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Jonathan Franzen Is Really The Great American Essayist

He’s not the richest or the most famous. His characters don’t solve mysteries, have magical powers or live in the future…but he shows us the way we live now.

Lev Grossman wrote those words for the cover of the August 23, 2010 cover of Time magazine, calling Jonathan Franzen “the great American novelist.” In the midst of the great recession when most people were thinking about the economy, unemployment, and the sinking real estate market, America needed a hero and with the recent publication of Franzen’s fourth novel, Freedom, Time magazine found their guy but fell short of naming him “Man of the Year” for writing what most critics considered great literature. Read more »


Comparing Mathew 25 Ministries and Samaritan’s Purse

Mathew 25 Ministries and Samaritan’s Purse are very similar organizations in that they are both non-profit 501 (c) (3)’s whose primary mission is to provide humanitarian aid to those in need (although Samaritan’s Purse also appears to be heavily into “spiritual aid”).  In addition, both are managed by members of a family (the Mettey family for Mathew 25 Ministries and the Graham family for Samaritan’s Purse).

Both organizations awarded approximately $200 million in grants (primarily non-cash) in 2017. Whereas Mathew 25 Ministries awarded the most assistance in grants (primarily clothing and household goods, personal care items, and drugs/medical supplies) to countries in Central America and the Caribbean, Samaritan’s Purse awarded the most grants (primarily Shoebox gifts that contain toys, hygiene products, school supplies, clothing, crafts) to recipients in Sub Sahara Africa.

In 2017, both organizations filed an IRS Form 990 which reports the following information: Read more »


Baked Honey Crisp Apple Crumbles

It’s nearly impossible for me to walk by a pyramid of fresh apples in the grocery store especially if the apples are Honey Crisp – those sweet, tart, super crispy delicious apples that are also great for baking because they retain their shape and don’t turn to mush easily.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy a Honey Crisp Apple is to bake it with a nutty oat filling in the core. These baked apples really do taste like an Apple Crumble Pie but the healthier version. Easy to make, Baked Honey Crisp Apple Crumbles are a perfect mid-afternoon snack or an evening dessert served in front of the fireplace. Read more »


Fundraising at the Natural Resources Defense Council

Fundraising is at the core of any non-profit with one of the most pressing donor concerns being how much an organization spends on fundraising. For the Natural Resources Defense Council – a New York City-based organization that raised $177 million last year – the answer appears to be about $12.3 million (or 7% of revenue), according to the IRS Form 990 for the year ending June 30, 2017.  These expenses are summarized as follows: Read more »


Where Does $100 to the Natural Resources Defense Council Go?

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) was created in 1970 by a group of attorneys and law students in New York “to safeguard the earth – its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.” Initially funded with a $400,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, the NRDC is considered one of the most influential environmental non-profits in the country. Read more »