Summary of Money Well Spent

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Money Well Spent book summary


8 Overall

8 Applicability

6 Innovation

7 Style


Nonprofit enterprises make up a multibillion-dollar sector of the U.S. economy, yet their funding decisions are often shots in the dark. They make a lot of mistakes. Investments that initially seemed inspired do not produce positive, measurable results. Paul Brest and Hal Harvey aim to change all that. Their “strategic philanthropy” process aligns goals, strategy and implementation, and includes accountability and measurements. Their book is full of pertinent, real-world examples that help to bring their points home. Although the guide is theoretical and abstract in parts, getAbstract recommends it to foundation directors and program officers who are tired of wasting their organizations’ money.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What “strategic philanthropy” is
  • How to set philanthropic goals
  • How to obtain the “maximum social return on your investment”

About the Authors

Paul Brest is the president of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and a former Stanford Law School professor. He is the co-author of Problem Solving, Decision Making, and Professional Judgment. Hal Harvey was a director of The Hewlett Foundation’s Environment Program and is now president of ClimateWorks and of the New-Land Foundation.



The Problem with Philanthropy
Charities provide immediate relief, while philanthropy focuses on problems’ fundamental causes. “Strategic philanthropy” requires money, perseverance and a results-oriented strategy. Currently, however, because of inadequate initial research, unrealistic expectations...

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