FAQs


For donation FAQs, visit our donate page.

Larry and Cathy Gilson founded Focusing Philanthropy. They have since been joined by a group of friends and professional acquaintances with a shared interest in philanthropy and a desire to leverage their respective expertise to achieve greater impact through their separate and pooled donations. We refer to this group as the Partners of Focusing Philanthropy.

Focusing Philanthropy is run by a small operational team and a Board of Directors. Please see Who We Are for more information about these individuals.

100% of the operating costs of Focusing Philanthropy are covered by Larry and Cathy Gilson. Every dollar donated by anyone else goes in its entirety to the implementing partner nonprofits and programs designated, without any deductions for our overhead, administrative costs or credit card fees.

Yes. You can choose which giving opportunities you would like to support. Just go to the Donate section of this site and specify the amount you wish to give. Keep in mind that, due to our extensive and continuous monitoring of our implementing partner nonprofits, if after we receive your donation, we feel the organization you wish to support is at serious risk of ceasing to meet our screening criteria, we will defer making any donations to that group until and unless our concerns have been satisfactorily resolved. If we cannot return to an adequate comfort level quickly, we will consult with you. We will (i) continue to hold your donated funds pending a resolution with the nonprofit, (ii) we will redirect your donation to other opportunities we offer after we consult with you or (iii) we will return your donation so long as you have not already claimed a tax deduction for the gift.

Yes. All donations through Focusing Philanthropy are tax-deductible for U.S. taxpayers. We are a 501c3 registered nonprofit organization. Our tax-ID number is 45-2405071. You will receive a written donation acknowledgement for tax purposes.

The effort to create Focusing Philanthropy began at the end of 2010. Initial screening of potential recipients was underway by mid 2011. Our tax exempt status was approved by the IRS in early 2012, at which time we were able to “go public.”

The initial Areas of Focus reflect the philanthropic priorities of the Partners of Focusing Philanthropy. They emphasize the Partners’ interest in personal and community capacity building through donations with the potential to have highly leveraged impacts. We expect to add additional areas of focus based on suggestions from others who pursue their philanthropic activity in concert with us.

Yes. We work together with nearly all the nonprofits we showcase to develop special, curated initiatives (and associated budgets, timetables and intended outcomes) which are presented as distinctive giving opportunities, often through collaborative fundraising appeals. In all such instances, Focusing Philanthropy devotes considerable resources helping refine the special appeal, then monitors performance in relation to the budget, plan, and hoped-for impacts. We then report to participating donors on the results.

Yes. We monitor the performance and circumstances of our nonprofit implementing partners on a continuous basis. Among a range of other interactions and analyses, our monitoring involves field visits to program sites. We visit program sites of each of our domestically-oriented nonprofits each year. We often visit multiple sites during the year. We visit the program sites (not just headquarters) of our internationally-oriented nonprofits at least every other year. In several instances, we have visited program sites in multiple countries for the same nonprofit. This extensive and continuous monitoring enables us to exercise judgment regarding what programs and initiatives to support. We update our descriptions of our implementing partners as their circumstances and performances, and our relationship with them, evolve. If we conclude that any potential implementing partner we list no longer meets our screening criteria, we will eliminate them from our roster. If our monitoring causes us material concerns, but we believe remedial action is possible and likely, we will defer making further donations until our concerns are alleviated.

No. Although there are many potentially worthy nonprofits, we do not have the resources and are not organized to evaluate unsolicited requests for funding or inclusion in our portfolio of implementing partners.