New York philanthropist and art collector Agnes Gund announced the first round of grants distributed by her Art For Justice Fund on Wednesday, with $22 million going to 30 organizations across the United States working in criminal justice reform and the arts...Beyond Gund’s founding $100 million donation, at least 30 additional philanthropists have pledged to the fund, including a $5 million commitment from Alice Walton. Melissa Berman, president and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, noted that the response has been encouraging, and following the holidays they will continue fundraising efforts.
“If an organization claims that they can put 99 percent of the money they receive toward their programs, you need to figure out how that’s humanly possible,” says Melissa Berman, president and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The group may be able to channel its contributions that way because its board of directors underwrites costs, but it can also mean that numbers are being manipulated. In reviewing tax returns, check if the charity is often running at a deficit or if improper payments have been made to board members.