June 28, 2015
Our weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content from and about the social sector, follow us on Twitter at@pndblog....
"For young and old alike," a new poll suggests, "debt now looms as a major factor in setting their life course. An identical 38 percent of both young and older respondents said that in making decisions such as when to get married, buy a home, or have children, debt had affected their choices 'a great deal'. Nancy Cook, a correspondent for National Journal, reports for The Atlantic.
On the Nonprofit Marketing Blog, Jennifer Chandler, vice president and director of network support and knowledge sharing at the National Council of Nonprofits, shares some thoughts on how new rules issued by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) could "make life less stressful for nonprofit fundraising professionals and development directors."
Is charitable giving really at a record high? On the CNBC website, Kelley Holland takes a closer look at the numbers.
Meredith Kolodner, a staff writer for the Hechinger Report, checks in with a deeply researched look at merit-based scholarship programs, which, studies show, "disproportionately benefit middle- and upper-income students and have little impact on college graduation rates.
Are women underrepresented among the ranks of foundation CEOs? The Center for Effective Philanthropy's Phil Buchanan and Jen Cole look at the numbers?
Writing on the Council on Foundation's blog, Kevin Jennings, executive director of the Arcus Foundation, a global foundation dedicated to "the idea that people can live in harmony with one another and the natural world," argues that aside from a dedicated handful of foundations established by gay individuals, "organized philanthropy pretty much sat out one of the greatest social justice battles of our time" — i.e., the long struggle for marriage equality. Why? "Too often," Jennings writes, "foundations play it safe and don't jump in when they're most needed: when victory looks unlikely, if not impossible. Far too often we wait until the bandwagon has momentum before we make the commitment...."
Stanley Katz, director of Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies at Princeton University (and a co-founder and editor of the HistPhil blog) tells Chronicle of Philanthropy contributor Pablo Eisenberg that foundations have never been good at taking on big problems. And if current efforts by foundations to address inequality are to be any different, a skeptical Eisenberg writes, the foundations involved in that work will need to demonstrate "a taste for activism and action...and stay focused for the long haul" in a way that is not exactly typical of the sector.
As part of the New York Times' "deepening focus on economic inequality," the Times' executive editor, Dean Bacquet announced earlier in the week that its longtime television critic, Alessandra Stanley, has been given a new beat covering the "top 1 percent of the 1 percent" — a decision that left many Times readers scratching their heads.
Noting that fully 20 percent of all Americans have a disability and 70 percent of those people are out of the workforce, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, the president of RespectAbilityUSA, argues on the D5 blog that any effort by foundations and others to address inequality must include a disability lens.
And speaking of the HistPhil blog, it's off to an impressive start, with terrific contributions from David C. Hammack (here and here), Peter C. Weber (here), blog co-founders Ben Soskis (here) and Maribel Mourey (here), and Katz himself (here), among others. Based on its first couple of weeks, we're pretty sure you'll want to add it to your short list of must-read philanthropy blogs
On the Transparency Talk blog, Maggie Lee, a specialist on the Foundation Center's IssueLab team, shares highlights from a recent workshop in Boston convened as part of the center's work to increase foundation effectiveness through open knowledge sharing. By the end of the session, Lee reports, the group had drafted a starter list of principles that included the following:
- Social sector knowledge resources are produced with funds in the public trust, which gives organizations producing those resources a unique responsibility to share them as a public good.
- The social sector's credibility relies on honesty and transparency.
- New knowledge is built on existing knowledge and should be placed in context and attributed.
- Do no harm. Do not waste scarce resources. Do not replicate mistakes.
Why aren't Americans doing more to protest inequality? In the New York Times, Thomas B. Edsall, suggests it might have lot to do with a process called "individualization." Americans who "in the past saw co-workers as colleagues and allies," writes Edsall (quoting Ulrich Beck, a German sociologist who died earlier this year), "now face competitive pressures such that when 'a shared background still exists, community is dissolved in the acid bath of competition.' The result is "the isolation of individuals within homogeneous social groups," where, released "from traditional class ties and family supports," they must rely on "their own resources to determine their 'fate in the labor market, with all its attendant risks, opportunities and contradictions'."
What does the future of social look like? In a post on her blog, Beth Kanter shares what she learned froma lineup of speakers at the recent Future of Social conference in London.
That's it for now. What have you been reading/watching/listening to? Drop us a line email@example.com or via the comments box below....