In 2004, Robert Egger, the noted activist and founder of the D.C. Central Kitchen, groused to an audience at Georgetown University: “The nonprofit sector generates $13 billion at least in revenues a year. Yet the best you get in all the media is the Washington Business Journal’s “Good Deeds” section, which reports [that] the proceeds from the spaghetti dinner helped poor kids in Southeast [D.C.]”

He’s right, says Matthew Hale, a professor in the department of public and healthcare...

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