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President and CEO's Report for June 2014

Speaking Out on Bad Charity Behavior, Career Advice, Zuckerberg's $100 million and more

June 1, 2014


The past month has been one of the busiest we have had on the media front (social media, magazines and cable tv). To begin with, this photo (of me 36 years ago at 22) is associated with an article that was published on LinkedIn that has been read and commented on by more people than anything I have ever written in my entire career! You can find the article, which is all about career fulfillment, here. It is one of two articles I have recently generated for LinkedIn that speak to career issues (you can find the second article, regarding how to handle a bad boss, here). If you find these articles of interest and helpful to you, I would appreciate your sharing them with your network of contacts on Twitter, Facebook and other social media as well as in good old fashioned hard copy. Even when these articles are not directly related to the work of Charity Navigator, we are finding that it helps to make people aware of our organization and our mission (because of my clear association with Charity Navigator!).

In another first for me, an opinion article that I wrote with my long time colleague and friend Jeremy Kohomban (President & CEO of Children’s Village), was published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. In the article, we express our deep concern about the lack of honest and open discussion within the nonprofit sector regarding the unethical behavior of some leaders as well as what needs to be done about the problem.

I was also interviewed on CNBC to answer the question, “What happened to the $100 million that Mark Zuckerberg donated for the Newark New Jersey Public School System?” This is another classic of case of not thinking through all three dimensions of charity performance - finance, governance and results. Although the donation was well intentioned, the result fell far short of the lofty goals that were set by Mr. Zuckerberg and his two trusted advisors (Governor Chris Christie and Senator Cory Booker). I hope they will all learn the right lessons from this situation. In the interview, I quickly summarize what I think went right and what largely went wrong here.

Finally, I want to thank Professor Les Lenkowsky of Indiana University and his Capstone students for their recent research report for Charity Navigator. In the report, they assess the current state of how arts organizations measure their results and what Charity Navigator can do to engage them in our CN 3.0 effort. Also, I want to welcome our two college summer interns, Adam Freindlich from Wharton School of Business and Jacqueline Soria from Northwestern University. Welcome!

Ken Berger

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