Philanthropy Needs Innovation to Help With Social Problems

Big nonprofits get most of the money, while smaller ones struggle to gain a foothold, resulting in the same things being done the same way every year. New approaches could fix that.

An adult holds the hand of a toddler in a loving, caring way.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s a question that plagues philanthropists: Why, in such a wealthy nation, have we yet to conquer our most persistent social problems? 

Homelessness is an excellent example. Although the U.S. spends billions of dollars every year to address homelessness and over 11,000 U.S. nonprofits are dedicated to the cause, homelessness continues to grow. Between 2018 and 2022, California alone spent over $17.5 billion trying to address the issue without even making a dent in it.

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Shelley R. Sylva, Esq.
Head of U.S. Corporate Citizenship, TD Bank

Shelley R. Sylva is the Head of Corporate Citizenship at TD Bank, where she also led the "TD Ready Commitment," a billion-dollar philanthropic initiative focused on social and environmental issues. Shelley is a 2021 Philadelphia Business Journal "Women of Distinction" honoree.