Lewis B. Cullman is a retired business owner and philanthropist who serves on many not-for-profit boards. He is the author of Can’t Take It with You: The Art of Making and Giving Money. (July 2016)

The Undermining of American Charity

New York City, 1977; photograph by Susan Meiselas
Donor-advised funds have been a bad deal for American society. They have produced too many private benefits for the financial services industry, at too great a cost to the taxpaying public, and they have provided too few benefits for society at large. When we consider their overall effect, we see that rather than supporting working charities and the beneficiaries they serve, they have undermined them.

Stop the Misuse of Philanthropy!

I want to call attention to little-known ploys in US philanthropy that rob our society of hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for important charitable causes—leaving money stashed away in financial institutions and doing no good for anyone except money managers and other financial intermediaries.

Private Foundations: The Trick

The next time you read about a rich person donating $100 million to charity, you should be aware that this seemingly generous gift may never actually reach the institutions that need it. The chances are that the donation is being used to set up a private foundation. The gift will …