What’s Looming Overhead? The Current Debate Around Funding Indirect Costs of Nonprofits

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 -
8:45am to 11:00am EDT
Philanthropy New York, 79 Fifth Ave., 4th floor, NYC
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Funding overhead costs using grant funds has been a much debated topic in philanthropy — and the discussion is heating up again.  Recently, GuideStar, Charity Navigator and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance started a collaborative campaign (called The Overhead Myth) to change the way people measure a nonprofit’s success. The Overhead Myth Campaign is aimed at “denouncing the ‘overhead ratio*’ as a valid indicator of nonprofit performance.”  Many donors, including foundations, often limit or exclude overhead costs in grant funding, arguing that such expenses do not contribute to the impact of the grant.

Philanthropy New York is bringing together representatives from foundations across the spectrum of funding overhead spending, along with a representative from an NGO (Save the Children) who has been an outspoken proponent of eliminating limits on overhead from foundations.  The panel will be moderated by a representative from the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.



  • A better understanding of the issues of overhead — what it covers and why it’s such a big topic of conversation in philanthropy
  • Why some foundations limit overhead, why some don't and the middle ground
  • A case-study example of a grantee organization in order to discuss the effect of limiting overhead on an NGO’s activities, operations and impact


A Philanthropy New York Members Briefing sponsored by the New York State Health Foundation, Wellspring Advisors and the William T. Grant Foundation.

This program is "Partially Open."




Designed for

Foundation CEOs, CFOs and COOs, as well as other senior staff. Interested funders also welcome.