What Philanthropy's Paradigm-Shift Means for Higher Education Fundraising

This is an unprecedented era of human history, in which simultaneous transformations of every technically advanced field are being driven by the powerful technological revolution in information and communications. Technically, these transformative changes are “paradigm-shifts”—a distinct kind of historical change in which the governing model of a mature field is superseded by a radically, totally new model—a New Paradigm, with new technology, economics, institutions, demographics, methodologies, vocabulary, ideas and values.

On the Unity of Philanthropy, the Humanities, and Liberal Education

The Unity of Philanthropy, the Humanities and Liberal Education

Google NGram View of Philanthropy and Non-Profit Books

The graph below from Google NGram Viewer depicts the rise of the term "non-profit" in recent years.

Paradigm Shift

The PDF file below contains a description of philanthropy's current paradigm shift.

A Systematic Taxonomy for Philanthropy

A. Rationale—the Charities Dataset and its Problems:

1) Quantity:

Blue Cross Blue Shield and other Nonprofit Businesses

We are gratified to learn in today's Boston Globe that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has decided, after an intensive "identity crisis" self-study, that it is a "non-profit business". We knew that—thus they are not included in the Massachusetts Philanthropic Directory—and had classified them as such months ago, because they are entirely self-supporting through earned income, and so have not been actively engaged in public fundraising.

Categories of 501(c)3 organizations

The IRS category 501(c)3 is supposed to represent "public charities"—meaning that they are authorized, as tax-exempt corporations, to raise contributions that are tax deductible for their donors.

In reality, we have found in Massachusetts that only a small minority of these—13%, or about 8% of the total of "nonprofits"—are actively engaged in public fundraising.

The other 87% may be classified as follows:

— reporting no income, or not reporting any income: defunct? volunteer organizations?
— 34%

Re: "Discoveries" Chart of MA 501(c) Organizations

In our relentless crusade against identifying philanthropy as "nonprofits", here is some evidence to chew on: a numerical breakdown of the tax-exempt "nonprofit" cohort, by IRS-coded groups, technically designated by "Subsection Codes"—0, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.

At a minimum, what this shows is that only 501(c)3s, plus a very few others, are possibly "philanthropic" by any common use of that term. We shall also publish a breakdown of the 501(c)3s showing that most of them are not philanthropic, either.

Minimal Impact on Massachusetts Philanthropy of IRS Revocations

Last week the IRS formally revoked the tax-exemption privileges of 275,000 nonprofits nationwide, as the penalty for their not having filed their 990s for the past three years.

Massachusetts had 49,253 nonprofits, of which 6,877 (14%) lost their privileged tax status, leaving 42,376 still authorized.

Discovery: Massachusetts Philanthropy: Size

These first MPD numbers are necessarily tentative, awaiting—indeed, inviting— corrections from charities themselves. That said, they should be nonetheless fairly reliable at any given point in their development—always improving.

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