Promoting Accountability & Transparency

The Need for an Accountable Charitable Sector

The philanthropic sector has weathered an unfortunate series of problems involving questionable (and sometimes illegal) behavior among a number of fundraising intermediaries and foundations such as the United Way of the National Capital Area, the King Foundation in Texas, the Bielfeldt Foundation in Illinois and Jack Abramoff's Capitol Athletic Foundation, all of which NCRP has written and spoken about.

We havr long advocated for significantly improving philanthropic accountability and responsiveness, as well as the means form improviing standards of accountability.

Our work involves research, analyses and advocacy to make institutional philanthropy operates with integrity and openness. Throughout the sector, observers credit NCRP with a strong role in increasing foundation accountability.

Specific work under this program includes:

  • Exploring and expanding cutting-edge models and best practices that promote ethical behavior.
  • Raising constructive and pragmatic questions about foundation spending rates and the payout of other endowed nonprofit institutions.
  • Promoting new criteria of philanthropic accountability, in relation to self-dealing, trustee fees, increased philanthropic disclosure, and oversight and regulation of the nonprofit sector.
  • Speaking out on public policy issues regarding taxation and charitable incentives that promote philanthropy.

NCRP and Accountability on Capitol Hill

NCRP has given numerous testimonies and statements regarding the need for improving government oversight of the philanthropic sector to ensure ethical behavior, transparency and responsiveness to the needs of underserved communities. It also keeps an eye on legislations that have the potential to affect philanthropy and charitable giving. Learn more about our public policy work.


Potentially illegal, ethically questionable?

NCRP Asks IRS to Examine Otto Bremer Foundation (NEW!)

View the letter to IRS Director for Exempt Organizations Tamera Ripperda

NCRP Urges Minnesota Attorney General to Investigate The Otto Bremer Foundation

View the letter to Attorney General Lori Swanson


Related Initiatives


Criteria for Philanthropy at Its Best: Benchmarks to Assess and Enhance Grantmaker Impact
This is the first ever set of measurable guidelines for foundations and institutional grantmakers to operate ethically and maximize the impact of their dollars.


Some Related Publications

TakeandGive-Cover-SmallTake and Give: The Crimes and Philanthropy of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase

by Sean Dobson
January 2013

This report examines the philanthropic claims made by the four megabanks to offset bad publicty from their role in the economic meltdown of 2008 and serial law breaking.

Assessing the Philanthropic Component of A Proposed Bank Merger's Public Benefit

by Sean Dobson
February 2012

In this white paper, NCRP offers the first even set of tools to evaluate claims banks make about their philanthropy when seeking approval of proposed mergers.

Learning from Madoff: Lessons for Foundation Boards

by Niki Jagpal and Julia Craig
June 2009

NCRP examines whether there was any link between board size and diversity, and exposure to Bernard Madoff’s fraudulent activities.

View a full list of NCRP's publications


Statements and Testimonies

Comments to the IRS on Proposed Rules for Tax-Exempt Organizations on Candidate-Related Political Activities

Submitted comments to the IRS about efforts to clarify the definition of "policitcal activity" for tax-exempt organization.

NCRP Statement on Capital One-ING Direct Acquisition

In written testimony to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, NCRP provided an assessment of Capital One’s philanthropic track record and challenged its claims that the bank will provide hundreds of millions of dollars in grants if the company merges with ING Direct.

Recommendations on the Revised IRS 990 Form

NCRP submitted to the IRS its comments regarding the revisions to the IRS 990 Form.


View all statements and testimonies


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