicago, IL

Seedco (Structured Employment Economic Development Corp)

27 8 1986 New York, NY

National Fund for Workforce Solutions

26 8 2007 Boston, MA

Year Up

23 5 2000 Boston, MA

Jewish Vocational Service (JVS)

27 10 1973 San Francisco, CA

Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS)

23 7 1992 Madison, WI

National Association of Workforce Boards

26 12 1998 Washington, DC

STRIVE (East Harlem Employment Services)

22 8 1985 New York, NY

Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO)

18 6 1978 New York, NY

*Philanthropedia enables donors to donate to all top-recommended nonprofits, however National Governors Association, a top-recommended nonprofit, does not accept donations from individuals.

This week we will highlight the top 5 national workforce development nonprofits. We invite you to visit the profiles of each of these top organizations on our website to read the expert reviews here: Experts commented on the impact each nonprofit has had, what the nonprofit’s other organizational strengths are, and how each organization could further improve.

We also invite your feedback here and on our website. Please tell us what you think and what experiences you’ve had with these organizations!

National Women’s Reproductive Health, Rights, & Justice Top Nonprofit Countdown: Highlighting Nonprofits #6-10

November 27th, 2010

Of course, there are more than just 5 nonprofits making a major impact at the national level on women’s reproductive health, rights, and justice. Here is some more information about the great work and impact top nonprofits #6-10 are making.

#6 National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Experts wrote at length about the unique role of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health in serving the intersection of race and reproductive justice issues. In substantiating this support, they cited numerous policy areas in which the organization played a leading voice in mobilizing the movement. Read more about them here.

#7 Reproductive Health Technologies Project (PHTP)

Reproductive Health Technologies Project received high marks from our experts for its ability to tackle the complex emotions surrounding contraception. In particular, the group’s efforts to make new technology available and publicized drew repeated praise. Experts had no shortage of superlatives when trying to capture the impact organization’s messaging has had about how politicians and the public conceptualize these issues. Read more about them here.

#8 Advocates for Youth

Advocates for the Youth garnered support from experts for engaging kids in sexual health and reproductive justice issues. Various US public policy victories were invoked while emphasizing Advocates for Youth’s ongoing emphasis on effecting change. Read more about them here.

#9 UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health

The UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health was heralded by experts for their efforts to increase access to contraceptive services and to expand the spectrum of practitioners. Their backing by UCSF and their cultivation of new leadership were cited as key drivers of this success. Read more about them here.

#10 Sister Song

Sister Song was credited by experts for decades of service in promoting reproductive justice. Beyond their core activities, the organization was praised for the influences and resources they provided to other nonprofits in the space. Read more about them here.

And there’s so much more! View our entire list of top 19 national women’s reproductive health, rights, and justice nonprofits here: and dig deeper to review what experts had to say about each organization. We hope you will consider adding women’s reproductive health, rights, and justice to your list of great causes to support this holiday season. You can feel confident that your donation is going to support an outstanding group of nonprofits making a real difference in the lives of thousands of women.

Guttmacher Institute: #1 High Impact Nonprofit in National Women’s Reproductive Health, Rights, & Justice

November 26th, 2010

Today we celebrate our #1 top women’s reproductive health, rights, and justice nonprofit making a major impact at the national level: the Guttmacher Institute. Guttmacher was repeatedly heralded by our experts as the leading research and data provider in the field of reproductive rights. Further, Guttmacher’s advocacy efforts were praised as critical to advancing the national policy agenda.

Here’s the founding story about the Guttmacher Institute:

The Guttmacher Center was originally constituted as a semiautonomous division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). At the time, Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon had begun to call the public’s attention to the problem of unplanned and unwanted childbearing and its consequences for individual women and men, their children and their communities both at home and abroad. Concurrently, the United States Congress was taking its first steps toward the development of an international population assistance program, as well as a multifaceted, national program aimed at providing equitable access to modern methods of birth control in the United States.

Its early development was nurtured by Alan F. Guttmacher, an eminent obstetrician-gynecologist, teacher and writer who was PPFA’s president for more than a decade until his death in 1974. He joined the birth control movement in the 1920s when he was an intern, after witnessing a woman die from a botched abortion. In Baltimore, he was an effective advocate, organizer and worker for family planning at The Johns Hopkins and Sinai Hospitals and the Planned Parenthood affiliate. Following his appointment as Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York’s Mt. Sinai Hospital in 1952, he assumed increasing leadership of the national Planned Parenthood organization, first as member, then as volunteer chairman of Planned Parenthood’s National Medical Committee and, in 1962, as full-time national President. In the 1960s he took major responsibility for the work of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, serving as chairman of its Medical Committee and travelling to scores of Asian, African, and Latin American nations to lecture to physicians, work with program personnel, talk with ordinary people and meet with heads of state. The Center was renamed in Dr. Guttmacher’s memory, and the Guttmacher Institute became an independent, not-for-profit corporation in 1977.

(Read more at:,

To learn more about the Guttmacher Institute and its impact, read the expert reviews here.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA): #2 High Impact Nonprofit in National Women’s Reproductive Health, Rights, & Justice

November 25th, 2010

Our #2 top nonprofit is likely more well-known to the public: Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). However, it’s not their marketing that has made them so outstanding, it’s the impact they’ve had on thousands of women across the country. Our experts cited Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s status as the go-to family planning service and policy institution in the United States. Their service, particularly to underserved populations, was cited as a marker of meaningful impact.

This is the founding story of PPFA:

Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, with her sister, and a friend opened America’s first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York in 1916. In Sanger’s America, women cannot vote, sign contracts, have bank accounts, or divorce abusive husbands. They cannot control the number of children they have or obtain information about birth control, because in the 1870s a series of draconian measures, called the Comstock laws, made contraception illegal and declared information about family planning and contraception “obscene.”

Sanger knew the tragic toll of such ignorance. Her mother had 18 pregnancies, bore 11 children, and died in 1899 at the age of 40. Working as a nurse with immigrant families on New York’s Lower East Side, Sanger witnessed the sickness, misery, and death that result from unwanted pregnancy and illegal abortion. The clinic she opened provided contraceptive advice to poor, immigrant women, some of whom line up hours before the doors open. Police raided the clinic and all three women were convicted of disseminating birth control information.

Undaunted, Sanger found The Birth Control Review, the first scientific journal devoted to contraception. She also appealed her conviction, which lead to a new, liberalized interpretation of New York’s anti-contraception statute. In 1923, Sanger opened the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau in Manhattan to provide contraceptive devices to women and collect accurate statistics to prove their safety and long-term effectiveness. That same year, Sanger incorporated the American Birth Control League, an ambitious new organization that embraced the global issues of world population growth, disarmament, and world famine. The two organizations subsequently merged, and later became Planned Parenthood® Federation of America, Inc. (PPFA®).

(To learn more, visit:

Read more reviews from women’s reproductive health, rights, and justice experts here to learn more about the great work PPFA is doing.

Strategically Personalizing the Giving Process

November 24th, 2010

We, at Phianthropedia talk a lot about the importance of creating a donation strategy and supporting the best nonprofits out there. Therefore, in order to help you develop this plan and manage your giving, we’ve created a new resource for you.

With Philanthropedia’s personalized mutual funds, you can mix and match the best nonprofits to build a donation portfolio to fit your values. Perhaps you care about education and climate change and particularly like supporting research organizations. You can now hand pick from our list of 180+ top nonprofits that have been vetted and approved by hundreds of experts, to find just the right nonprofits to fit that description.

You can add these organizations to your personalized fund and make one donation to support your personal donation strategy. You can consider making a recurring donation to your cohort of nonprofits. You can add or remove organizations as your priorities change. And of course, because all nonprofits that you can donate to through our site are registered 501c3s, your donation is 100% tax deductible. That means you can reduce your taxable income and lower your total tax bill.

Not only will you have a comprehensive donation strategy by using this resource, but you have the added bonus of making the biggest impact possible with your contribution because you know these organizations are best in class in their field.

So if you are like the many donors who, despite the economic woes, still want to give back this year, consider using this new resource to make your dollar stretch farther.

Center for Reproductive Rights: #3 High Impact Nonprofit in National Women’s Reproductive Health, Rights, & Justice

November 24th, 2010

The Center for Reproductive Rights is our #3 top women’s reproductive health, rights, and justice nonprofit making an impact at the national level. Our experts praised the Center for Reproductive Rights for their broad contributions to the field of reproductive rights and reproductive justice and cited their contributions to major public policy debates on the state and national level to preserve the reproductive rights of women.

This is Shawanna Nelson’s story, a pregnant prisoner, who the Center worked with on a trial:

Shawanna Nelson was serving time for writing bad checks in an Arkansas prison when she went into labor. Even though she was not a flight risk, she was forced to give birth immobilized, with her legs shackled to a hospital bed. Under established principles of international human rights law, shackling prisoners during childbirth is tantamount to torture. Nevertheless, the practice remains common across the U.S.

In 2008, the Center submitted a friend-of-the-court brief asking the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a ruling that Nelson’s treatment was lawful. In their brief, they used their expertise in international human rights and comparative law to argue that the practice of shackling prisoners during childbirth violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. The court granted a rehearing, which took place in September 2009. The federal appeals court ruled in favor of Shawanna Nelson, and said that constitutional protections against shackling pregnant women during labor had been clearly established by decisions of the Supreme Court and the lower courts. This is the first time a circuit court has made such a determination.

“This is a historic decision by a U.S. Court of Appeals that affirms the dignity of all women and mothers in America,” said Elizabeth Alexander, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project. “Correctional officials across the country are now on notice that they can no longer engage in this widespread practice.”

(To read more, visit:,

Read more reviews from our experts here to learn more about the great work the Center for Reproductive Rights is doing.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): #4 High Impact Nonprofit in National Women’s Reproductive Health, Rights, & Justice

November 23rd, 2010

Experts couldn’t seem to say enough to express their support of our #4 top nonprofit in national women’s reproductive health, rights, and justice: the American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU. Experts recognized the ACLU’s history of supporting reproductive rights on state and national levels. And, aside from noting major policy victories, experts also praised the affiliate model as a key driver of the organization’s sustained influence in this space.

To learn more about the ACLU, we wanted to share the founding story with you.

In the years following World War I, America was gripped by the fear that the Communist Revolution that had taken place in Russia would spread to the United States. As is often the case when fear outweighs rational debate, civil liberties paid the price. In November 1919 and January 1920, in what notoriously became known as the “Palmer Raids,” Attorney General Mitchell Palmer began rounding up and deporting so-called radicals. Thousands of people were arrested without warrants and without regard to constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure. Those arrested were brutally treated and held in horrible conditions.

In the face of these egregious civil liberties abuses, a small group of people decided to take a stand, and thus was born the American Civil Liberties Union.

(To read more, visit:

Read more reviews from reproductive health, rights, and justice experts here to learn more about the great work the ACLU is doing.

Philanthropedia is a registered 501(c)3 organization. All of your donations are 100% tax-deductible.