THE CHRONICLE OF
PHIL A NTHROPY®
The Newspaper of the Nonprofit World
Volume XXIV, No. 1 • October 6, 2011 • $5
Nonprofit Innovators Battle Obstacles to Creative Solutions
By Nicole Wallace
THE RESEARCH had been sitting on the shelf for years. A $200-mil- lion federal study found that people at high risk of developing diabetes
could cut the odds by 50 percent with
intensive counseling on healthy eating
and exercise. But the cost of the counseling approach used in the study was
too high to expand the program widely.
Then the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis and professors from the Indiana
University School of Medicine designed
a low-cost version of the program that
achieved the same results. Now the
YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program
has spread to 43 cities, with more in the
The program’s expansion has been
spearheaded by the national YMCA’s
three-person innovation team, which
is charged with scanning the business
landscape, societal trends, and activities at local YMCA’s for ideas to help the
organization better meet its mission.
The innovation team is unusual in
the nonprofit world, but it’s helped make
the cultivation of good ideas more deliberate, says Neil Nicoll, chief executive of
the YMCA of the USA, in Chicago.
“In the world that we live in as non-profits, it’s very easy not to see beyond
the end of your nose,” he says. “You’re
just running so fast trying to keep
Continued on Page 11
The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, in San Francisco, has been trying to draw visitors with events like this
“silent disco” in May so the participants can discover the contemporary art the center presents.
More INNovATIve IDeAS BY NoNProfITS: PAGe 11.
MEMPHIS S YMPHON Y ORCHES TRA
Reaching out to a nonprofit’s
community, as the Memphis Symphony
Orchestra (left) has done, can help
revitalize a sluggish board.
Omidyar Network offers its grantees
hands-on help in building their abilities
to carry out their missions.
In tough times, collaboration can
include not only complete mergers but
also partial partnerships.
See more inside our pull-out supplement on managing nonprofit
Changes in Charitable Deduction
May Have Mixed Impact on Giving
By Lisa Chiu and Suzanne Perry
THE CHARITABLE DEDUCTION is once again at the center of political debate.
President obama, for the fourth time
in his presidency, proposed last month
to curb the tax break for wealthy Americans, along with all other itemized deductions. He said the money lost to the
federal treasury from all those write-offs was needed to pay for his jobs bill,
the centerpiece of a plan to revive the
Charities immediately denounced
any effort to limit the incentive to
give, especially at a time when giving
has dropped because of the bad economy.
But how much do tax incentives matter to donors?
To get an independent view, The
Chronicle turned to economists to see
what they would say.
ALLISON SHELLEY FOR LU THERAN WORLD RELIEF
Shaking Up the Ranks
n Charity Navigator’s new
standards place more emphasis
on governance and accountability, criteria that help Lutheran
World Relief and other groups
improve their ratings. But does
the system show which
nonprofits are best? Page 15
n Recommendations for
nonprofits, to be offered this
week by an advisory committee
of the Financial Accounting Stan-
dards Board, seek to give chari-
ties ways to tell their financial
stories in greater detail. Page 16