For donation FAQs, visit our donate page.

Larry and Cathy Gilson founded Focusing Philanthropy as an outgrowth of their own experience in charitable giving. The ability and opportunity to give money or time in support of a worthy cause is one of the most rewarding human experiences, yet, they found it difficult to find recipient organizations about which they could learn enough to be truly confident that their donations would be well used and have a material impact. The few services they were able to find to help them evaluate potential recipients were mostly limited geographically or lacked sufficient information or analysis to enable them to make donation decisions. They wanted insight and judgment just as they would if they were making any other type of investment decision. They created Focusing Philanthropy in response to these needs, and to share their findings with others who may have similar motivations and experiences.

Focusing Philanthropy seeks to help donors achieve a comparable level of comfort with a more diverse array of worthy recipients to that which they could obtain by visiting local charities. In so doing, we believe the level of giving will increase and very worthwhile organizations will be supported which might not otherwise have been known to motivated donors.

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. Choosing “To Be Allocated by Focusing Philanthropy” from the pull-down designation menu on the Donate page allows us to apply the dollars in the way and at the time when they will achieve the most human impact. This is one of the most powerful ways to give. We report to discretionary donors on the causes, reasons, and expected impacts of the allocations we make as well as the end results achieved.

Yes. All donations to 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.”

We begin by surveying the landscape in order to identify areas of profound need affecting large numbers of people. We then seek proven-successful intervention methods that are life changing, appropriate for private philanthropy, and non-duplicative of existing Focusing Philanthropy program partners. Once we have created an active prospect list, we evaluate potential partner nonprofits using our Screening Criteria.

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.