March 26, 2017
Our weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....
Arts and Culture
The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Manhattan's Upper East Side is one of the great cultural institutions of the world. But is it a great cultural institution in decline? In Vanity Fair, William D. Cohan looks at the New York Times article and ensuing circumstances that led to the resignation of the museum's director, 54-year-old one-time wunderkind Thomas Campbell.
The nation's leading climate change activist is a former hedge fund manager you've probably never heard of. Wired's Nick Stockton talks to Tom Steyer, the California billionaire who is trying to save the planet.
Citing new research which finds that the skills required to succeed professionally are the same as those required to succeed in K-12 education, Laszlo Bock, a member of the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, suggests that the best place to invest scarce education reform dollars might just be where the overlap between the two is most clear.
Like many people, I'm a student of cognitive biases. So I was pleased to come across this post by John Haydon detailing five cognitive biases that can be leveraged to improve the success of your next fundraising campaign.
Meals on Wheels America has seen an upsurge in donations since being targeted for elimination by the Trump administration's "skinny" budget plan. Alex Swerdloff reports for Vice.
The Economist suggests that the increasing popularity of donor-advised funds may be as much about...wait for it...taxes as it is about charity.
Foreign aid represents a tiny fraction (less than 1 percent) of the federal budget. But the Trump administration, like Republican administrations in the past, seems determined to zero it out. That would be a mistake, writes Bill Gates on his Gates Notes blog. For starters, foreign aid promotes health, security, and economic opportunity that helps stabilize vulnerable parts of the world, and whether we realize it or not, that tends to keep us all safer.
If you're smiling now, it's probably because you're Norwegian. The fifth annual World Happiness Report is out, and — surprise! — Scadinavian countries lead the pack.
In an op-ed for the New York Times, Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, notes that even as "elite schools overemphasize leadership because...they're preparing students for the corporate world," a discipline in organizational psychology called "followership" is gaining in popularity. And that's a good thing.
In a joint op-ed for The Hill, Council on Foundations president Vikki Spruill and Tim Delaney, president and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits, argue that efforts to weaken or repeal the so-called Johnson Amendment — a legislative provision proposed by then-Senate Minority Leader Lyndon Johnson, adopted without controversy by the Republican-controlled Senate, passed by a Republican-controlled Congress, and signed into law by President Eisenhower in 1954 — would "significantly weaken" nonprofits and the nonprofit sector "by inviting heretofore nonpartisan charitable and philanthropic organizations to endorse or oppose candidates for elected office and divert some amount of their assets away from their missions to instead support partisan campaigns."
The Trump administration's keen interest in dramatically reducing and/or eliminating federal aid for the poor and needy and replacing it with assistance from faith-based organizations reminds us of another Republican administration that was hell-bent on going down that road but abandoned the effort when reality sank in. Which begs the question, Are churches, synagogues, mosques, and other faith-based organizations any better positioned today to serve as a substitute for the government in providing for the needy and vulnerable? Emma Green reports for The Atlantic.
On her Social Velocity blog, Nell Edgington chats with the Ford Foundation's Kathy Reich about the foundation's BUILD initiative, a key element of its strategy to support the vitality and effectiveness of civil society organizations and reduce inequality, in the U.S. and the regions where it works internationally.
If you're a grantmaker who's finding it difficult to remain "thoughtful and steadfast" as the world spins out of control, you're not alone, writes Huffington Post contributor and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations president Kathleen Enright. But this, too, shall pass, and in the meantime there are things you can do to make a positive difference
"Sector agnosticism" — "the idea...that you can achieve positive societal impact working within a nonprofit or a for-profit — and that it is the impact, not the organizational type, that matters" — not only is not helpful, "it obscures the fact that the sectors play distinct and different roles," writes Center for Effective Philanthropy president Phil Buchanan in a new post on the CEP blog.
It's not what you would call a paradigm shift, but a growing number of foundations are choosing to spend down their endowments over a set period of time. Ben Paynter reports for Fast Company.
And this short statement from Bill and Hillary Clinton articulates what many of us were feeling when we heard the news that David Rockefeller had passed at the age of 101. Here's the transcript of a conversation we had with Mr. Rockefeller more than a decade ago. He was frail even then, but still sharp and exceedingly generous with his time. Godspeed, sir.
(Photo: Jim Smeal, Getty Images)
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