Trends in Philanthropy

Do wealthy donors have too much influence?


The nation's biggest donors are pouring billions of dollars into philanthropic causes, winning praise from charities but also raising concerns that the wealthy may be gaining too much influence in American life. At the same time, experts say the 2017 overhaul of U.S. tax law reduced the incentive for small donors to give to charity even as it preserved tax benefits for wealthy donors. Meanwhile, donor-advised funds — investment accounts where donors can deposit gifts of money, stock or other assets that grow tax-free until grants are made to charity — are seeing meteoric growth. Critics worry that such funds lack sufficient transparency and that billions of dollars are piling up in the accounts instead of supporting good works. Many Millennials, meanwhile, are steering away ...

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