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124 posts categorized "Climate Change"

Weekend Link Roundup (April 23-24, 2016)

April 24, 2016

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

Arts and Culture

Americans for the Arts has released the sixth and final edition of the National Arts Index, its annual report the health and vitality of arts and culture in the United States. This edition, which covers the years 2002-13 and includes data on eighty-one national-level indicators, provides "provides the fullest picture yet of the impact of the Great Recession on the arts — before, during, and after." You can download the full report (4.38mb, PDF) a one-page summary, and/or previous reports from this page.

Climate Change

On his Nonprofit Chronicles blog, Marc Gunther suggests that is we are to avoid the worst effects of global warming, we not only have to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we'will also need to figure out how to pull vast amounts of carbon dioxide out of the air. It's a daunting challenge, but we've got "a decade or two, perhaps" to figure it out, Gunther adds, and philanthropy, which has yet to devote much money to research on these technologies, has a real opportunity to make a difference.

In a Q&A here on PhilanTopic, the United Nation Foundation's Reid Detchon explains the significance of the Paris Agreement, which representatives of more than a hundred and seventy countries signed at a ceremony at the UN on Friday. And in a post on Medium, the National Resource Defense Council's Reah Suh argues that the accord represents the greatest opportunity the world has had to shift "from the carbon-rich fossil fuels of the past to the clean energy options that can power our future." home and abroad.

Disabilities

Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, has just awarded $20 million to thirty nonprofits working to engineer a better life for the disabled around the globe. Wired's Davey Alba has the details.

Education

On her Answer Sheet blog, Washington Post reporter Valerie Strauss shares key takeaways from Teachers Talk Back: Educators on the Impact of Teacher Evaluation, a new report written by a team of teachers and administrators headed by veteran educator Anthony Cody, co-founder of the Network for Public Education, and education historian and activist Diane Ravitch.

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation has launched an initiative called the Better Math Teaching Network. Learn more here.

Fundraising

The 2016 M+R Benchmarks Study, an annual report published by communications agency M+R and the Nonprofit Technology Network, is out and one of its key findings is that email still rules when it comes to raising money. Mashable's Katie Dupere breaks it down.

With alumni participation in annual campaigns on the decline, colleges and universities are turning to crowdfunding sites like GiveCampus.com to boost their fundraising results among younger, more tech-savvy grads -- and are finding success. The Washington Post's Danielle Douglas-Gabriel reports.

How can fundraisers ensure their engagement practices aren't just engaging donors but are also fostering loyalty? Abila, Inc.'s Donor Loyalty Study just might have the answers. (Free download; registration required.)

Global Poverty

With urbanization accelerating around the globe, traditional survey techniques are vastly undercounting the number of people living in urban slums, writes Humansophere's Tom Murphy. And "[b]ad numbers could mean that resources aren't used where they're needed most – too much in some places, little to none in other places."

In The Atlantic, Nina Munk profiles Howard G. Buffett, who, with the $2.5 billion his father Warren has invested in his foundation, is trying to figure out how to help the 800 million people globally, many in sub-Saharan Africa, who do not have enough to eat.

Journalism/Media

Congratulations to nonprofit investigative journalism site ProPublica, which, in partnership with the Marshall Project, a nonprofit nonpartisan news organization that covers America's criminal justice system, won its third Pulitzer Prize for for "An Unbelievable Story of Rape," T.Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong's "harrowing" account of the hunt for a serial rapist.

Philanthropy

Are Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and other tech titans the Andrew Carnegies and John D. Rockefellers of a new Gilded Age? The excesses of the that period in American history, the Guardian's Nellie Bowles writes, led to a cultural moment that Carnegie biographer David Nasaw says looks familiar today. "Back then there was a lot of rage, a lot of anger.... There was a backlash against Carnegie and Rockefeller when they set up their philanthropies. There was a congressional hearing about whether this concentrated wealth should be allowed," Nasaw notes. "There's always this conversation between democracy and billionaires, and today those billionaires have more power than ever."

Poverty

Is the social reproduction of poverty inevitable? Not at all, and not even in Baltimore, where poor children are less likely to escape poverty than those growing up in any other city in America, say sociologists Stefanie DeLuca, Susan Clampet-Lundquist, and Kathryn Edin in their new book, Coming of Age in the Other America. Jen Kinney reports for Next City.

Social Change

The Case Foundation has launched a redesigned Be Fearless Hub aimed at enhancing "the user experience and mak[ing] more accessible the free tools and resources that [the Be Fearless] community has requested." Visitors to the hub will find new case studies, a downloadable "Be Fearless Framework for Action," and a helpful What's New section.

Writing on the Medium platform, Acumen's Jacqueline Novogratz has a good piece on the five traits of a moral leader.

Women/Girls

And on the Aspen Idea blog, guest blogger Jasmine Babers says the term "glass ceiling" doesn't begin to suggest the  nature of the challenges women of color face in trying to advance their professional lives.

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....

Paris and the Way Forward: A Conversation With the UN Foundation's Reid Detchon

April 22, 2016

It's been an unsettling couple of months for people who worry about the climate. As Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis write in the Washington Post, "The first three months of 2016 have been the hottest ever recorded, and by a large margin. Greenland's massive ice sheet melted more this spring than researchers have ever seen. Warming seas are turning once-majestic coral reefs into ghostly underwater graveyards. And scientists are warning that sea levels could rise far faster than anyone expected by the end of the century, with severe impacts for coastal communities around the globe." Throw in the monsoon-like rains that have swamped Houston and the record heat baking the Pacific Northwest, and you're probably starting to think maybe it's time our elected officials took action. (Or not.)

In December, representatives from a hundred and ninety-five countries convened in Paris for the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP), an annual gathering under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where they negotiated the so-called Paris Agreement, a non-binding pact to slow and, ultimately, reverse the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. On April 22, Earth Day, the agreement will be opened for signing by countries that support it.

For most people, what that means — in terms of its impact, if any, on their lives and the future of the planet — is a mystery. To help shed light on these issues, PND spoke with Reid Detchon, vice president for energy and climate strategy at the United Nations Foundation, about the agreement, the significance of the signing ceremony, and whether the global community can slow and reverse emissions of greenhouse gases before it's too late.

From June 1999 through December 2001, Detchon served as director of special projects in Washington, D.C., for the Turner Foundation, managing a portfolio of grants aimed at increasing the effectiveness of environmental advocacy and encouraging federal action to avert global climate change. Before that, he spent six years at the Podesta Group, a government relations and public affairs firm in Washington, D.C., and from 1989 to 1993 he served as the principal deputy assistant secretary for conservation and renewable energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. Detchon also worked for five years in the U.S. Senate, advising Sen. John Danforth (R-MO) on energy and environmental issues and serving as his legislative director, and was the principal speechwriter for Vice President George H. W. Bush.

Headshot_reid_detchonPhilanthropy News Digest: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders to a ceremony at UN headquarters in New York on April 22, where they will have the opportunity to sign an agreement that was reached at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris last December. Before we get into the details of the agreement, what does the UN hope to accomplish at the ceremony on the 22nd?

Reid Detchon: The significance of April 22 really goes back to the Paris Agree­ment itself. And what's so remarkable about that is that previous disagreements fell away, and the agreement was signed by virtually every country on the planet. For each country to agree to participate and make a nationally determined contribution to limit climate change over the coming years — that consensus is, I think, the larger significance of Paris, and bodes well for the process going for­ward.

So, on April 22, as you noted, there will be a signing ceremony at UN headquarters in New York. And it's expected that a larger number of countries will sign the agreement, in a single day, than has ever happened with any previous treaty or agreement. Again, it's an indication of the universality of the agreement and of the excitement and momentum that was created in Paris, and we need to carry that forward into the implementation phase. The signing ceremony is the first step in that process, and I expect it will be a great launch pad for future action.

PND: Will President Obama be in New York on the 22nd to sign the agreement? And which other world leaders of note will be there?

RD: The United States will be represented by Secretary of State Kerry. That's my understanding. And we've heard that Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of China will be present as well. As you probably know, the U.S. and China issued a statement ten days ago reaffirming their support for the climate agreement and their intention to move forward with implementation of the agreement.

Among heads of state, I believe the presidents of the current and upcoming COPs  — that is, French president François Hollande and Mohammed VI of Morocco — will be in New York for the ceremony, and I believe there will be at least forty other heads of state there, principally from developing countries and the small island states. But, of course, we'll have to see.

PND: You alluded a minute ago to why the Paris Agreement is historic, and I think supporters of the agreement would say that is especially true after what some consider to be the failure of Copenhagen summit in 2009. What happened between Copenhagen and Paris last December to change the calculus for so many countries?

RD: Well, a simple way to think about it is to say that the parties responsible for negotiating the agreement changed their focus from "burden sharing" to opportunity. Leading up to Copenhagen, and in the wake of Kyoto, the focus of multinational climate change efforts was on how to allocate what was seen as a responsibility to reduce emissions among different sovereign countries. But that sort of top-down approach proved too difficult for the international system to handle politically. Instead, the brilliance of the Paris Agreement is the fact that it is based on nationally determined contributions suggested by the countries themselves. And they are doing so in their own economic and political self-interest, not because somebody is telling them they have to. So, China has made a breathtaking commitment to clean energy. India, similarly, has made a very robust and ambitious commitment — to solar power, in particular. But every country is con­tributing their own fair share, as they see it. And that has enabled us to get to this point.

PND: The agreement is not binding unless it is signed by at least fifty-five countries representing at least 55 percent of global greenhouse emissions. Do you think that can be achieved in the next five years?

RD: Absolutely. We have high ambitions of reaching that target much quicker than that. I don't want to make predictions, but given the reaffirmation by the U.S. and China, the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, that will get us a long way to the percentage target, and the strong support for the agreement among many developing countries and small island states will make the number-of-countries target relatively easy to achieve as well. That's not to say it won't take some time. Each country has its own procedure for affirming its participation in the agreement, and so it will take longer in some countries than in others, but I have high hopes of it happening much more quickly than five years.

PND: The underlying assumption of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, of which these COP conferences have been an important part, is to limit global temperature increase in this century to under two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels. Recently, the World Bank and others have reported that a rise of one and a half degrees Celsius is already locked in, and earlier this year the average temperature in the Northern Hemisphere, for a small period of time, exceeded two degrees Celsius. Are we kidding ourselves in thinking we can keep global temperature increase in this century to two degrees Celsius?

RD: Well, that's the critical question, of course, and it's a very significant challenge. The difficulty about climate change is that the inertia that gets built into the system from decades of emissions takes quite a long time to turn around, both in the atmosphere and on the ground. And the Paris Agreement, I think, is widely understood not to be sufficient to get below two degrees C. In general, I've heard it said that the effect of the agreement was to reduce the projected emissions from something like three and a half degrees Celsius to two-point-seven — but two-point-seven is not two, much less one and a half.

The most significant thing about the Paris Agreement in my mind is the commitment to come back every five years and revisit the progress that has been made, to review the tech­nology and tools that are available to drive further progress, and to ratchet up our ambition at successive meetings until we get below the two-degree Celsius threshold and, ideally, begin moving toward the one-and-a-half degree line.

Let me just add that much of the progress that has been made is being driven by the success of clean energy technology development. The cost of solar energy, the cost of wind energy has fallen dramatically, while, on the other side of the equation, the application of energy-efficient technologies in things like lighting has spread rapidly — I'm thinking here of, for example, LED bulbs – and that is going to have a tremendous impact around the world in terms of energy demand. At the same time, we have a growing global population and growing economies across the developing world, and both of those facts represent an ongoing challenge in terms of meeting that goal.

A final point: We have an opportunity to buy our­selves some additional time, not sufficient to change the overall equation, but some time nevertheless, and that is to think more aggres­sively about how to sequester more carbon in the natural world, particularly in soils. Carbon is very good for soil, it increases fertility and agricultural productivity, and I believe if we can encourage much more rapid adoption of farming techniques that capture more carbon, that could give us a little bit more time for clean-energy technology to catch up, and for the world to make the very significant shift from fossil fuel-based energy systems over the next thirty-five years or so.

PND: A potential unintended consequence of such an approach might be an acceleration of ocean acidification. Is that a legitimate concern, or just unavoidable?

RD: Well, to a certain extent, it's both. Obviously, ocean acidification is an enormous concern. Because of the emissions that are already in the atmosphere — and carbon emissions typically stay in the atmosphere for something like a hundred years — the oceans are an important absorber of atmospheric carbon dioxide. But as carbon in the atmosphere has increased, it has created a change in ocean chemistry that is very worrisome. And the answer to that problem must be to reduce our emissions as quickly as possible.

Now, some people have said that we might be able to geo-engineer an increase in the oceans' capacity to absorb carbon. But I, and most people I speak to, think the impact on marine ecosystems and species would be catastrophic, so you won't hear me say that that idea has promise. In general I would say that geo-engineering schemes address, at best, only part of the problem. And the very idea that we can fix this through technology, through some kind of carbon removal scheme, within the near to mid-term…well, it strikes me as impractical, at best, and unrealistic when you start to dig into the details.

PND: You mentioned earlier that one of the important aspects of the agreement is its focus on burden sharing. Does the United Nations have a view on how that burden should be shared? In other words, should it be shared equally by developed countries like the United States, England and Germany that, historically, have contributed the most to the problem and by emerging countries, like China and India, which today are the biggest emitters of carbon? Or should there be some proportionality applied to the formula, if in fact there is a formula?

RD:  Well, again, the significance of Paris was that the community agreed that formulas of that kind were not helpful if rigidly applied. But if the fundamental psychological shift represented by the agreement was from burden to opportunity, certainly countries with the greatest emissions today have the greatest opportunity to reduce those emissions — and to do so profitably while creating a range of other benefits in the areas of public health, agriculture, and so on. So, yes, I do think countries that are emitting the most have the most room for improvement, and that that's where you're going to see the biggest changes.

On the opportunity side, it’s increas­ing­ly apparent — and I am hopeful India will be able to model this for the rest of the world — that countries don't need to follow the same fossil fuel-dependent path to economic development as the U.S., Japan, and European countries did, that a modern electric grid built on substantial contributions from solar and wind resources can be just as effective in terms of supporting economic development as a more conventional grid. And so the hope, of course, is that clean energy pathways increasingly will be adopted by developing countries around the globe, particularly rapidly developing countries like China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico, so that we don't simply repeat the same mistakes that were made during the first great wave of industrialization.

PND: Given the skepticism of many Republicans in Congress toward an anthropogenic theory of climate change, do you, as someone who has worked on Capitol Hill, see any way to forge a political consensus around the issue in the U.S.?

RD: Well, sometimes Washington is the last place to catch up to trends in the country, but I think there is a broad and growing understanding and embrace of the need for action on climate change in the United States. It shows up most clearly in the strong support across political lines for clean energy, and for renewables in particular. We've seen some evidence of that even in Congress, at the end of last year, when, as some members were complaining about the Paris Agreement, Congress passed legislation extending for five years a very important production tax credit for wind and an investment tax credit for solar, both of which will make a big difference in helping the U.S. meet its climate commitments.

As we move forward, the changes that we need to make — and that have been feared by some — will prove to be more beneficial than skeptics anticipate, and aggressive deployment of renewable energy, as well as energy efficiency measures, will continue to move us rapidly down the path to realizing a clean-energy economy.

On that note, I don't want to neglect the very important role that will be played over the next twenty years by, first of all, the doubling of fuel-economy standards for cars and light trucks in the U.S to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, as well as the promulgation, by the Department of Energy, of literally dozens of appliance efficiency standards, which, like LED bulbs, will deliver the same labor-saving productivity as before but consume much less energy. These kinds of things are going to be good not just for consumers' pocketbooks, they'll also significantly reduce our emissions regardless of where the power is generated.

PND: How does the Paris agreement fit into the Sustainable Development Goals campaign launched by the UN last year? And, more specifically, how do you see the agreement working with Goal 13 of the SDG campaign, which calls for the global community to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts? Is there a relationship between the two efforts?

RD: In many ways, the most significant event of 2015 was the coming together of these two strands, development and environment. The vice chair of the UN Foundation is the former prime minister of Norway, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, who chaired the World Commission on Environment and Development more than thirty years ago. In fact, it was the recommendations of that commission which laid the groundwork for the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. If you go back and look at the commission’s report, you'll see that even then many people in the international community were stressing the inter-connectedness of the two. And what happened in 2015 was that the international community as a whole really embraced that theme and finally accepted the idea that to succeed on climate change, and to avoid seeing literally decades of development progress reversed by adverse weather and related events, we simply have to have sustainable development. Concurrently, there was a recognition in the climate community about how actions to reduce the threat of climate change must take into account the legitimate rights of people, all people, to economic development.

So, to me, the significance of the Sustainable Development Goals is not just that Goal 13 focuses on climate change, but that these two themes run through almost every other goal. I would point in particular to Goal 7, which targets access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. That goal, of course, is intimately tied into our response to the changing climate, as well as our need for sustainable development. Again, the interweaving of these themes across all seventeen of the Sustainable Development Goals really is the most important theme that emerged from the SDG process — and one that will be increasingly central to the implementation process going forward.

PND: A final pair of questions for you. Are foundations and private donors doing enough to combat climate change and its impact? And, given philanthropy's relatively limited resources, how do you think it can best use those resources to secure ratification of the Paris Agreement and advance the fight against climate change?

RD: The challenges in climate change work are so large that it's hard to say anybody, anywhere, is doing enough. We all need to do more. In fact, at a recent discussion it was suggested that, going forward, those of us working on climate issues should adopt the motto "More, Faster."

That said, I think philanthropy has stepped up in very useful ways and will need to continue to do so. Probably most significant is what it has done to help mobilize grassroots support for action on climate change, communicating that to elected officials, and generally helping where it can to build momentum behind calls for action. As we go forward, however, it will be important to raise expectations for future commitments, because, ultimately, the challenges and needs are going to be even greater than they are today. In that the sense, we're all in the same boat, and we all need to work together to protect the hopes and security of future generations, not to mention the planet we live on, in a way that is sustainable and contributes to a better life for all.

— Mitch Nauffts

Weekend Link Roundup (March 26-27, 2016)

March 27, 2016

CherryblossomOur 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

Forty-one percent of Americans — a record number — believe global warming poses "a serious threat to them or their way of life." Aamna Mohdin reports for Quartz.

Another sign of the times: The Rockefeller Family Fund, a family philanthropy created by Martha, John, Laurance, Nelson, and David Rockefeller in 1967 with money "borne of the fortune of John D. Rockefeller," America's original oil baron, has announced its intent to divest from fossil fuels, a process that "will be completed as quickly as possible." You can read the complete statement here

And the New York Times' coverage of new findings warning of the potentially devastating consequences of unchecked global warming, in a much more compressed time frame than previously thought, should get everyone's attention.

Conservation

What is the most effective way to protect wild lands? Traditional place-based conservation? Or through efforts to reshape markets and reduce demand for the development of those lands? Nonprofit Chronicles blogger Marc Gunther explores that question with Aileen Lee, chief program officer for environmental conservation at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, one of the largest private funders of environmental conservation efforts in the world.

Corporate Social Responsibility

"What we are seeing," write Brigit Helms and Oscar Farfán on the Huffington Post Impact blog, "is not just a passing trend, but the beginning of a new form of business — a business that looks beyond profits to generate social value, the business of the future. Tectonic forces are accelerating this movement. At the global level, the most important one involves a cultural shift driven mainly by millennials. The new generation sees the main role of business as that of 'improving society', and not just generating profits...."

Continue reading »

Weekend Link Roundup (March 12-13, 2016)

March 13, 2016

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

Children and Youth

Looking for a good collection of juvenile justice resources? The Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, a leader in the field, has published this on its blog.

Climate Change

On the Humanosphere site, Tom Murphy asks the question: Will the Global Climate Fund falter before it gets off the ground?

Education

In the New York Review Books, historian of education and author Diane Ravitch reviews Dale Russakoff's The Prize: Who's In Charge of America's Schools? and Kristina Rizga's Mission High: One School, How Experts Tried to Fail it, and the Students and Teachers Who Made it Triumph and finds both to be "excellent." Together, Ravitch adds, the two books also "demonstrate that grand ideas cannot be imposed on people without their assent. Money and power are not sufficient to improve schools. [And genuine] improvement happens when students, teachers, principals, parents, and the local community collaborate for the benefit of the children...."

Environment

Nonprofit Chronicles' Marc Gunther has written a must-read post about the recent assassination of Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres -- and what U.S. funders can do to combat the organized campaign of terror and intimidation being waged against environmental activists in Honduras: 1) Demand that Berta Cáceres' killers be brought to justice; 2) provide more support for grassroots activism; and 3) recognize/acknowledge the connections between the environment and human rights.

Fundraising

In Forbes, Russ Alan Prince recaps the seven wealthy charitable donor types.

Continue reading »

Weekend Link Roundup (March 5-6, 2016)

March 06, 2016

Ronald_Reagan_and_Nancy_Reagan_aboard_a_boat_in_California_1964 Our 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

After months of negotiation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Fossil Free MIT have reached an agreement that will end the group's sit-in in front of the school's administrative offices. The plan agreed on by MIT and the student-led group includes four "action areas": moving toward campus carbon neutrality as soon as possible; establishing a climate action advisory committee to consult on the implementation of the Plan for Action; developing a set of strategies and benchmarks for MIT's engagement with industry, government, and other institutions; and convening a forum on the ethics of the climate issue. In response to a recent essay in the Boston Review titled "Carbon on Campus," Benjamin Franta argues that campus divestment efforts like the one at MIT are not "primarily [designed] to starve big carbon of capital," but rather "to force hard, accountable moral analyses to take place and...put an end to equivocation and dissembling on climate change by demanding action involving real money.  [Moreover doing] so helps to shift institutional and social norms and to democratize the climate debate." 

Criminal Justice

More than two decades after the federal government prohibited taxpayer dollars from being used for college-degree programs in prisons, forty-seven states have applied to participate in a Department of Education that makes Pell grant dollars available to inmates. The AP's Donna Gordon Blakenship reports.

Data

The television commercials are charming. But Forbes contributor Bernard Marr thinks Watson, IBM's natural language analytics platform, just might be the solution to the big data skills gap in America.

Dylanology

Bob Dylan -- or at least an archive of his work dating back to his earliest days -- is going "home," spiritually speaking, to Oklahoma (Woody Guthrie's birthplace), thanks to the Tulsa-based George Kaiser Family Foundation. The New York Times' Ben Sisario untangles the story behind the gift.

Education

The Oakland-based New Schools Venture Fund has announced its first group of Diverse Leaders ventures -- part of an initiative by NSVF to improve public education in America by supporting a community of entrepreneurs who are committed to changing the face of K-12 leadership and being truly inclusive.

"Research findings have made clear the persistence of strong connections between arts learning in earlier years and overall academic success and pro-social outcomes," writes Marinell Rousmaniere in the Boston Globe. "[And for] the past six years, Boston has been ahead of the curve reinvesting in arts education by generating, and sustaining, a collective effort in the city among the public, private, and philanthropic sectors...."

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Weekend Link Roundup (February 27-28, 2016)

February 28, 2016

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

African Americans

My Brother's Keeper, the White House initiative aimed at improving outcomes for young men of color -- and President Obama's "most personal project" -- just celebrated its second anniversary. But is it making a difference? The Root's Theodore R. Johnson III reports.

Climate Change

Now that Walmart, Google, Goldman Sachs and other multinational corporations have pledged to reduce their carbon footprints, how can the global community hold them to their commitments? TIME's Justin Worland reports on one UN official who has been tasked with building a system  that aims to measure corporate efforts to address climate change.

Corporate Philanthropy

On the Triple Pundit site, Abby Jarvis, a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Ogiv, an online fundraising service provider, offers some easy-to-implement CSR advice for businesses who are looking to do more to help nonprofits in their communities.

Data

In a post on the Benetech blog, Jim Fruchterman, the organization's foundation, uses the example of a small anti-poverty group in Uruguay to show how even basic attempts by nonprofits and NGOs to collect data as part of their program activities can lead to bigger and better things.

In the same vein, the folks at Tech Impact share four strategies designed to help your nonprofit deal with the "data deluge."

Governance

On the BoardSource blog,  Jermaine L. Smith, development director at Educare New Orleans, has some tips for nonprofit organizations that are looking to diversify their boards but may not know how to get started.

Continue reading »

Weekend Link Roundup (January 30-31, 2016)

January 31, 2016

Woolworth_sit-inOur 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

According to Jessica Leber, a staff editor and writer for Fast Company's Co.Exist, Al Gore, at one time "possibly the gloomiest man in America," is feeling somewhat hopeful for the future of the planet, thanks in part to what he sees as the success of the recent Paris climate change talks.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Hey, you CSR types, looking to achieve more social good in 2016? Saudia Davis, founder and CEO of GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning, shares some good advice.

And Ryan Scott, founder and CEO of Causecast, a platform for cause engagement, weighs in with six reasons businesses need to increase their CSR budgets.

Criminal Justice

"It is clear," writes Sonia Kowal, president of Zevin Asset Management, on the NCRP blog, "that our justice system is designed for control rather than healing. And with the alarming demographics of national incarceration rates, it's also clear that it helps facilitate an economy of exclusion that considers many people of color to be unemployable and disposable." What can foundations and impact investors do to change that paradigm. Kowal has a few suggestions.

Education

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has announced the launch of EDInsight, a new education-related blog that will  "provide a forum for discussing a variety of topics related to education — including teacher preparation, school quality, postsecondary attainment, use of education data and other education news and trends."

Giving Pledge

The New York Times reports that, since July, investor and Giving Pledge co-founder Warren Buffett has gifted $32 million worth of stock in Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company he controls. The Times also notes that the total represents "a relatively small part of Buffett's plan to give most of his $58.3 billion fortune to charity." Interestingly, despite giving roughly $1.5 billion a year (mostly to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) since launching the Giving Pledge in 2010, Buffett's personal net worth, most of it tied to Berkshire stock, has increased by more than $10 billion, while Bill Gates's net worth has grown by $27 billion, from $53 billion to $80 billion. In other words, neither man is giving his fortune away as quickly as he is adding to it.

Continue reading »

Weekend Link Roundup (December 26-27, 2015)

December 27, 2015

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

Arts and Culture

Eight years after its controversial Central Library Plan was greeted with alarm and derision, the New York Public Library  is moving forward with a $300 million renovation of its historic midtown campus, and this time, library leaders say, "it's a different story." WNYC's Jessica Gould reports.

How can we talk about art and artists in a way that makes clear their contributions to quality of life in the communities we call home? Veteran policy advocate and communicator Margy Waller shares some thoughts on Americans for the Arts' ArtsBlog.

Civil Society

On the Open Society Foundations' Voices blog, OSF president Christopher Stone notes the troubling fact that, in countries around the world and for a variety of reasons, "active citizenship is under attack and the space for civic engagement is closing."

Climate Change

Andrew Simmons, founder of the JEMS Progressive Community Organization and the Caribbean Youth Environment Network and a previous winner ('94) of the Goldman Environmental Prize, talks to the folks at GEP about the global agreement forged at the recent Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC/COP21) summit in Paris and whether it is enough to save vulnerable island-nations from disaster.

Corporate Philanthropy

Based on Corporate Responsibility magazine's list of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens of 2015, the folks at the JK group share ten lessons from their work that make these companies the best in philanthropy and how yours can follow suit.

Criminal Justice

On the Marshall Project site, Vincent Schiraldi, formerly director of juvenile corrections for Washington, D.C., and a senior advisor to the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice in New York City, argues that in order to truly end mass incarceration in the U.S., "we need to completely shutter the doors of youth prisons...."

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Weekend Link Roundup (December 19-20, 2014)

December 20, 2015

Xmas_stockings Our 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

"After two centuries of prosperity built on the use of coal, oil, and natural gas, representatives of nearly two hundred countries at the United Nations Climate Change Conference resolved to turn away from those fuels and embrace a new future of clean energy," writes Reid Detchon, vice president for energy and climate strategy at the United Nations Foundation. The key word in that sentence is "resolved," and while the agreement should be celebrated, the "hard work of implementation remains [to be done]." It won't be easy, but Detchon, for one, is an optimist. As is Robert Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School and head of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, who in an interview with the Harvard Gazette pushes back against the idea that the agreement signed in Paris was a "fraud."

Corporate Philanthropy

Tech giant Microsoft has announced an "expanded commitment" to its global corporate philanthropy and a new organization within the company, Microsoft Philanthropies, "to make this ambition a reality."

Environment

The so-called war on drugs not only has failed to impede global drug trafficking, it's also contributing to "widespread environmental degradation and accelerating climate change." Vice's Eva Hershaw has the story.

On the Huffington Post's Green blog, Laura Goldman looks at what the Philadelphia-based William Penn foundation, and others, have been doing to improve and maintain the Delaware River watershed, which provides drinking water to fifteen million people or 5 percent of the U.S. population. 

Giving

It's that time of year, and Steve Delfin,  president and CEO of America’s Charities, has six tips for getting the most out of your giving during the holiday season.

When is a pledge to give as valuable as an actual donation? More often than you'd think. The Wall Street Journal's James Andreoni and Marta Serra-Garcia explain.

Yes, taxes matter when it comes to charitable giving. But as Andrew Blackman explains in the Journal, the relationship isn't as simple as it looks. "For instance, research suggests that the system of itemized deductions the U.S. has been using for decades is much less effective at spurring donations than tax systems in other countries that...offer charities matching donations.

Still other research suggests people may even be willing to give money voluntarily to the government — if the government gives them the chance to direct the money to a cause they approve of.

Meanwhile, some scientists have found that the brain reacts the same way to making donations as it does to paying taxes, if the taxes are clearly being used for a good cause — suggesting that people may be more willing to pay taxes if they know how the money's being used. And some findings even suggest that offering deductions for charitable giving may promote good health....

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Weekend Link Roundup (December 5-6, 2015)

December 06, 2015

Rockefeller-center-christmas-tree-statueOur weekly round up of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

African Americans

The Campaign for Black Male Achievement has released the inaugural Black Male Achievement Index, a "first-of-its-kind report to track and communicate how cities' efforts across the country are advancing black male achievement."

Climate Change

The University of Massachusetts has joined the growing list of educational institutions that have announced they will divest themselves of investments in coal companies. WBUR's Zeninjor Enwemeka reports.

Can so-called green bonds be a game-changer in the fight against global warming. Rockefeller Foundation president Judith Rodin thinks so and explains in the Guardian how the foundation's Zero Gap work is helping to show the way forward.

On the Barr Foundation blog, Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, a national coalition of investors, environmental organizations, and public interest groups working with companies to address sustainability issues, looks at some of the companies that are stepping up to address the climate change threat

One major American company, Google, has announced that it will nearly double the amount of renewable energy it uses to power its data centers, with six different wind and solar power projects scheduled to come online within the next two years in the U.S., Chile, and Sweden. Michael Liedtke reports for the Washington Post.

Fundraising

The San Diego chapter of the Alzheimer's Association has joined the New York chapter in splitting from the national federation, setting itself up as a purely locally operated organization. The San Diego Tribune's Bradley J. Fikes reports.

Giving

Is donor-driven charity dying? After noting on the Huffington Post's Impact blog that the latest numbers released by the World Giving Index show that while total giving is up, the number of individuals making those gifts is down by 5 percent, George McGraw, founder and executive director of digdeep.org, argues that nonprofits need to start developing new revenue models and offers a few suggestions.

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Weekend Link Roundup (November 28-29, 2015)

November 29, 2015

Fall Leaves Oak Frost  11 05 09  019 - Edit-2 - Edit-SOur 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

The CEOs from 78 companies and 20 economic sectors have issued an open letter on the World Economic Forum site calling upon "governments to take bold action at the Paris climate conference (COP 21) in December 2015 to secure a more prosperous world for all of us."

Giving

On the Giving in LA blog, John Kobara, executive vice president and COO of the California Community Foundation, citing the latest findings from neuroscience, notes that our brains have a philanthropic center, powered by oxytocin, that requires regular exercise. "The more we test our biases, certainties and assumptions by directly experiencing our feelings and expressing our compassion," writes Kobara, "the more we energize our philanthropic brains. Our philanthropy gets humanized and embodies the definition of philanthropy — our love for one another...." 

On Giving Tuesday, crowdfunding platform Crowdrise will launch its second-annual Giving Tower campaign, the centerpiece of which will be a virtual tower made up of bricks that represent donations made to participating charities. Megan Ranney reports for Mashable.

And a nice reminder from Money magazine's Kerri Anne Renzulli that there are ways to give to charity this holiday season other than giving cash.

Higher Education

"Low-income high school graduates were far less likely to enroll in higher education in 2013 than in 2008, a downward trend that came at the same time the Obama administration was pushing to boost college access and completion," a new analysis of Census Bureau data finds. The Washington Post's Emma Brown reports.

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Weekend Link Roundup (November 14-15, 2015)

November 15, 2015

Sydney-tricolorOur 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

More bad news on the climate change front this week, as the World Meteorological Organization reported that average levels of carbon dioxide exceeded 400 parts per million in the early months of 2015, a rise of 43 percent over pre-industrial levels. The Washington Post's Joby Warrick has the details.

Will environmental limits, including limits on the climate system, slow or put an end to economic growth? Not necessarily. Cameron Hepburn, professor of environmental economics at the University of Oxford, explains.

Corporate Philanthropy

As part of its Tech Titans: Community Citizens?, Triple Pundit has a compelling, in-depth look at homelessness in Silicon Valley by Sherrell Dorsey, a  social entrepreneur and advocate for environmental, social, and economic equity in underserved communities.

Education

The path to college completion for low-income students is a marathon, not a sprint, writes Todd Penner, team lead for the College Preparation & Completion portfolio at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and one of the most important things we can do to help them is to look at each student as a whole, understand the complexities of his/her life, and be thoughtful about the type of support we offer.

Giving

During this season of giving, Feeding America suggests that you think about making a donation to one of the hundred and ninety-nine foodbanks in its nationwide network.

"More than $50 billion in charitable assets now course through our country’s economy via donor-advised funds (DAFs) as a result of changes wrought by the [Tax Reform Act of 1969]," writes Lila Corwin Berman in Forward magazine. And in "no small part due to the acumen and persistence of a mid-century Jewish tax lawyer, those dollars function quite differently from other charitable resources...."

How much are baby boomers expected to give to charity over the next two decades? According to a new analysis conducted by Merrill Lynch, the answer to that question is $8 trillion — part of the $59 trillion that boomers are likely to transfer to younger generations over the same period. Gayle Nelson, a development consultant, attorney, and blogger, reports for NPQ.

Governance

On the Center for Effective Philanthropy blog, Crystal Hayling, a former CEO of the Blue Shield California Foundation and current member of the CEP board, argues that picking individual grantees is probably not the best use of foundation board members' time.

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Weekend Link Roundup (November 7-8, 2015)

November 08, 2015

AcornsOur 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

It would seem as if we have only two unattractive options when it comes to climate change, writes Ross Anderson in The Atlantic. "We can continue pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. We can cross our fingers that we adapt to a warming climate, and that earth's natural systems adapt too. Or we can transition to a cleaner global energy system, at a speed that is unprecedented, across all of history." But what if there's a third option? Anderson talks to Oliver Morton an editor at The Economist and the author of The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World about what might be humankind's last best hope.

Data

Did the government of Rwanda manipulate data to show that poverty in the small central African country fell, when, it fact, it rose? Humanosphere's Tom Murphy takes a closer look and uncovers a fundamental truth about data: It's not so much having it that matters, it's how you use it.

How important is "open data" to the success of the recently ratified Sustainable Development Goals? Pretty darn important, argue William Gerry and Kathryn Pritchard.

"We spend tens of billions of dollars on social services for low-income households each year, but we have only the vaguest ideas of where those dollars go, what impact they have, and where unmet needs exist," writes Scott Allard, a professor in the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, on the Brookings Institute blog. To address this "information void," the Salvation Army and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University have developed a Human Needs Index drawn from service provision tracking systems maintained by more than seven thousand Salvation Army sites nationwide. With a little luck, adds Allard, the index will be both "a cool data visualization tool or source of information for academic inquiry into the measurement of need" and a  model of "how communities and philanthropy might collect, share, and use data to improve outcomes for clients, organizations, and community residents."

Education

At a panel hosted by NCRP in October, Lori Bezahler, president of the Edward Hazen Foundation, was asked to consider whether market-driven strategies can be expected to drive equity in education. Her thoughts are here.

Higher Education

Findings from the Chronicle of Higher Education's annual report on the fundraising results of the top ten public and private colleges and universities in America are both "sobering and instructive." Dr. Brian C. Mitchell, director of the Edvance Foundation, explains.

In an op-ed in USA Today, Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor and the author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education From Itself, has a few suggestions for "ending" the Ivy League and, at the same time, mitigating the inequality that America's favorite "bastion of elitism" contributes so significantly to:

  1. Eliminate the tax deductibility of contributions to schools having endowments in excess of $1 billion.
  2. Require that all schools with endowments of more than $1 billion spend at least 10 percent of their endowment annually on student financial aid.
  3. Require that university admissions be based strictly on objective criteria such as grades and SAT/ACT scores, with random drawings used to cull the herd further if necessary.

Yale has announced that it is committing $50 million over the next five years to diversify its faculty.

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Weekend Link Roundup (October 31-November 1, 2015)

November 01, 2015

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

Arts and Culture

"Since the time of Alexandria, libraries have held a symbolic function. For the Ptolemaic kings, the library was an emblem of their power; eventually it became the encompassing symbol of an entire society, a numinous place where readers could learn the art of attention which, Hannah Arendt argued, is a definition of culture." Sadly, writes Alberto Manguel in the New York Times, that function is being diluted by the demands of a society "too miserly or contemptuous...to meet [its] essential social obligations...."

Climate Change

On the Transformation blog, the Kindle Project's Arianne Shaffer and Fatima van Hattum argue that the grantmaking strategies of the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation illustrate in a profound way the "ongoing limitations and contradictions of conventional philanthropy" with respect to the threat of global climate disruption.

Corporate Philanthropy

Corporate Responsibility Magazine has announced the winners of its 2015 Responsible CEO of the Year Award.

Education

Should Angelenos be troubled by the fact that the Los Angeles Times ' new education-reporting project "is being funded by some of the very organizations the new education-reporting project is likely to be covering"? Paul Farhi, the Washington Post's media reporter, tries to get some answers.

Giving

Just in time for the holidays, "Bloomingdale’s is selling philanthropy as a lifestyle," writes Amy Shiller in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Through its new Icons with Impact campaign, the upscale retailer, says Shiller, is positioning philanthropy as "a meta-brand, uniting retailers, spokesmen, and consumers in a transaction where ethics and esthetics — that is, doing good and looking good — are synergistically reinforcing, apparently without any sacrifice or conflict in fundamental aims...."

Charitable giving in the U.S. over the next two decades could reach $8 trillion — $6.6 trillion in cash contributions (much of it to family foundations) and $1.4 trillion in volunteer services (calculated at $23.63/hour). Forbes staff writer Ashlea Ebling reports.

Who are the twenty people who have given the most to charitable/philanthropic causes? And how many of them are under the age of thirty-five? Business Insider has the skinny.

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Weekend Link Roundup (October 17-18, 2015)

October 18, 2015

Our weekly round Fall_Foliage_Photographyup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog.

Climate Change

Does Bill Gates understand that divestment movements do not need to financially impact their targets to be successful? Not really, argues Katie Herzog in Grist.

And look who just came out in support of the UN climate goals

International Affairs/Development

It has been a deadly year for aid workers in the field. Iain Overton reports for the Guardian.

Education

Can separate be equal in education? In Boston, many black families have decided that diversity in the classroom is a luxury, not a necessity. Farah Stockman explains.

On Medium, Jeff Raikes, former CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has some thoughts on how philanthropy can promote innovation in Education.

Grantmaking

On the Barr Foundation website, Senior Program Officer E. San San Wong discusses three trends the Boston-based foundation's arts team is exploring in the context of a strategic planning process.

Higher Education

Looking for innovation in higher education? Washington Monthly's Matt Connolly highlights ten leaders who are delivering it.

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