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Weekend Link Roundup (February 13-14, 2016)

February 14, 2016

Cold-Illinois-Winter-WeatherOur weekly round up of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Civic Engagement

While the Latino population of the United States has quintupled over the last forty years, Latino voter registration has not kept pace. The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy's Ryan Schlegel argues that foundations committed to long-term systemic change can do more than they have been to close the gap and shares four things they should bear in mind as they consider investing in civic and electoral participation.

Disaster Relief

Things are not looking good at the American Red Cross. ProPublica's Justin Elliott files the nonprofit news outlet's latest report on the beleaguered relief organization and its embattled CEO, Gail McGovern.

Education

As teach for America celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary, Kristina Rizga, an education reporter for Mother Jones, looks at how America's "most controversial" education organization is changing its ways.

Health

Writing on Quartz, Allison Schrager notes that the future is looking increasingly scary for the world's richest countries, and that's because their success in combating the traditional causes of death among the elderly — heart disease, cancer, and strokes — means degenerative diseases that impair cognition, particularly Alzheimer's, are on the rise. Indeed, Alzheimer's, the flip side of people living longer,  "is the third most common cause of death among Americans older than 85. And it's not just heart-wrenching for its victims and their loved ones; it has consequences for the economy."

Higher Education

According to UC Berkeley chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks, dwindling taxpayer support continues "to squeeze one of the nation's premier public research universities and has prompted a sweeping review likely to bring painful change," including the  "redesign [of] some academic programs,...expand[ed] online course offerings and...other steps to cut costs and increase revenue." Teresa Watanabe reports for the Los Angeles Times.

How about some good news? The Seattle Times' Katherine Long reports that a survey "of low-income, B-average students who received scholarships to college [from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation] shows that a few years after graduation, many had good jobs, volunteered in their communities, and expected their own children to go to college, too." The survey further suggests "that college scholarships, combined with the right support in high school, can break the cycle of poverty. And it can work for low-income students with promising — but not stellar — academic records...."

Income Inequality

"From the extreme left to the extreme right, everyone is angry about the one percent who have the majority of the wealth," writes Vivek Wadhwa in the Washington Post. And things are about to get worse. Over the next decade, technology will "disrupt almost every industry, wipe out millions of jobs, and make the rich even richer. Even though everyone will be able to live better and healthier lives and benefit from the technolog[ical] advances, the widening gap will cause greater resentment and create a larger cauldron of dissent." What does that mean for tech titans in Silicon Valley? For starters, they need to "sober up" and initiate a mature conversation with each other and the American people.

International Affairs/Development

"[C]ountries that have been the standard-bearers of good governance, transparency, and adherence to a long-term vision of fairness in social and economic development around the world" suddenly are cutting their aid budgets — and the consequences of those cuts are profound. The Hewlett Foundation's Ruth Levine explains.

Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim nation, third-largest democracy, and eight-largest economy. Can it translate its economic heft and relative political stability into global influence? The National Interest's  Vikram Nehru reports.

Add India to the list of countries that has decided to subject U.S. foundations operating inside its borders to closer scrutiny.

In an ever-more interdependent world, what can corporations do to encourage their employees to engage with the UN's post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? On the Triple Pundit site, Nita Kirby, director of client strategy for the JK Group, shares her thoughts.

Nonprofits

Wellspring Consulting's Christopher Keevil explains how "not knowing" can lead to better strategy.

In his maiden post as a new contributor to the GuideStar blog, Rainier Valley Corps executive director and Nonprofits With Balls blogger Vu Le shares some crowdsourced definitions of nonprofit terminologies and concepts that may be helpful to those thinking of going into nonprofit work.

And in a different post on the GuideStar blog, the organization's CEO, Jacob Harold, addresses some of the "myths and misconceptions" surrounding the Wounded Warrior Project, a fast-growing veterans service group that recently has been the focus of some unfavorable criticism from major media outlets, including the New York Times.

Philanthropy

In a guest post on the CTPhilanthropyNotes blog, Lauren McCargar, program officer at the Perin Family Foundation in Ridgefield, shares four lessons learned from PFF's efforts to operate in authentic partnership with its grantees, cultivate collaboration among its grantee partners, and work collaboratively with its philanthropic colleagues.

Social Change

The Markets for Good team at the Stanford PACS Digital Civil Society Lab has announced the launch of a new project, digitalIMPACT.io, to help nonprofits and foundations create and share practices for using digital data for social good. 

While you're at it, be sure to check out Nell Edgington's Q&A with Anna Muoio, an expert on the use of networks in social change efforts. 

And in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Kristen Joiner, a co-founder of Scenarios USA, asks a very interesting question: Does our collective celebration of the male-dominated world of technology cause us to overlook critical skills such as empathy needed to bring about social change? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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 section below....

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