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Who Will Watch the Charities? Regionals Respond

Monday, June 8, 2015

On May 31, an op-ed appeared in the New York Times, Who Will Watch the Charities?, from David Callahan, founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy, calling for more oversight of the philanthropic sector and presents four ideas for reform. The Forum and Philanthropy New York, along with others in the field, have submitted responses to the New York Times since the op-ed appeared.

Forum Board Chair and Flordia Philanthropic Network President David Biemesderfer took to FPN's blog to address Callahan's piece:

In an op-ed he wrote last week for The New York Times (Who Will Watch the Charities?), David Callahan claimed that the charitable sector is like the “Wild West” when it comes to oversight. After reading Callahan’s piece, you could not be faulted for walking away thinking that little is being done to regulate the sector and punish wrongdoing. The reality, however, is something quite different.

Here in Florida, our state’s charity regulators have been taking serious action to crack down on fraud and other misdeeds in the charitable sector, working in partnership with philanthropic and nonprofit leaders.


Florida Philanthropic Network’s colleagues in other parts of the country are also working to ensure adequate and proper state oversight of our sector. FPN is part of a national network of regional philanthropic associations, the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. Representing 5,500 organizations nationwide, Forum members are working with state charity officials and state nonprofit associations all the time, all across the country, to ensure that charity rules and regulations are followed and wrongdoers are punished.

David provides many examples of the progress already made in Florida and new work underway in his postConnecticut Council for Philanthropy's President Maggie Osborn also wrote a post for CCP's website which highlights philanthropy's positive relationship with the state's regulators and its Guiding Principles and Effective Practices for Connecticut Grantmakers. Adam Donaldson, Member Services Director for the Associaiton of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, also weighed in with his post "Everyone is Watching." Writing for the Dodge Blog, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers President Nina Stack also offered her take on Callahan's hyperbole and the chartiable sector as the Wild West.

Meanwhile, other philanthropic infrastructure organizations have also responded to Callahan's piece, including the Center for Effective Philanthropy's post A Misguided Call for Reform and the National Council for Nonprofits' Muddled Misunderstandings Lead to Misguided Reform.

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