Back in January, the Wall Street Journal argued that:
...nonprofits are coming under increased pressure to reveal the names of some of their most generous donors. Proponents of greater disclosure by charities, including some lawmakers and consumer groups, argue that keeping givers' identities secret can mask efforts by wealthy individuals and corporations to use philanthropy as a tool of undue influence.I've also seen this increasing pressure in the political debates over whether the Clinton's should reveal anonymous donors to their Presidential Library. But there is more evidence at colleges around the country. A state Supreme Court in Kentucky is weighing a lawsuit from a local newspaper that seeks to compel the University of Louisville Foundation to reveal the identities of 62 anonymous donors.
The truth is donors who give over $5,000 and try to claim a deduction must be listed on a group's Form 990.
Wealthy philanthropists last year made 37 gifts of $5 million or more without publicly revealing their names. That's up from 27 such gifts in 2006, and just 13 in 2004, according to an analysis by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. Such publicity-shy donors say they want to give back to their communities but avoid the headaches of a high public profile, including pushy fund-raisers, jealous relatives and even risks to their personal safety.One way around this problem is the donor advised funds, "which allow donors to give to a charity in the name of the entity that runs the fund, often a financial-services firm. What's more, donor-advised funds come with attractive tax breaks -- up to 50% compared to a maximum 30% when giving through a private foundation."
I'm going to focus on donor advised funds (DAFs) all at Don't Tell the Donor. If you have story ideas let me know.