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Weekend Link Roundup (July 4-5, 2015)

July 05, 2015

Grateful-dead-50th-anniversary-logo-stickerOur weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Civic Engagement

"Indicators of America’s flagging democratic engagement abound," writes Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, in an op-ed on the Fox News site. And a key reason, says Merisotis, is that America is "losing its edge when it comes to talent – the knowledge, skills and values that lead to success in our lives and careers." What's more, the decline in talent not only serves as a drag on the economy, it affects the quality of our democracy. "Without opportunities to cultivate their talent," writes Merisotis, "Americans are left with few prospects to move up the economic ladder. That creates a sense of hopelessness and apathy, which in turn has a dampening effect on Americans’ willingness to vote and engage. And without such involvement, democracy’s power wanes."


"[T]apping into your network and empowering your people is how the [fundraising] magic happens (especially with big fundraising events like #GivingTuesday)," writes Caryn Stein, vice president for communications and content at Network for Good. And this year, she adds, there are "two things you absolutely must do for a truly successful #GivingTuesday campaign: 1) identify your team and 2) activate your community.  While you're at it, be sure to check out our Q&A with 92nd Street Y executive director Henry Timms, the "father of #GivingTuesday." 

Joanne Fitz is hosting the July Nonprofit Blog Carnival on her Nonprofit Charitable Orgs blog and is looking for posts on a topic of great interest to all nonprofit leaders: year-end fundraising. To be included in the final roundup, you have to have first published a post or article on your own blog. Then submit it by Saturday, July 25, to Joanne at nonprofitcarnival@gmail.com. Joanne will review all submissions and pick the best to feature in a round-up post on July 28. Good luck!

International Affairs/Development

Writing in the Huffington Post, Suzanne Skees looks at efforts by the Grameen Foundation to design disruptive mobile solutions "to the kind of poverty that's most challenging to reach, in remote rural areas, and to the poorest of the poor."


On his Nonprofit Management blog, Eugene Fram shares some behavioral ways by which to assess whether or not a quality partnership exists between the board and CEO.


Can smallish foundations have an impact on major policy issues? Absolutely, writes Robert D. Haas, former CEO and chair emeritus of Levi Strauss & Co., whose family foundation, the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, was the first in the country to make marriage equality a top priority.

The team at the newish HistPhil blog continues to hit it out of the park, with deeply researched well-written posts from Stanley Katz, David Hammack, Maribel Morey, and others. Morey's latest, a reflection on philanthropy's role in a democracy prompted by the Supreme Court's recent Obergefell decision, includes this:

Private foundations, like the U.S. Supreme Court, are institutions entrusted by the American people to serve the well-being of the public, whether through the U.S. Constitution, subsequent legal precedent, or tax-exempt status. While the Supreme Court serves the public by being the supreme court of the land and final arbiter of the U.S. Constitution, philanthropic organizations do so by defining and choosing among problems in society and by brainstorming and funding certain solutions over others. And like Supreme Court Justices, staff and trustees in these philanthropic organizations arrive at their positions through appointment and not through any vote of the American people. As unelected individuals making decisions for the public, they sit just as uncomfortably — and arguably more so than the Court — in a democratic society that finds value in the popular will over public policy....

Inside Philanthropy's David Callahan calls Napster co-founder Sean Parker's recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal "the closest thing yet to a manifesto for tech philanthropy. And given the vast wealth this world commands," adds Callahan, "it’s a call that deserves close attention." Maybe, but HistPhil's Stan Katz has a considerably different take.

Social Innovation

What ever happened to the Obama administration's Social Innovation Fund? Nell Edgington takes a look at a new report out from the Social Innovation Research Center (SIRC), a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization, that details what has worked and what hasn't in the fund's six-year history. 

That's it for now. What have you been reading/watching/listening to? Drop us a line at mfn@foundationcenter.org or via the comments box below....


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Quote of the Week

  • "The dignity of the individual will flourish when the decisions concerning his life are in his own hands, when he has assurance that his income is stable and certain, and when he knows that he has the means to seek self-improvement ...."

    — Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

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