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Weekend Link Roundup (May 8 - 9, 2010)

May 09, 2010

Our weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Economy

On the Kaufmann Foundation's Growthology blog, Tim Kane shares new research and charts on the state of the U.S. economy, including this neat infograph:

Environment

With all eyes focused on the worsening eco-disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Alex Kolker of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium writes that "If there is a silver lining in this event, I hope it will be redoubled focus, at the state and national levels, on restoring coastal Louisiana...."

Philanthropy

In a post at his newly redesigned Tactical Philanthropy site, Sean Stannard-Stockton discusses the new Grantmakers for Effective Organizations project Scaling What Works.

On the Case Foundation's blog, Jean Case details what happened last fall when the foundation learned that its PlayPumps initiative, which was designed to leverage the PlayPumps technology to bring clean drinking water to rural African villages, was coming up short. Writes Case:

Of course, there really is only one appropriate response when things aren't humming along as planned, and it is the same response Bill Gates offered, "So, what do we do next?" Because just like in business ventures, personal undertakings and public sector initiatives, things often go wrong. The unexpected happens. Reality doesn't always play out like the business plan calls for. Look at any great business today and chances are their road to success was fraught with potholes -- low moments that required fresh, new thinking and important course corrections. As a nation, I think we've learned that progress comes through trial and error, and much of what we enjoy today is because somebody somewhere was willing to blaze new ground....

In response to Case's post, World Affairs Council president Jane Wales offers a post of her own in which she commends Case for highlighting the fact that "mistakes matter."

The MacArthur Foundation recently announced grants totaling $5.6 million to ten universities in eight countries to establish new Master's in Development practice programs. Responding to the news, Laura Freschi, on the Aid Watch blog, asks what if, instead of "more development practitioners who can understand the 'languages' and practices of many specialties, and who can work fluidly and flexibly across intellectual and professional disciplines and geographic regions," the world really needs "more of something else?"

Social Entrepreneurship

Social Entrepreneurship blogger Nathaniel Whittemore takes issue with a recent post by social venture capitalist Josh Cohen and Taproot Foundation founder Aaron Hurst. In their post, Cohen and Hurst "advance the argument that the framework of social entrepreneurship is inadequate" and will not help Millienials -- the generation born between 1982 and 2000 -- attain meaningful careers. While Whittemore agrees with many of their points, he also lists five reasons why their argument is flawed.

Social Media

On the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog, Amy Sample Ward examines "how some of the most popular [social networking] tools...for 'community building' online are actually not community-centric tools at all."

Technology

On the Huffington Post, Rahim Kanani, a graduate student at Harvard Divinity School, cites examples from this year's Global Philanthropy Forum to support his contention that philanthropy is "harnessing mobile and internet technology for change, social impact, and accountability...."

Voluntarism

Guest blogging at the Case Foundation blog, Evan Hochberg of global accounting firm Deloitte looks at a new Volunteer IMPACT study which found "that more than eight in ten companies (84 percent) believe that volunteerism can help nonprofits accomplish long-term social goals." While that's good news, writes Hochberg, "I am concerned that the reported widespread lack of planning, accountability and measurement will limit the full potential of volunteerism...."

That's it for now. What did we miss? Drop us a line at rnm@foundationcenter.org and have a great week!

-- Regina Mahone

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