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Weekend Link Roundup (September 10-11, 2016)

September 11, 2016

9-11-memorial-ceremonyOur weekly round up of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Climate Change

Half of the ten largest cities in the world, including New York, are already threatened by rising sea levels. And if Greenland becomes ice free, as is currently projected to happen in the next century, all bets are off. On the EDF blog, Ilissa Ocko looks at five other climate tipping points scientists are worried about.

Environment

Most of us don't think twice about tossing our old clothes. Which is a problem, writes Alden Wicker, because textile waste is piling up at a "catastrophic rate."

Higher Education

Harvard University has raised $7 billion since it launched its most recent fundraising campaign in 2013 -- and while that's good news for America's oldest university, it's bad news for higher education. Akshat Rathi reports for Quartz.

On the Aspen Institute blog, Josh Wyner and Keith Witham look at what policy debates over increasing college affordability and reducing student debt say about the value we as a nation place on a college education and its individual and societal benefits.

Impact/Effectiveness

On the Triple Pundit site, Nicole Anderson, assistant vice president for social innovation at AT&T and president of the AT&T Foundation, explains what the telecommunications giant has been doing to measure the social return on AT&T Aspire, its signature educational program.

Inequality

How have incomes in the U.S. changed over the last two decades. Quoctrung Bui and the crew at the New York Times' Upshot unit share some remarkable charts.

Is big data partly to blame for growing inequality in the U.S.? Cathy O'Neill, author of Weapons of Math Destruction, thinks so. Aimee Rawlins reports for CNN Money.

International Affairs/Development

"For the first time in human history, the end of hunger is...within our reach," writes former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan on the CNN site. With the help of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation, Africa has witnessed a second agricultural Green Revolution, and in July Congress passed the Global Food Security Act, reaffirming the United States' commitment to ending global hunger, poverty, and child malnutrition. But, as Annan explains, there is more to be done.

Leadership

Nice post by NWB's Vu Le, who, in the wake of the recent passing of legendary Seattle community leader Bob Santos, reflects on the kind of leader our world needs at this fraught moment.

Nonprofits

On Beth Kanter's blog, Blackbaud's Steve MacLaughlin, author of the newly released Data Driven Nonprofits, argues that culture is the key to success for nonprofits looking to be more data driven. "The good news," he adds, is "there are multiple culture types that [can] create the right environment for data driven nonprofits to take shape and grow."

In his latest post, Nonprofit Chronicles blogger Marc Gunther looks under the hood of the new advisory system unveiled by charity rating service Charity Navigator and finds that while it brings CN "a bit closer to fulfilling its...mission to guide intelligent giving [and thus] advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace,...like the rest of the site, [it] is of limited use."

Philanthropy

Writing in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Lisa Ranghelli, senior director of assessment and special projects at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, suggests that "in a world of finite philanthropic resources for social change...it become increasingly important to think about inclusion more holistically — how foundations relate to nonprofit organizations both individually and collectively, and how they relate to the targeted beneficiaries that those organizations serve and engage."

Sylvia Yee, who recently stepped down as vice president of programs at the Evelyn and Walter J. Haas, Jr. Fund after twenty-three years with the fund, reflects on her time with the foundation and the leadership of its longtime president, Ira Hirschfield, who has also announced his retirement.

Public Affairs

Mitt Romney's remark to a meeting of wealthy donors in 2012 disparaging the 47 percent of Americans who are "takers" (i.e., don't pay federal taxes) not only cost him the election, it misrepresented an important aspect of social-safety net policies in this country, writes Jeff Guo in the Washington Post: the so-called 47 percent "are not some permanent underclass of dependents" but average Americans who, for the most part, only use such programs as a stop-gap measure.

Tax Policy

Donating shares of appreciated stock to a nonprofit or donor-advised fund administered by a tax-exempt entity has become the norm in tax efficiency for many donors, writes Forbes' contributor Robert W. Wood. But the fact that Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan have begun to donate significant amounts of Facebook shares to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, an LLC, "makes the Zuckerberg-Chan charity planning model a unique one, with not everything as tax exempt as a typical charity."

Transparency

Last but not least, on the Center for Effective Philanthropy blog, Kevin Bolduc revisits 100&Change, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation competition through which a $100-million-dollar prize will be awarded to "one good idea," with a focus on the transparency of the competition's selection process.

On this, the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, we remember all those who lost their lives on that terrible day. 

Got something you'd like to share with our readers? Drop us a line at mfn@foundationcenter.org or post it in the comments section below....

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