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Weekend Link Roundup (January 26-27, 2013)

January 27, 2013

Mosby-cold-snapOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Diversity

On the Tides Foundation's What's Possible blog, Toby Thompkins asks some thought-provoking questions about African Americans and U.S. history to remind us that "Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is not just a day for or about black Americans; it is a day for and about all Americans."

Governance

On her Social Velocity blog, Nell Edgington shares five questions to get your board "moving." They include: Why do you serve? What do you bring to our organization? And what do you want to contribute financially?

Impact/Effectiveness

Are we on the threshold of a new economic movement "that will result in all investors -- individual and institutional -- committing at least some portion of their investable assets to social impact"? Lisa Hall, president and CEO of the Calvert Foundation, believes we are, and in an essay in GreenMoney she explains how impact investing is driving that paradigm shift.

In a guest post on the Forbes blog, Kayleigh O'Keefe, associate director at the Corporate Executive Board, shares a "three-step method for "converting passive support into lasting partners":

  1. For each of your key stakeholder groups, define a specific desired behavior.
  2. If a certain stakeholder group is not doing what you’d like them to, determine why.
  3. Focus your efforts o n removing the barrier to the desired behavior change.

Philanthropy

In a deeply thoughtful piece on the Nonprofit Quarterly site, longtime Public Welfare Foundation board member Thomas Scanlon reflects on the benefits and pitfalls of "strategic" philanthropy. A must-read for anyone who works in the sector.

In a similar vein, Center for Effective Philanthropy president Phil Buchanan, writing on the Harvard Business Review blog, argues that capitalism, while good at lots of things, is pretty bad at many other things -- which is precisely why an advanced capitalistic society like the United States has a nonprofit sector. Another must-read for all who work in the social sector.

On FSG's Social Impact blog, FSG board member and Global Philanthropy Forum president Jane Wales takes a closer look at philanthropy in Asia and sees a sector that, while experiencing some growing pains, has unlimited potential.

On its Philanthropy Potluck blog, the Minnesota Council on Foundations shares highlights of an open letter released by the Minneapolis-based McKnight Foundation in which the foundation announced that it plans to distribute $79 million in grants in the coming year and will finalize an additional $25 million in grants -- part of a larger $100 million commitment -- in support of organizations working to address climate change and encourage the development of renewable energy.

Social Media

Following up on her post about twenty-nine nonprofit bloggers to follow on Twitter, Social Media for Social Good author Heather Mansfield shares a list of twenty-nine nonprofit resources to follow on the microblogging site.

Transparency

At the Foundation Center's Transparency Talk blog, Rob DiLeonardi, executive director of the Chicago-based VNA Foundation, explains why there is value in small foundations like VNA signing on to the center's Reporting Commitment initiative. Writes DiLeonardi:

Small to medium-sized foundations are far more common in number, size and grantmaking level than their larger brethren. In fact, small foundations account for approximately half of America's total foundation grant dollars, and often provide the kind of essential local support that impacts lives on a daily basis.

In addition, most observers judge foundations by their effectiveness, efficiency, and transparency, not their asset size. Participation by smaller foundations like VNA (foundation philanthropy being one of the few settings in which a $50 million bank account is considered "small") is key, in my opinion, to making the Reporting Commitment's impact felt in more than a handful of sectors....

Women

Forty years after the Supreme Court protected a woman's right to an abortion in its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, "a quick look at the recent past demonstrates the tenuous status of a woman's right to choose, in spite of the fact that a majority of our population supports the Court's decision," writes Niki Jagpal on the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy's Keeping a Close Eye blog. Philanthropy can help protect a woman's right to choose, adds Jagpal, by stepping in "when groups such as Planned Parenthood come under attack from right-wing politicians or by supporting state groups like Reproductive Services.

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

-- The Editors

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