Do donor-advised funds enhance giving?

Vara-Philanthropy

Peer-Pressure Philanthropy

When Ralph C. Wilson, the businessman who founded the Buffalo Bills football team in the fifties, died last year at the age of ninety-five, he left behind the tiny, little-known Ralph C. Wilson Foundation. It’s hard to learn much about the foundation—a Google search doesn’t turn up a Web site—which might be partly because it didn’t do much: its assets, as of 2013, were under two million dollars, according to public records. While he was alive, Wilson had dabbled in philanthropy, giving money to medical institutions and others, but none of his public contributions had been particularly large. When he died, though, he left instructions for the Bills to be sold and for most of the proceeds, about a billion dollars, to go to his foundation. With that contribution, he became the second most generous philanthropist of last year, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, which, on Sunday, published its annual list of the fifty most generous donors in the United States. It was the first time Wilson had made the list at all. ….[READ]

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