When people learn that the same company that is selling a cure is simultaneously contributing to the cause of the disease, they get mad, and understandably so. There was a huge uproar around 2002 when activists revealed this was exactly what was happening with the pink ribbon breast cancer fundraising campaign. Cosmetics companies that were simultaneously using breast-cancer-linked chemicals in their products were “pinkwashing”—enticing consumers with the assurance that they were contributing a portion of their proceeds to fight the disease. I’m sorry to say that this dynamic is taking place in the very heart of philanthropy and ethical investing. And it needs to stop.

Since 1969, U.S. tax law has mandated that foundations pay ...

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