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Weekend Link Roundup (October 11-12 & 18-19, 2008)

October 19, 2008

Our weekly roundup of noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector...

Arts and Culture

Is the audience for live classical music, theater, and dance disappearing?  That's the question writer Diane Haithman asks in the Los Angeles Times. Maybe, says Haithman, but not if performing arts organizations can refocus the concert-going experience on the "new gray" and younger people who can actually afford tickets. (Hat tip Nonprofit Board Crisis.)


As we noted last week, many state governments are ill-equipped to weather a prolonged recession. And with state governments strapped for cash, the Century Foundation's Beverly Goldberg wonders who will backstop the growing ranks of the unemployed:

The Senate removed from its version of the [bailout] bill a provision that would have helped nearly 800,000 laid-off U.S. workers who ran out of unemployment aid Sunday. The Senate also ignored the possibility of helping these long-term unemployed by failing to address the need for an emergency extension of jobless benefits in a separate bill.... 

As USA Today notes,

If the states run into trouble, the federal government has its own unemployment insurance trust fund that will lend states money. If states don’t repay the bailout loans promptly, businesses in those states generally are required to pay higher federal and state taxes to restore the funds' solvency.... 

In other words, says Goldberg, "every American citizen will pay the price for this program aimed at saving those on Main Street -- in addition to paying for the bailout on Wall Street."


When the going gets tough, "why not contact your prospects and donors and don't ask for money," writes Janet Levine. Instead, "Do think about way you can connect these people more closely to your organization." We're sure our own Michael Seltzer could find room for many of Levine's suggestions in his recently posted survival guide for uncertain times.


Linda Blumberg and John Holahan, researchers at the nonpartisan Urban Institute, have issued analyses of the healthcare proposals of presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. (Hat tip Taking Note.)


In a recent presentation at Online Social Marketplaces 2008, a closed event organized by and for grantees of the Omidyar Network, Peter Dietz offered his take on emerging trends in micro-philanthropy:

  • Marketplace-neutral tools and services that encourage participation from existing nonprofits and informal groups, in the form of white-label products and trainings on network effectiveness;
  • Marketplace-neutral tools and services that transform corporate philanthropy from making donations to the general fund of a well-known nonprofit into engaging real people to take action;
  • Systems that allow individuals and referring Web sites to track their impact across marketplaces;
  • Thematic entry points equipped with transactional APIs that enable individuals to engage around specific issues or geographies;
  • And relationships with foundations and banks that facilitate direct donations from donor-advised funds.

We're not entirely sure what it all means, but it sounds promising and we'll be keeping an eye on developments in the micro-philanthropy space.

"Philanthropy Is Hot!" Or so say T-shirts for sale at last week's Social Venture Partners Conference, notes Sean Stannard-Stockton on the Tactical Philanthropy blog. But while most Americans see giving as "just something they do," writes Stannard-Stockton, SVP members give with "intent" and in the belief that "how, why, and where they give...should be given significant consideration." Indeed, says Sean, "Living [and giving] intentionally can bring a whole new world into view for you."

The Minnesota Council on Foundations has issued its 2008 Minnesota Grantmakers Rankings.

Social Justice

This past week, PhilanthroMedia and World Hunger Year hosted "Step up to the Plate: Ending the Food Crisis at the Great Hall of Cooper Union." One of the speakers at the event, LaDonna Redmond, president and CEO of the Institute for Community Resource Development, addressed the poor choices available in her neighborhood:

As I think about my own culture, my own heritage…why are there no [healthy food] stores in my community. Yet I can get every kind of fried chicken there is. I can get every variety of cigarettes in those bodegas.... If I wanted to drink, I could get every variety of malt liquor….

See, I can get a semi-automatic weapon in my neighborhood....I can get heroin….I can get cocaine….But I cannot get an organic tomato unless I grow it myself....

Clips of Redmond's remarks as well as those of the other three featured speakers (Raj Patel on American democracy, Gerardo Reyes Chavez on the rights of farm workers, Alice Waters on ending childhood hunger) have been posted to the PhilanthroMedia blog.

That's it for now. Enjoy your weekend!

-- Regina Mahone

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Quote of the Week

  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."

    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

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