Malinvestment by the wealthy

Willis Krumholz writes,

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.