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18 posts from January 2011

Most Popular PhilanTopic Posts (January)

January 31, 2011

As we do every month, here's a list of the most popular PhilanTopic posts over the last thirty days. Enjoy.

What's the best thing you've read/watched/heard this month?

Bill Gates' 3rd Annual Letter

I'd be willing to bet Bill Gates sat down to write his annual letter long before popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt grabbed the attention of the world. Which makes his introductory remarks in this year's letter all the more powerful:

I believe it is in the rich world's enlightened self-interest to continue investing in foreign aid. If societies can't provide for people's basic health, if they can't feed and educate people, then their populations and problems will grow and the world will be a less stable place.

Whether you believe it is a moral or in the rich world's enlightened self-interest, securing the conditions that will lead to a healthy prosperous future for everyone is a goal I believe we all share....

I would have added "economic opportunity," "fair and free elections," "gender equality," and "rule of law" to the list. But the fact they're not on it doesn't lessen the significance of Mr. Gates' remarks. As the dominos in the Arab world start to topple, the global community is a less stable place than it was a month ago -- and is likely to remain so as long as supporters of the status quo ignore the grievances of restive populations in the Arab world and beyond.

The bulk of the letter looks at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's efforts to eradicate polio from the planet; scale up the distribution of vaccines, continue the fight against malaria, and reduce the mortality rate among children under the age of five in developing countries; fund new and cost-effective treatment and prevention approaches for HIV/AIDS; support the development of a new agricultural agenda for the continent of Africa; promote education reform, including an "excellence in teaching" agenda, in the United States; and encourage the spread of private philanthropy globally through the Giving Pledge.

You can download the letter (24 pages, PDF) here.

-- Mitch Nauffts

Weekend Link Roundup (January 29 - 30, 2011)

January 30, 2011

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


On her Non-Profit Marketing blog, Katya Andresen has some suggestions for nonprofits looking to change how people perceive their organization.

Getting Attention's Nancy Schwartz announces the first-ever Guide to Nonprofit Marketing Wisdom, which features 127 marketing lessons-learned from professionals working in the field.

Global Health

Last week, the Associated Press caused a ruckus when it reported that two-thirds of the grant dollars awarded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for an AIDS program in Mauritania had been tainted by corruption, while a third of the funds earmarked for a TB and malaria program in Mali had suffered the same fate. Responding to the news, the Global Fund issued a statement saying it not only knew about the problems but had been the first to report them.

Others rushed to fund's defense. They included Humanosphere blogger Tom Paulson, who noted, based on a back-of-the-envelope calculation, that the amount in question totaled about 0.003, or 0.3 percent, of the fund's grants portfolio; Bobby Shriver and Bono -- co-founders of (Product) RED, a Global Fund donor -- who labeled the AP story "good news," as it spotlighted the fund's aggressive anti-fraud tactics; and GiveWell's Holden Karnofsky, who applauded the fund for its "outstanding transparency."


On the Nonprofit Quarterly site, veteran fundraising consultant Kim Klein argues that it's time to replace the charitable giving deduction, which, Klein says, subsidizes wealthy itemizers, with "a tax credit available to all taxpayers, regardless of whether they itemize deductions on their returns." Not so fast, writes Dan Froomkin, senior Washington correspondent for the Huffington Post. "[W]ith nothing remotely like a second stimulus bill in the cards, the best hope for goosing the economy, creating jobs and providing relief for the needy could lie in a Washington economist's ingenious scheme to get a chunk of that money put into circulation right now" -- i.e., by temporarily doubling the charitable deduction, "a move that would serve as a powerful incentive for the rich to significantly increase -- or at least accelerate -- their contributions to nonprofit organizations."


In a recent post on her Philanthropy 2173 blog, Lucy Bernholz suggests that someone needs to develop "mission insurance" for social sector organizations to ensure that services delivered to customers are "designed and delivered with a measurable, enforceable commitment to bettering lives and communities."

Nonprofit Management

On her Nonprofit Blog at About.com, Joanne Fritz looks at some of the common mistakes made by nonprofit startups, including lack of a credible business plan, realistic budget, and/or effective board.


In the winter issue of the Nonprofit Quarterly, Steve Boland, a loan officer at the Minneapolis-based Nonprofits Assistance Fund, argues that the future of online giving "may be less revolution and more evolution."

On his Tactical Philanthropy Advisors blog, Sean Stannard-Stockton shares a comment from Energy Foundation chief information officer Jason Ricci in which Ricci explains how his organization is able to "make grants seven times faster than the average grantmaker."

Social Media

The popular uprising in Egypt this week has made for absolutely riveting television. The mass protests calling for an end to the Mubarak regime, along with even-larger street protests against the authoritarian government of Tunisia earlier this month, have also re-ignited the debate over the role of social media in recent upheavals in the region. On GigaOm, Matthew Ingram argues that while social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have not been the "trigger" for the uprisings, they have "played a key role in getting the word out, and in helping organizers plan their protests." Be sure to read the comments thread.

And on the GrantWatch blog, Hope Leman commends the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for mastering the art of social media. "Unlike some funders that create Twitter accounts but then tweet infrequently and boringly, primarily about their own programs," writes Leman, "the tweets of the RWJF are intellectually engaging, and they excel at outreach to those in the health field." Leman goes on to offer a few lessons for foundations eager to learn from RWJF's example.

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

-- Regina Mahone

With Friends Like This...

January 29, 2011

Earlier this week, at a new play development conference at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, made the following comment (as reported in the New York Times):

You can either increase demand [for nonprofit theater] or decrease supply. Demand is not going to increase, so it's time to think about decreasing supply....

Nonprofit bloggers and theater types were not amused, and Landesman subsequently clarified his comments in a phone interview with the Times:

There's a disconnect that has to be taken seriously -- our research shows that attendance has been decreasing while the number of organizations have been proliferating. That's a discussion nobody wants to have....

Landesman's NEA has been targeted (again) by House Republicans who hate the idea of federal funding for the arts, which might explain (at least in part) the defensive tone of his comments. But what about their substance? Has the supply of nonprofit theater outstripped demand? And are people in the nonprofit theater community unwilling (or afraid) to have that discussion?


Foundations Fail at Failing

January 27, 2011

(Michael Remaley is the director of Public Policy Communicators NYC and president of HAMILL REMALEY breakthrough communications. This post originally appeared on the Foundation Center's Transparency Talk blog.)

"If you hit the bull's eye every time,
you've set the target too close."

Failure-success I thought of this, one of my favorite aphorisms, at the Communications Network's annual conference last September when the Hewlett Foundation's communications director Eric Brown talked about his organization's "failed grantmaking" contest. Hewlett's smart internal exercise forces each department to name one grant from its portfolio that did not meet expectations, think through and explain what went wrong, and help the entire organization learn from its failure.

This is a learning exercise that more foundations should consider adopting. But more than that, it is an important example of how Hewlett's leadership has set the tone for candor about the unavoidable truth of philanthropic experimentation: failure is part of the equation.

It is no coincidence that Hewlett is also one of the few foundations that has talked publicly about initiatives that didn't live up to expectations. It is also no coincidence that Hewlett's profile on Glasspockets gives a good indication of its commitment to transparency. I would assert that Hewlett's reputation for being one of the most innovative, thoughtful, and effective foundations is directly related to its transparency, willingness to publicly question its strategies, and forthrightness in discussing the limitations of its successes. And that reputation further enhances its ability to exert influence and make change.

The hard sciences learned the importance of sharing candid assessments of "failed" experiments centuries ago. In fact, scientists seem to treasure results that do not meet expected outcomes even more highly than those that confirm what is already believed to be true.

I am hardly the first person to call upon foundations to talk more openly about failure, experimentation, and unexpected outcomes. (See list below.) Hewlett's Paul Brest seems to have really kickstarted the conversation in 2007 by writing and talking about his foundation's experiences. That was followed by Robert Giloth and Susan Gewirtz's seminal 2008 piece in Foundation Review, "Philanthropy and Mistakes: An Untapped Resource." Many others, including Bob Hughes, Larry Blumenthal, Edward Pauly, Grant Oliphant, and Sean Stannard-Stockton, have added important insights about the need for foundations to be more open about their lessons learned. The conversation about failure and experimentation seemed to grow and deepen over the past three years. So you might think that foundations would be making major changes in how they communicate about failure. You would be wrong.

Foundations give a lot of lip service to supporting "experimentation" in social sciences. But you almost never hear them talking about outcomes that failed to meet expectations and, even more rarely, those that call their basic strategies into question. If foundations want to be real leaders in advancing social change, they must move past the endless happy-talk that makes every grant sound like a success. Instead, they should use their Web sites to detail how they are evaluating their work and what they've learned from unexpected outcomes.

A foundation sharing its experiences with grants gone wrong is still very much the exception. Anyone who is on the receiving end of foundation annual reports and newsletters knows this is true. But to substantiate my assertion, I decided to do a little systematic poking around.

I figured the twenty-one largest supporters of the Center for Effective Philanthropy (most of which are also supporters of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations) would be the foundations most attuned to the value of self-reflection, evaluation, and sharing results that defy expectations, and also those that would have budgets big enough to support substantial evaluation efforts. I spent many hours exploring the nooks of crannies of these foundations' Web sites. I looked at numerous publications and evaluation sections of the sites, and I searched each site on the terms failure, failed, unmet expectations, unmet objective, unmet goal, experimentation, mistake, lessons learned, and assessment.

What I found was that few foundations make it easy to learn from projects that didn't go as spectacularly as planned, let alone talk frankly about what has been learned from the shortcomings of foundation strategy or execution. Many of the twenty-one foundations I examined made no mention at all of evaluation criteria and organizational outcomes, even though their association with CEP and GEO implies that they demand that kind of forthrightness from grantees. The majority of the foundation sites I examined had a few project evaluation reports scattered among other foundation-supported research -- and many of those evaluation reports were laudatory with pablum like "real collaboration is a challenge" tacked on at the end.

Some of the best exceptions were Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Wallace Foundation. Each of those foundations not only makes it easy to find many project evaluations that are balanced in presenting positive and negative outcomes along with what was learned through the process, but also present self-critical examinations of foundation strategy and progress as whole. It is also not a coincidence that each of those foundations' profiles on Glasspockets indicates a commitment to transparency demonstrated by making public an assessment of overall foundation performance.

But perhaps the best example -- the foundation that gets the Gold Star for Succeeding in Failing -- is the James Irvine Foundation. The evaluation section of its site describes their approach to evaluating grantee success and links to all of its individual evaluations of initiatives. It also links to a Foundation Assessment section that has foundation annual progress reports for the last four years. These progress reports are exceptionally detailed and well-documented, as well as frank about successes and failures. Irvine has also produced "Insights: Lessons Learned" publications with candid assessments of their experiences with collaborations and other grantmaking practices. A search of the Irvine site on "lessons learned" produces lots of useful and interesting evaluative information and insightful critical analysis.

We are all members of the social science community and contributors to the social experiment that is American philanthropy. We now have enough examples of foundations talking humbly about their shortcomings to know that such candor only accelerates social progress and enhances the reputations of those philanthropic leaders. We've seen no evidence that talking forthrightly about the real-world circumstances leading to failure damages nonprofits or the foundations involved, so I wonder why foundations seem so reluctant to take on this leadership role.

What has your organization learned from experiments that didn't meet expectations?

Selected Readings:

A Chronology of the Dialogue on Failure and Experimentation in Philanthropy

Center for Effective Philanthropy (unattributed). "Indicators of Effectiveness: A Call for Foundations: Understanding and Improving Foundation Performance." 2002.

Paul Brest. "Evaluating Our Work. Hard Lessons about Philanthropy & Community Change," Commentary on William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Web site. March 2007.

Paul Brest. "Hard Lessons about Philanthropy & Community Change: Reflections on The Neighborhood Improvement Initiative." March 2007.

Stephanie Strom. "Foundations Find Benefits in Facing Up to Failures." The New York Times. July 26, 2007.

Paul Brest and James E. Canales. "Let's Stop Reinventing Potholes." The Chronicle of Philanthropy. August 9, 2007.

Sean Stannard-Stockton. "The Poster Child for Failure in Philanthropy." Stanford Social Innovation Review blog. May 14, 2008.

Robert Giloth, Ph.D., and Susan Gewirtz, Annie E. Casey Foundation. "Philanthropy and Mistakes: An Untapped Resource." Foundation Review, September 2008.

Maisie O'Flanagan, McKinsey & Company; Jacob Harold and Paul Brest, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. "The Nonprofit Marketplace: Bridging the Information Gap in Philanthropy." 2008.

Sean Stannard-Stockton. "Anatomy of a Failed Grant." Tactical Philanthropy Advisors blog. March 25, 2009.

Grant Oliphant with Susan Herr (online video interview). "What's the Upside of Philanthropic Failure?" The Communications Network. December 2009.

Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and Council on Foundations (unattributed). "Evaluation in Philanthropy: Perspectives from the Field." December 15, 2009.

Larry Blumenthal. "A Helpful Guide to Failure in Philanthropy. Use Carefully." Philanthropy News Digest, Commentary & Opinion. January 7, 2010.

Bob Hughes. "Can Failure Be the Key to Foundation Effectiveness?" Center for Effective Philanthropy blog. January 11, 2010.

Grantmakers in Health (unattributed). "Taking Risks at a Critical Time." Essays written specifically for the 2010 GIH annual meeting. March 2010.

Edward Pauly. "Philanthropy with Impact: A Guide to Evaluative Thinking for Foundations and Donors." A guide published by Forum for Active Philanthropy. 2010.

Robert G. Hughes. "The Role of Failure in Philanthropic Learning." Book chapter In: To Improve Health and Health Care XIII, pp.93-106. Publisher: Jossey-Bass. 2010.

Patricia A. Patrizi. "Death Is Certain, Strategy Isn't: Assessing RWJF's End-of-Life Grantmaking." Published in New Directions for Evaluation, by Wiley Online Library. Volume 2010, Issue 128, pages 47–68, Winter 2010.

Ellie Buteau. "A higher bar for transparency, accountability." Philanthropy Journal. September 14, 2010.

-- Michael Remaley

This Week in PubHub: LGBTQ Issues

January 26, 2011

(Kyoko Uchida manages PubHub, the Foundation Center's online catalog of foundation-sponsored publications. In her last post, she looked at four reports that examined efforts to protect and promote international human rights.)

This week PubHub is concluding its month-long focus on civil and human rights by featuring a group of reports that explore LGBTQ issues. To be sure, the decision to end the U.S. military's "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy marks an important milestone in the LGBTQ community's struggle for full rights. Yet given the recent spate of suicides by gay youth who had been bullied, not to mention the ongoing legal and political opposition to gay marriage, the LGBTQ community still has a ways to go.

According to Religion and Same-Sex Marriage in California: A New Look at Attitudes and Values Two Years After Proposition 8, a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, as of June 2010 more than half (51 percent) of Californians surveyed said that if another referendum were held on Proposition 8, they would vote to legalize same-sex marriage, compared with 45 percent who said they would vote against it. Funded by the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and the Ford Foundation, the survey also found that among the religiously affiliated, white evangelicals and Latino Protestants were most likely to oppose gay marriage, Latino Catholics and white mainline Protestants were least likely to do so, and support went up when religion was taken out of the equation altogether.

The links between religion, race/ethnicity, and LGBTQ issues are complicated, of course. And while the connection between LGBTQ rights and broader human rights issues is a recurring theme in many analyses of the LGBTQ movement, Better Together: Research Findings on the Relationship Between Racial Justice Organizations and LGBT Communities cites "fear of community division" as one barrier preventing racial justice groups from taking up LGBTQ issues. The Arcus Foundation-funded report from the Applied Research Center found that resistance from religious institutions, the perceived lack of demand within communities of color, and concerns about driving a "wedge" between members of racial justice organizations — in addition to a lack of strategic clarity and sufficient funding — can limit LGBTQ engagement. At the same time, the report's authors note, there needs to be deeper discussion if we are to overcome the gaps between the experiences of largely white and non-poor LGBTQ activists and those fighting for racial and economic justice.

The need for "community development and cohesion" across race/ethnicity, gender, economic status, religion, and other social constructs is one focus of A Meeting of Queer Minds, a report from Atlantic Philanthropies that looks at LGBTQ-related advocacy efforts in Ireland and South Africa. By working with other human rights organizations — which, given the pervasive poverty and inequality in the latter, is inevitable — LGBTQ activists have created an opening for broader coalitions around issues such as HIV/AIDS and domestic violence that affect all groups.

How does philanthropy fit into all this? The Arcus Operating Foundation's Saving Lives, Promoting Democracy, Alleviating Poverty, and Fighting AIDS: The Case for Funding Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Populations describes how LGBTQ advocacy and empowerment efforts in the developing world have advanced human rights and development goals, helped to protect minority rights and reduce poverty, contributed to the building of civil society and promoted the rule of law, and improved public health. Nevertheless, LGBTQ organizations still receive less than 0.01 percent of the aid from OECD countries. In addition to arguing for more funding, the report recommends that funding for LGBTQ advocacy efforts be channeled through local intermediary organizations engaged in active collaboration with nonprofits and technical assistance providers, and that more of it be used to address gender inequities within the LGBTQ movement.

In response to a number of recent suicides by LGBTQ youth, various celebrities, President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and others posted videos on the It Gets Better Web site. What does it mean to say to the LGBTQ community, visible and invisible, that "it gets better"? And in what other ways might the philanthropic sector contribute to advancing LGBTQ and related human rights and racial and economic justice issues? What advocacy strategies or models of engagement have been effective? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

And be sure to check out the more than one hundred other reports related to civil and human rights in PubHub.

-- Kyoko Uchida

Philanthropy Chat: Jan Masaoka and Robert Jaquay

January 25, 2011

To help celebrate the "official" launch of GrantSpace, the Foundation Center's new learning community for the social sector, we're pleased to share two recent Philanthropy Chat podcasts.

PChat_masaoka_large In the first, Janet Camarena, director of the center's San Francisco office, talks with Jan Masaoka, editor-in-chief of the online magazine Blue Avocado and co-author of Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability, about how nonprofits can ensure their sustainability in a tough economy and into the future.

(Running time: 19:53)

PChat_jaquay_large And in the second, Cindy Bailie, director of the center's Cleveland office, chats with Robert Jaquay, associate director of the George Gund Foundation, about the foundation's strategic priorities, its investments in regional economic development, and its efforts to improve the quality of life for Northeast Ohio residents through collaborations with other grantmakers and community partners.

(Running time: 19:48)

Is there someone you'd like to see featured in the Philanthropy Chat series? Share your suggestions in the comments section below....

Weekend Link Roundup (January 22 - 23, 2011)

January 23, 2011

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

Disaster Relief

GuideStar president and CEO Bob Ottenhoff offers his perspective on what our expectations of international aid organizations should be following a natural disaster.


On The Choice blog, New York Times reporter Jacques Steinberg announces the three finalists for the Get Schooled Affordability Challenge, "a national competition...in which current and aspiring college students were asked to devise better ways to administer and award financial aid."


"If foundations want to be real leaders in advancing social change, they must move past the endless happy-talk that makes every grant sound like a success," writes Michael Remaley on the Foundation Center's Transparency Talk blog. "Instead, they should use their Web sites to detail how they are evaluating their work and what they've learned from unexpected outcomes."


In conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Rosetta Thurman offers some thoughts on one of Dr. King's lesser-known speeches, The Drum Major Instinct, which King delivered on February 4, 1968. In her post, Thurman reminds us "that the way to honor our heroes is not to merely quote them, but to embody their most sage advice in our life and work." One way for nonprofits to do this, says Thurman, "is by redefining the status quo of WHO is considered a leader within our organizations and removing barriers to service in our communities."


On his Tactical Philanthropy blog, Sean Stannard-Stockton wonders why, in a world that's moving ever faster, so much of institutional philanthropy is content to operate at a twentieth-century pace.

Poverty Alleviation

Philanthrocapitalism bloggers Matthew Bishop and Michael Green consider several comments responding to an earlier post in which they compared microcredit pioneer Muhammad Yunus to the mythical Greek titan Cronus (who devoured his own children rather than let them take his place in the heavens). "Our complaint against Mr Yunus is not that he thinks mistakes are being made, or that he wants proper regulation of microfinance," write Bishop and Green. "We agree with him on those points. It is that rather than making a justified warning against mission drift by for-profit microfinance institutions, he is making sweeping generalisations that seem to be ideological rather than grounded in reality...."


"There seem to be people who will ask for a [retweet] on just about anything they do," writes Zoetica co-founder Geoff Livingston. "Given the lack of capital that is involved in kicking out a RT these days, does it mean anything?" What do you all think?

And after sharing a few broad themes from Blackbaud's new white paper outlining top technology trends in the nonprofit sector, Katya Andresen offers a few thoughts of her own.

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

-- Regina Mahone

Dr. King: Yesterday and Today

January 22, 2011

Poverty_in_america(2) Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending WNYC's fifth annual Martin Luther King Day event, the topic of which was "Made in America: King's Dream in Today's Economy." Held at the Brooklyn Museum and sponsored in part by the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the event was led by WYNC's Brian Lehrer, WQXR's Terrance McKnight, and Princeton University associate professor of politics and African American studies Melissa Harris-Perry.

During the two-hour event, the panelists -- Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) national chair Roy Innis, New York Theological Seminary professor Obery Hendricks, Domestic Workers United organizer Christine Yvette Lewis, Brooklyn College professor Jeanne Theoharis, history professor and author Peniel Joseph, and youth organizer Natalia Aristizabal-Betancur -- emphasized how we should remember the fullness of who Dr. King was and not, as Obery Hendricks put it, the "domesticated, watered-down...figure that we see on coffee mugs and key rings."

With that in mind, here are a few notes and takeaways from the discussion:

All labor has dignity. WNYC kicked off the event by playing a portion of King's final prophetic speech in Memphis, which he delivered in support of striking sanitation workers at Mason Temple on the evening before his assassination. (The recording can be found on a new CD that accompanies a new collection of Dr. King's speeches, All Labor Has Dignity.) After the clip, Obery Hendricks pointed out how economic rights were just as important as civil rights to Dr. King, who once said: "The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct, and immediate abolition of poverty."

He died "fighting the fight." King, from his teens to his death, spent his life fighting for equal rights. However, it wasn't until the end of his life, the period from 1965-68, that he took a stand for economic, social, and political justice -- making him the most dangerous person in America. "After the Voting Rights Act of 1965, King becomes a pillar of fire because he realizes that democracy has to be re-imagined," said Joseph, "not just for black people, but for everyone. And he starts to work with the labor movement -- a movement for economic justice that recruit[s] poor whites, Mexicans, young people involved in gangs in Chicago [and] also in Appalachia...."

Radical democracy. A few of the panelists agreed that if Dr. King were alive today, his rhetoric would set him apart from most faith leaders, who too often seem to be about entertaining and making people feel good rather than about advancing the cause of social justice. Dr. King also would find himself at a critical remove from conservative political philosophy, said Hendricks, "because conservatism -- in its historical form -- is about maintaining power and wealth as it is." Dr. King, in contrast, believed in radical democracy, as this excerpt from his speech at the Mason Temple Church in Memphis on March 18, 1968, illustrates:

You know, Jesus reminded us in a magnificent parable one day that a man went to Hell because he didn't see the poor. And his name was Dives. There was a man by the name of Lazarus who came daily to his gate in need of the basic necessities of life. Dives didn't do anything about it. He ended up going to Hell....

Dives went to Hell because he passed by Lazarus every day, but he never really saw him. Dives went to Hell because he allowed Lazarus to become invisible. Dives went to Hell because he allowed the means by which he lived to outdistance the ends for which he lived. Dives went to Hell because he maximized the minimum, and minimized the maximum. Dives finally went to Hell because he wanted to be a conscientious objector in the war against poverty.

And I come by here to say that America too is going to Hell, if we don't use her wealth. If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty, to make it possible for all of God's children to have the basic necessities of life, she too will go to Hell....

Dr. King wasn't a physically imposing man, but he was a tremendously courageous man who risked his life time again to challenge orthodoxy and expose hypocrisy and injustice. "That is who he was," said Hendricks, "and that is how we should remember and honor him...."

For more about the event, including excerpts from the panelists' presentation, visit the WNYC blog here.

-- Regina Mahone

Achieving Real Justice: Funding Criminal Justice Reform

January 19, 2011

(Timothy P. Silard is president of the San Francisco-based Rosenberg Foundation, the largest California-based private funder of criminal justice policy reform advocacy. He was recently appointed co-chair of the Recidivism Reduction & Reentry committee of the new California Attorney General's Smart on Crime transition leadership team.)

CSP_LA An ambitious, multiyear plan to reduce the number of women behind bars.

A major push to expand job opportunities for Californians with past convictions by advocating with major businesses and state government to change hiring practices and combat employment discrimination.

An initiative to change the odds for children by preventing childhood exposure to violence and creating a seamless web of support and treatment to help child victims of violence heal and rebuild their lives.

These are just some of the innovative strategies being carried out by public agencies and local and national organizations to address one of California's biggest challenges -- a broken criminal justice system.

As we enter the second decade of the twenty-first century, there is no question that the Golden State's approach to keeping our communities safe desperately needs new thinking. In fact, fueled by decades of so-called "tough on crime" policies that have handcuffed politicians since the 1970s, it is woefully out of touch.

The result? The state has the largest prison population in the country, with more than 170,000 people behind bars. Eleven percent of the state budget goes to the prison system, yet California has the highest recidivism rate in the country; indeed, two-thirds of people released from prison in California are back behind bars within three years. Meanwhile, to balance a budget crippled by massive corrections expenditures lawmakers have been forced to slash funds for education and crucial social services.

The problem is not confined to California. As a country, we spend $212 billion annually on the criminal justice system. Americans comprise five percent of the world's population, but we have 25 percent of the world's prisoners. Nearly 2.4 million Americans are locked up in jails and prisons across the country, most for nonviolent offenses, and an enormously disproportionate number are poor and people of color. And there are now 2.7 million children with an incarcerated mother or father, a number that has quadrupled over the past 25 years. As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to take up the issue of California's overcrowded prison system, it is clear that a fear-driven approach to criminal justice and public safety has taken a real toll on communities across the Golden State and the country.

Despite the formidable challenges, there are many successful, proven innovations in this arena, and there are opportunities for real criminal justice reform on the horizon -- and for California to lead the way nationally. California voters just elected a new governor and attorney general, both of whom take office as criminal justice reformers. In January, as part of his proposed budget, Governor Jerry Brown called for the the elimination of the youth prison system and for low-level offenders to be housed in county-run jails instead of the state’s prisons. Attorney General Kamala Harris has helped build a robust policy architecture around being "smart on crime," which in turn has emerged as a rallying slogan for reformers around the country.

Philanthropy has a major role to play in these efforts. Those of us in the field know that we cannot turn things around nationally or in California without the help of the dedicated advocates and organizations on the frontlines of criminal justice reform. These organizations are working hard every day to attack the issue from multiple angles -- from urging government officials to enact specific policy reforms, to providing direct services and a second chance at life to individuals who are reentering society from prison and jail, to changing the hearts and minds of citizens about the best ways to secure public safety. Yet these organizations and advocates cannot achieve lasting and comprehensive success in this area without significant investment and support from foundations and individual philanthropists.

While criminal justice is an area that has been chronically under-resourced in the past, there are signs of increased interest among funders. The Rosenberg Foundation is part of a newly formed national Criminal Justice Funders Network that counts a growing number of funders among its members, including the Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, California Endowment, Fund for Nonviolence, Omnia Foundation, and Women's Foundation of California, among others.

We partnered in 2009 with the U.S. Department of Justice to convene a major meeting of national criminal justice funders at which more than eighty funders participated in strategic discussions with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and top staff from the Justice Department to identify priorities and areas of potential public/private cooperation. And in 2010, the Justice Department convened a group of funders focused on Reentry and Justice Reinvestment, two of the priority areas identified at the earlier meeting.

But more needs to be done. Because targeted investments by grantmakers in criminal justice reform can alleviate other, often-connected problems, we need to highlight the intersections between criminal justice policy and critical social justice issues such as racial inequality, education, community revitalization, child and family well-being, poverty, housing, and employment and workforce development.

In addition to investing dollars, funders have an unmatched ability to bring together both likely and unlikely allies -- not just reform advocates, but also businesses and community leaders, law enforcement, policy makers, and others -- ensuring that we move beyond issue silos to find common ground, share resources and ideas, and focus collectively on the task at hand.

In terms of facilitating knowledge sharing, funders also can identify and commission research and data on best practices and successes, and help disseminate that knowledge to a broad national audience.

Finally, funders can help to open doors for advocates by making sure that, in discussions and work with public and private partners, organizations and leaders on the frontlines always have a seat at the table.

There are myriad examples of innovative strategies from states and localities across the country that have taken up criminal justice reform, addressing both front-end alternatives to incarceration as well as successful reentry for those returning to their communities from prison and jail. We in philanthropy have the opportunity to lead the way in establishing these strategies as successes that can be replicated and built upon so that they become lasting solutions. It is the only way to achieve real justice and safety for our communities.

-- Timothy P. Silard

A Few Thoughts on Dr. King's Birthday

January 17, 2011

Mlk_vert In the spring of 1966, with the war in Vietnam turning into the quagmire that would make Lyndon Johnson a one-term president and John Lennon's controversial comments about the popularity of his band and Jesus just weeks old, The Nation published what would turn out to be the last of four annual essays contributed to the magazine by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

At the time, many people would have understood if Dr. King had paused and taken a well-deserved break from the struggle that had consumed his life since the middle of the previous decade. He had won the Nobel Peace Prize and become the most recognizable symbol of a social movement whose signature tactic, nonviolent civil disobedience, and signal achievements, most notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, had galvanized the world. But King was nothing if not impatient when confronted with injustice.

Earlier that year, he and his SCLC colleagues had launched the Chicago Freedom Movement, which would become the largest sustained civil rights campaign in the North during the decade of the '60s. As one might expect from a man whose vision and hopes for his country were as expansive as Dr. King's, the goal of the campaign was nothing less than an end to the "economic exploitation [that] is crystallized in the SLUM." King was under no illusion as to the magnitude of the task at hand -- or the power and determination of the forces opposed to his efforts. But as he noted in his Nation article, "mass nonviolent action" would continue to be the tactic of the movement. Indeed, wrote King,

It was the mass-action movement that engendered the changes of the decade....Without the will to unity and struggle Negroes would have no strength, and reversal of their successes could be easily effected. The use of creative tensions that broke the barriers of the South will be as indispensable in the North to obtain and extend necessary objectives.

These are partial elements of the Negro's program for freedom. Beyond these is one of singular importance which will be featured in the North -- economic security. This is usually referred to as the need for jobs. The distinction made here between economic security and jobs is not semantic. A job in our industrial society is not necessarily equivalent to security. It is too often undercut by layoffs. No element of the working people suffers so acutely from layoffs as Negroes, traditionally the first fired and the last hired. They lack the seniority other workers accumulate because discrimination thwarts long-term employment. Negroes need the kind of employment that lasts the year through. They need the opportunity to advance on the job; they need the type of employment that feeds, clothes, educates and stabilizes a family. Statistics that picture declining rates of unemployment veil the reality that Negro jobs are still substandard and evanescent. The instability of employment reflects itself in the fragile character of Negro ambitions and economic foundations....

Our nation is now so rich, so productive, that the continuation of persistent poverty is incendiary because the poor cannot rationalize their deprivation. We have yet to confront and solve the international problems created by our wealth in a world still largely hungry and miserable. But more immediate and pressing is the domestic existence of poverty. It is an anachronism in the second half of the 20th century. Only the neglect to plan intelligently and adequately and the unwillingness genuinely to embrace economic justice enable it to persist....

We've come a long way as a society in the decades since Dr. King penned those words. But we have a long way yet to go. Economic inequality is approaching levels not seen since the days of the robber barons, and the un- and underemployment rates for African Americans remain stuck at 16 percent and 25 percent, respectively, putting at risk a quarter-century of social progress.

Were he alive, one suspects Dr. King would be disappointed but not surprised by the current state of affairs. He initiated the Poor People's Campaign in 1967, after all, to dramatize the needs of the poor, regardless of color, in a society that too often ignores them. And his final campaign -- one that put him in mortal danger -- was in support of striking sanitation workers in Memphis. He knew, better than most, that the work of creating a more just society was not for the weak-kneed or faint of heart.

As we honor Dr. King on what would've been his eighty-second birthday, let us remember that change, real social change, almost always happens from the bottom up and that each one of us is responsible for making the change we believe in.

-- Mitch Nauffts

Weekend Link Roundup (January 15 - 16, 2011)

January 16, 2011

Martin-luther-king-jr Our weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....


On her Non-Profit Marketing blog, Katya Andresen explains why, in a 2.0 world, the terms audience, cultivation, and message strategy "don’t reflect how [nonprofits] should be doing business."

Disaster Relief

Last week saw the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that killed over 200,000 and left a million more homeless in Haiti. To mark the occasion, a number of bloggers weighed in with their thoughts and reflections. In a post on her Philanthropy 2173 blog, Lucy Bernholz looks at a new report from the Knight Foundation which examined the roles of media and communications in responding to the disaster and offers some second thoughts of her own on the role of mobile text giving in the wake of the disaster.

On the GiveWell blog, Holden Karnofsky explains what charities have and have not accomplished in Haiti in the twelve months since the quake, while on the Charity Navigator blog Sandra Miniutti shares a few comments from disaster relief organizations that were made during a recent roundtable discussion "about what went right, what went wrong....and what’s next for their charity in Haiti."


In conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Niki Jagpal and Kevin Laskowski of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy wonder whether philanthropy is commendable? "For us," they write

this is what it really comes down to: how does philanthropy measure up during these challenging times? Are we good philanthropic neighbors? Is institutional philanthropy the priest or the Levite or the Samaritan? Are grantmakers truly willing to take risks to help a brother or sister in need? Is philanthropy more than merely commendable? Do we possess the dangerous altruism of the good Samaritan and of the man whose legacy we celebrate this holiday?

Poverty Alleviation

The already heated debate around microcredit and the proper role of for-profit lenders in the space got even hotter this weekend. On Saturday, in the op-ed pages of the New York Times, Grameen Bank founder and microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus argued that in its quest for profits, the industry had lost its way. In a post on his Philanthrocapitalism blog, Matthew Bishop quickly rode to the defense of for-profit microlenders, taking Yunus to task for suggesting, among other things, that they were "loan sharks" and comparing the Nobel Prize winner to the mythical Greek titan Cronus, who devoured his own children rather than let them take his place in the heavens. Bishop's post, in turn, drew a sharp reponse from Reuters financial blogger Felix Salmon, who used words like "peculiar" and "disengenuous" to characterize Bishop's arguments. You can bet we'll be hearing a lot more on this topic in the months to come.

On the Case Foundation blog, Josh Tabb shares a video in which Invisible.tv founder Mark Horvath explains how he uses technology to give the homeless a voice.

Social Media

And on the Frogloop blog, Rad Campaign co-founder Allyson Kapin argues that social media is a bubble about to burst. Writes Kapin:

In the past four years, we have witnessed social media transition from a social space to a medium that often feels like a competitive public relations arena filled with “influencers” who have so-called Klout and strategists who have made money on empty promises.

"To be honest, it's so crowded and very few people are listening to the open stream anymore. That was quite different when we originally launched TweetsGiving," said [Stacey] Monk [co-founder, Epic Change].

So the next time someone tells your nonprofit that social media is the bees knees, ask them to show you social media's ROI - aka it's direct impact on nonprofits. Ask them to show you the increase in memberships and donations across the nonprofit sector and the evidence that more people are calling or meeting with their members of Congress to lobby for legislation. Ask for proof that the needle is being moved.

Social media as a fundraising, list building, and organizing tool has been inflated for four years. How much longer can nonprofits afford to significantly over-invest in it, before the bubble bursts?

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

-- Regina Mahone

Haiti: A Year Later

January 13, 2011

Haiti_anniversary A year after a deadly earthquake rocked Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince, killing over 200,000 and leaving a million more homeless, international efforts to rebuild the hemisphere's most impoverished country have made little progress.

"With my own eyes I don't see progress. I don't see anything," Clenor Fleurent, who works in a Port-au-Prince barbershop, recently told the Washington Post. "Progress is for special people."

Haiti is a country of almost ten million, most of them desperately poor. Long before the quake, decades of political violence, resource exploitation, and capital flight had pushed it to the brink. The Haitian people are nothing if not resilient, however, and even after three hurricanes and a tropical storm pummeled the country in the summer of 2008, many Haitians were feeling hopeful about their prospects. Then the quake -- the worst to hit the country in over two hundred years -- struck, leaving Port-au-Prince in ruins and the country's future in doubt.

People around the world were horrified by the devastation, and the international community rushed to respond. Within weeks, donor governments had pledged $1 billion for relief efforts and U.S.-based nonprofits working in the country had raised more than $275 million. At a UN-sponsored donors conference in March, donor governments pledged $4.5 billion for recovery and reconstruction efforts over the next two years and forgave an additional $1.1 billion in Haitian government debt. Americans were similarly generous, donating more than $1.4 billion to relief and recovery efforts by year's end. (The folks at GiveWell and the Chronicle of Philanthropy have done great work in making sense of the complicated fundraising picture.)

For a variety of logistical, political, and institutional reasons, the bulk of that money remains on the sidelines. According to GiveWell, only $1.6 billion of the $5.2 billion (38 percent) raised or pledged has been spent. The disconnect between good intentions and the need and suffering of the Haitian people is a constant theme in reports from the shattered capital:

"Piles of rubble still clog the streets, at the current rate, it will take twenty years to simply clean up the mess. Nearly a million people still live in about 1,300 makeshift refugee camps that occupy every available parking lot and open space in the capital. With each passing day, the camps take on a more permament look...." (Wall Street Journal)

"There are few major rebuilding projects visible in Port au Prince. The most prominent is happening in the abandoned, condemned downtown core....Engineers have made cursory inspections of more than 380,000 homes in....Half of the houses need to be repaired or demolished. But the Haitian government has not yet issued building codes....There are fewer jobs today than before the earthquake, and those jobs were largely created by international humanitarian organizations...." (Washington Post)

"Construction of new housing has barely begun. The core underlying issue of sorting out Haiti's broken system of land ownership, where several people hold claim to the same plot of land, has not even been addressed....Internationally financed inspectors have certified that some houses are safe for return, but few have. Many are merely moving their shacks closer to where they used to live, because they don't want to risk another earthquake in their damaged homes...." (Washington Post)

The United Nations, which is coordinating humanitarian aid efforts in the country, is a bit more optimistic. On a teleconference earlier in the week (podcast here), Nigel Fisher, deputy special representative for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), stated that progress, albeit "incremental," had been made and offered a few data points to support that claim: the number of Haitians living in temporary camps has fallen almost 50 percent, from 1.5 million to 800,000; short-term employment has been created for half a million Haitians, half of them women; and the flow of aid money -- while clearly inadequate in 2010 -- will pick up in 2011.

Kenneth Merten, the U.S. ambassador to Haiti, struck a similarly optimistic note in a WaPo op-ed over the weekend. Progress is not always visible, wrote Merten, and we understand people's frustration with the pace of reconstruction. But things are happening.

The Haitian government undertook a proactive communication and flood-mitigation effort before the rainy season last year, and it led the international response to Hurricane Tomas in November. Haitian scientists in the Ministry of Public Health and Population identified cholera as soon as it appeared, and the ministry has coordinated the international  response to the outbreak. An important component of the response is public health and hygiene information, and the ministry's public service announcements -- often directed at children who recite them verbatim with pride whenever someone passes by -- are ubiquitous on the radio....

In circumstances as dire as those facing Haiti, any sign of progress is welcome news.

Still, the situation is fluid and complex -- "chronically disastrously complex," Ken Isaacs, vice president for programs at Samaritan's Purse, an aid organization that has built ten thousand temporary shelters in the country, told the Washington Post. Indeed, it's "the most complex environment I've ever worked in," said Isaacs.

Everyone understands that -- even Oxfam International, which issued a report last week praising the humanitarian response that saved "countless lives by providing, water, sanitation, shelter, food aid, and other vital assistance to millions of people" on the one hand, while taking the international community and Haitian authorities to task for failing to make "significant progress" in reconstructing the country. The report criticizes aid agencies and the international community for not doing enough "to support good governance and effective leadership in Haiti," for continuing "to bypass local and national authorities in the delivery of assistance," and for "not coordinating their actions or adequately or consulting the Haitian people." And it scolds Haitian authorities for not moving forward "on critical issues that are their prime, and sole, responsibility."

The report includes a number of recommendations for the new Haitian government, international donors and NGOs, and the UN. They're well meaning ("Put measures in place to reduce corruption and accountability"; "Work more closely and effectively with the Haitian authorities": "Consult, communicate and effectively involve Haitian citizens in the reconstruction of their country"), though for the most part broad and lacking in specifics.

But maybe that's beside the point. Yes, Haiti needs better government and an end to the deadly political infighting that has compromised its ability to function as a self-governing state. Its woeful infrastructure and public education system need to be upgraded for the twenty-first century. It will require the continuing assistance of NGOs and the international donor community for years, if not decades, to come.

But, like so many other desperately poor countries, what it needs more than anything is jobs. Jobs that pay a living wage. Jobs that make it possible for Haitians to participate in the rebuilding of their country. Jobs that give them purpose and hope for the future. Without that, Haiti has little to look forward to.

-- Mitch Nauffts


TMI vs. ROI: Risks and Rewards of Philanthropy 2.0

January 10, 2011

(Paul Connolly is senior vice president of TCC Group, a management consulting firm that serves nonprofit organizations, foundations, and corporate community involvement programs. This post originally appeared on Transparency Talk, a Foundation Center blog dedicated to exploring best practices in foundation transparency and accountability.)


Are "glass pockets" in the digital age half empty or half full? The answer is not so clear, based on the intriguing nuggets that surfaced when I moderated a panel discussion on "Philanthropy 2.0 — The Role of Digital Media, Technology, and Networks" at a   Yale School of Management Philanthropy Conference on December 3, 2010. The panelists included Ken Berger of Charity Navigator, Claire Lyons of the Pepsico Foundation, Michael Smith of the Case Foundation, and Jose Zamora of the Knight Foundation. They all agreed that grantmakers can't afford to ignore social media as its saturation grows. They talked specifically about how funders are using digital technology to tap crowd input for influencing funding decisions and to enhance accountability and transparency. The discussion raised some provocative questions.

The Rewards of Crowdsourced Philanthropy

More grantmakers are utilizing online crowdsourcing techniques to engage a wide audience in suggesting funding ideas and priorities. Zamora explained that the Knight Foundation has employed open Web-based applications because "We do not have all the answers, and we often do not even know the right questions; it is too presumptuous for funders to assume that they can adequately identify the best priorities on their own." Through the Knight News Challenge (which has the tagline "You invent it, we fund it"), the Knight Foundation has been able to identify a variety of off-the-radar ideas for journalism. Innovative projects that have been funded include online town halls, digital courtroom coverage, virtual eyewitness video-editing studios, and hyper-local and data-filled maps for community media Web sites.

Over the past year, Pepsico has made $20 million in grants through its Pepsi Refresh campaign based on public internet voting on its funding priorities. This online project has served to build the company's brand and increase customer participation and loyalty, as well as support a variety of good causes.

And while relinquishing some control is an inherent part of these interactive approaches to grantmaking, funders need not give it ALL up. One Case Foundation online program that supports citizen-centered solutions lets the public vote to determine an initial cut, but the foundation staff members make the final recommendations for grants.

Risks of Using Interactive Digital Media in the Nonprofit World

Although the Internet provides enormous opportunity for more openness, accountability, and innovation, technology is a platform for collective engagement but not the solution itself. As Lyons noted, "Crowdsourcing is a surgical tool, not a panacea." The hard work of improving communities remains and won't be magically managed by crowds. Beyond misconceptions about the role of technology, we must also look to the risks of such 2.0 approaches.

The truth is, crowdsourcing can misfire. Sometimes crowds are wise, and sometimes they are, er, less wise. The resulting broad input can end up being superficial -- the philanthropy equivalent of "cute baby" photo contests or slacktivist-style "bumper-sticker" causes. Berger cautioned that for nonprofits, online marketing of "best stories" or "happy news" too often overshadows hard evidence of proven results. (Charity Navigator's motto is "Use your head so your heart does not get broken.")

And although the Internet may feel like a more open and level playing field, power imbalances between funders and grantseekers still exist. Participants in one Case Foundation online grant voting program, for instance, reported being less than completely honest with the foundation because it still controlled the purse strings -- and therefore held the financial prospects of these organizations in the balance.

Information Overload?

The ubiquity of online tools raises other questions. There are now sixty-two online information intermediaries in the nonprofit rating information space. Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes added to the mix last month when he launched yet another called Jumo. While these resources provide the public with diverse choices, donors have also clearly stated that they want information that is easy to access and understand. Are funders -- who financially support many of these sites -- contributing to information overload? Is there too much fragmentation and should some of the sites consolidate?

Despite the proliferation of online rating sites for nonprofits, we do not see an excess of such sites for foundations. But such a scenario may not be far off -- and would certainly shake things up. Would nonprofits -- and funders themselves -- benefit from a user-generated review site like Yelp for foundations?

What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

-- Paul Connolly

Weekend Link Roundup (January 8 - 9, 2011)

January 09, 2011

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


Inspired by the Washington Post's 2011 In/Out List, Network for Good's Katya Andresen shares what's in and out for nonprofits in the New Year. Her list, which was compiled with Mark Rovner of Sea Change Strategies, includes:

In: Metrics that matter
Out: Metrics that are easy to obtain

In: Integrated communications
Out: Multi-channel communications

In: Speaking from the heart
Out: Speaking from the left brain

On her Getting Attention blog, Nancy Schwartz explains why sometimes it's "better not to say (or video) anything at all, than to release a video without meaning."

Disaster Relief

After taking a close look at a number of disaster relief organizations' financial information, GiveWell's Holden Karnofsky concludes that "there is a lot of room for improvement in the information currently available for disaster relief donors, and a lot of room to improve incentives for the major disaster relief organizations to be as transparent and accountable as possible."


On his On the Ground blog, New York Times reporter Nick Kristof wonders whether Bangladesh has it in for Grameen Bank and its founder, Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. According to Kristof:

The Bangladeshi press has lately been full of denunciations of Yunus. On Tuesday, for example, one Bangladeshi news organization quoted an economist as saying of him: "A lot about him is just myth. [He] had never been selfless in any of his initiatives." Meanwhile the Bangladeshi government has ordered a corruption investigation of Grameen after a Norwegian television documentary raised questions, even though the Norwegian government said there was nothing to the charges. There have also been (false) published reports that Yunus will resign and suggestions that he should retire for reasons of age....

Writing on their Philanthrocapitalism blog, Matthew Bishop and Michael Green argue that "The attack on Mr. Yunus is part of a far wider backlash against microfinance, and businesslike approaches to helping the poor, that we predict will grow around the world this year. Grameen Bank," they add, "is the poster child for a movement: there is a great deal at stake here for the entire movement, which is at the heart of philanthrocapitalism...."


On her Philanthropy 2173 blog, Lucy Bernholz shares a list of the top ten philanthropy-related buzzwords that defined the decade just passed.

Social Media

One the Social Citizens blog, Kristin Ivie shares eight social media resolutions for 2011 and asks readers to chime in with suggestions of their own. Her list includes more and deeper listening to others on sites like Twitter, trying something new to see what you might be missing, and thinking before you post anything in order to avoid taking "a ride on the oversharing train."

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

(Photo credit: MadChicken)

-- Regina Mahone

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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