Helen Flannery is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in the Program on Inequality and the Common Good, where she directs the program’s charity reform research work. Helen’s research focuses on the relationship between philanthropy and inequality, including the policies and practices surrounding charitable mega-giving, private foundations, and donor-advised funds.

Prior to coming to IPS, Helen provided nonprofits with reporting, analytics, and industry benchmarking services through her work at Target Analytics and ROI Solutions. At those organizations she also wrote extensively on charitable sector fundraising topics such as direct marketing, sustainer giving, and the economic factors affecting donor behavior.

Latest

Phil Knight’s Billion-Dollar Philanthropy: Generosity or Self-Service?

New revelations about the Nike founder’s tax-dodging schemes raise questions about his charitable giving.

More Evidence of Warehousing of Wealth in Donor-Advised Funds

New report finds more than one billion dollars in DAF grants went to other commercial DAFs in 2019.

New Research Suggests DAF Payout Is Worse Than We Thought

We must prevent our charitable system from being misused by those with the means and motivation to do so.

What Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta Means for Charities — and Our Democracy

A new Supreme Court decision enables billionaires to anonymously weaponize their philanthropy.

REPORT: Silver Spoon Oligarchs

How America’s 50 Largest Inherited-Wealth Dynasties Accelerate Inequality

Foundation Payout Mandate Would Raise $8.7 Billion in Revenue Over 3 Years

The mandate would also have both a positive fiscal impact and give a $200 billion boost to active charities.

In a Pandemic, We Need Democracy — Not Billionaire Charity

We need a movement to democratize philanthropy — and the concentrated wealth that increasingly defines it.

Voices from the Field: Giving Pledge at 10, Peril and Possibility

The Giving Pledgers set out to give away half of their wealth. Ten years later, their assets doubled. How do we break this pattern?

How Wealth Inequality Distorts Philanthropy

Inequality is making charity increasingly reliant on the rich. Here’s why wealthy people dominating philanthropy a problem and what we can do about it.

Gilded Giving 2020: How Wealth Inequality Distorts Philanthropy and Imperils Democracy

How Wealth Inequality Distorts Philanthropy and Imperils Democracy

Time for an Emergency Charity Stimulus

Congress can help nonprofits come up with an additional $200 billion — without costing taxpayers another dime.

Beware of Gifts From Billionaires

We must reform the rules governing philanthropy to encourage more broad-based participation and to reduce the risks of top-heavy, tax-avoidance giving.

Gilded Giving 2018: Top-Heavy Philanthropy and Its Risks to the Independent Sector

Growing inequity in charitable giving continues to hold risks not only for nonprofits but for the entire nation.

Report: Gilded Giving 2018

Top-Heavy Philanthropy and Its Risks to the Independent Sector

How the Rich Exploit Charitable Giving Rules to Hoard Their Fortunes

As taxpayers, we need to know whether a donation actually makes it to a charitable cause.

What’s Happening to Charitable Giving in This Country?

The rich are claiming substantial tax benefits through shady donor-advised funds. How are they getting away with it?

If You Take a Charitable Tax Deduction, You Should Actually Give to Charity

Wealthy donors are hoarding money in shady ‘charity’ accounts in the face of urgent community needs.

Report: Warehousing Wealth

Donor-Advised Charity Funds Sequestering Billions in the Face of Growing Inequality

Stop Warehousing Wealth in Charity Funds

Billions are being warehoused in donor-advised funds in the face of urgent social needs.

When Billionaires Dominate Philanthropy

Unchecked, private foundations can become blocks of concentrated unaccountable power with considerable clout in shaping our laws and culture.