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Weekend Link Roundup (September 25 - 26, 2010)

September 26, 2010

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


According to Future Fundraising Now blogger Jeff Brooks, "January 1, 2011 is an important day for fundraisers" because it's the day the first of the baby boomers turn sixty-five. "While giving behavior typically starts to manifest meaningfully in the fifties," writes Brooks, "it really takes off around [that age]."


Last week, the National Bureau of Economic Research announced that the recession that began in December 2007 "officially" ended in June 2009. Responding to the news, Tim Kane, senior fellow in Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation, wonders how the media will digest the "news" and shares what he thinks the "five stages of grief" might be.


The week's biggest philanthropy-related story was Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg's $100 million donation to the Newark public school system. Zuckerberg did his well-intentioned best to explain the thinking behind his gift here and here. And Tactical Philanthropy's Sean Stannard-Stockton wrote a good post about why Zuckerberg's gift is a game-changer here.

In The New Yorker, Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and a staff writer at the magazine, offers a different take on the "crisis" in American education. The world's first system of universal public education, writes Lemann, is

like democracy itself, loose, shaggy, and inefficient, full of redundancies and conflicting goals. It serves many constituencies and interest groups, each of which, in the manner of the parable of the blind men and the elephant, sees its purpose differently. But, by the fundamental test of attractiveness to students and their families, the system -- which is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse and decentralized -- is, as a whole, succeeding. Enrollment in charter schools is growing rapidly, but so is enrollment in old-fashioned public schools, and enrollments are rising at all levels. Those who complete a higher education still do better economically. Measures of how much American students are learning -- compared to the past, and compared to students in other countries -- are holding steady, for the most part, even as more people are going to school....


On his new blog, Billions of Drops in Millions of Buckets author Steve Goldberg explains (at some length) the thinking behind "CN 2.0" -- a planned online platform for intelligent giving "dedicated to the proposition that if donors become well-informed, good nonprofits will get more money."

International Development

Ending poverty, empowering women and girls in developing nations, and moving the global economy onto a more sustainable footing were just a few of the topics of discussion at last week's Millennium Development Summit and annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. In the New Republic, David Rieff, a contributor to the New York Times Magazine and author of eight books, including Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis, slams President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, End of Poverty author Jeffery Sachs, Bono, Bill and Melinda Gates, and others for promoting "Pollyana-ish" development fantasies, while on the Aid Watch blog, Laura Freschi shares her experiences as a serial summit attendee.


On her Philanthropy 2173 blog, Lucy Bernholz reviews Rachel Botsman's and Roo Rogers' new book What's Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption and adds the prefix "co-" to her 2010 list of philanthropy buzzwords.

Allison Fine shares key findings from the Case Foundation's recent evaluation on the Make It Your Own Awards program, a first-of-its-kind public grants program that "challenged people from all walks of life to discuss what matters most to them, decide what kind of community they want, and take action together."

On the Deep Social Impact blog, Cynthia Gibson wonders whether information being collected for donors to help them make more informed philanthropic decisions is something donors really want. Writes Gibson:

In an article by Bill Deitel and myself that appears at the Nonprofit Quarterly (and will be featured in the upcoming Fall issue), we take a closer look at that question and find that, while we wholly support more rigorous and evidence-based practice, we also worry that attention to this side of the philanthropic equation has skewed to the point where the other side -- one that's more amorphous and difficult to measure -- is being overlooked: the values, ethics, and personal beliefs of donors, all of which play a key role in the decisions [donors] make about giving....

And on the Minnesota Council on Foundations' Philanthropy Potluck blog, Susan Stehling offers up a few takeaways from the Monitor Institute report What’s Next for Philanthropy: Acting Bigger and Adapting Better in a Networked World.

That's it for now. What did we miss? Drop us a line at rnm@foundationcenter.org. And have a great week!

-- Regina Mahone and Mitch Nauffts

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