The scale of the funding disparities between trendy arts and environmental charities, on the one hand, and humanitarian charities, on the other, can be staggering. For instance, one popular nonprofit, the Community Center for the Arts, had $268,158 back in 2000, but its assets grew to $40 million just seven years later—an increase of nearly 15,000 percent. Likewise, environmental charities have also seen stunning growth: in 1997, the Jackson Hole Land Trust had $3.9 million in assets, but by 2014 it had $22.5 million. Meanwhile, the Latino Resource Center, a prominent human services organization, had $355,452 in assets in 2014, a relatively modest increase from the $126,438 it had in 2005—giving it roughly 1 percent of the assets held by some of the more fashionable conservation and arts charities.
This is from a review essay of Billionaire Wilderness: The Ultra-Wealthy and the Remaking of the American West, by Justin Farrell. The book sounds interesting.
The non-profit sector is much over-rated in our society. Non-profits seduce young employees with the intention heuristic–the mission of the organization must be good, since it does not seek profit. But non-profit status is mainly a way to avoid accountability to customers. The only accountability is to donors.
I wish that the only non-profits that we had were those dedicated to helping poor people take care of basic needs and obtain education and training. If I were king, I would get rid of the non-profit status for universities, environmental groups, and other organizations that employ and serve the affluent.