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Weekend Link Roundup (August 1-2, 2015)

August 02, 2015

Adirondacks-with-ocean-viewOur weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Climate Change

While the decision of the Hewlett Foundation to amend its social investment policy to say it will "refrain from future investments in private partnerships primarily involved in oil and gas drilling" falls far short of divestment, it is significant nonetheless. Marc Gunther explains.

In the New Yorker, Katy Lederer explains how a new report from international consulting firm Mercer not only quantifies the investment impacts of various climate-change scenarios, it makes clear that as climate change "trashes" the economy, superfiduciaries— sovereign wealth and pension funds, foundations, and endowments — are not going to be able to meet their long-term obligations. 

Endowed institutions aren't the only ones waking up to the existential threat of unchecked climate change. Bloomberg Politics reports that executives of thirteen major U.S. corporations have announced at least $140 billion in new investments "to [reduce] their carbon footprints as part of a White House initiative to recruit private commitments ahead of a United Nations climate-change summit later this year in Paris."

Communications/Marketing

The latest edition of the Nonprofit Blog Carnival, which is being hosted by Kivi Leroux Miller on her Nonprofit Marketing Guide blog, is open for submissions. The topic of this month's roundup is how you share progress or communicate your accomplishments -- "not just with donors, but to program participants, and other supporters and influencers as well." The deadline for submissions (new or recent posts) is  Friday, August 28, and the roundup of all posts will be published on Monday, August 31. To submit a post, just email the URL and two- or three-sentence summary to nonprofitcarnival@gmail.com.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Large multinationals spent some $20 billion on corporate social responsibility programs in 2013. Good news, right? In The Atlantic, Gillian White explains why we shouldn't get too excited.

Education

"It’s at the level of the school building that most of the action around teacher evaluation and its consequences occurs, and truth be told, most economists are not devoting much attention to the interior of the school or the social relations among school leaders, teachers and students." In a good piece for The Hechinger Report, Aaron Pallas explains.

International Affairs/Development

Almost a year and a half after the publication of his book Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor, NYU economist William Easterly responds to three of the book's most trenchant critics.

Leadership

Agility, the ability to continuously learn, is one of the most important skills for a leader in today's fast-paced world. And the good news, writes Beth Kanter on the Markets for Good blog, is that learning agility is a skill that can be developed.

Philanthropy

On the Huffington Post's Impact blog, Natalie Martinez, an organizational psychologist, strategist, and technologist, argues that traditional philanthropy as we know it needs a major rethink. The Awesome Foundation, a global community that is working to advance "the interest of awesome in the universe, $1000 at a time," is a good place to start. 

Traditional philanthropy gets its due in the summer issue of Lapham's Quarterly, which is entirely devoted to the subject. "What would happen," asks Phil Cubeta on his Gift Hub blog, "if all who write about impact investing or social capitalism or metrics were willing to read this issue, take it to heart, and spend 10-20 years in meditation before re-entering the public sphere?" 

On the HistPhil blog, HistPhil co-founder Maribel Morey and Faith Mitchell, president and CEO of Grantmakers in Health, consider the Ford Foundation's recently announced equality initiative as part of the kick-off to what promises to be a rich discussion of philanthropy and inequality. 

Can anything be done about growing inequality in capitalist countries? In a Q&A with Lynn Parramore on the Institute for New Economic Thinking site, Oxford economics professor Tony Atkinson, author of the recently published book Inequality: What Can Be Done?, is cautiously optimistic.

Social Good

If you're really serious about helping the world's poor and changing the world, you should think about becoming an investment banker, philospher Peter Singer tells Reuters' Joseph D'Urso. But there's a kicker: As you're making a lot of money in the banking profession, you also have to give it away.

And in a post on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog, Hildy Gottlieb argues that building the capacity of organizations is not enough to change the world; we need to change the very nature of socially minded organizations and businesses so that they act more like movements than organizations.

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

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