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Weekend Link Roundup (August 20-21, 2011)

August 21, 2011

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


The Nonprofit Quarterly's Rick Cohen examines the "unfolding scandal" involving Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro, who admitted to providing millions of dollars in cash payments to University of Miami football players for a wide range of activities and personal expenses, including travel and in one case an abortion. Cohen says it's hard not to wonder "how many other Nevin Shapiros are out there showering the athletes and sports programs at nonprofit and public universities with millions of dollars in cash, all based on the misguided idea that such behavior is good, harmless, and maybe even charitable...."


Exhale, an Oakland-based nonprofit that works to build "abortion peace through listening and storytelling," rounds up a few posts about ethical storysharing from Thaler Pekar, a regular contributor to PhilanTopic.

Idealist.org's Julia Smith shares some examples of how nonprofits are using QR (quick response) codes to engage their constituents via mobile phone.

Corporate Philanthropy

On the Foundation Center's Transparency Talk blog, Mark Foley commends the American Express Foundation for creating the CSR Now! blog. Written by Amex Foundation president Tim McClimon, who also serves as vice president of corporate social responsibility at the financial services company, the blog aims to "get at what's happening in corporate social responsibility today -- from the point of view of a corporate practitioner."

Disaster Relief

Philanthrocapitalism authors Matthew Bishop and Michael Green share their thoughts about a recent Rolling Stone article that laid part of the blame for the ineffectiveness of the humanitarian response in Haiti at the feet of philanthrocapitalists. According to Bishop and Green:

Ultimately, the Rolling Stone article, whilst containing much genuinely disturbing and distressing information, fails to prove its case that the continuing problems in Haiti are due to the bottom line being given too great a role. Nor does it provide any reason to think that an alternative, non-philanthrocapitalistic approach would have worked any better than what was tried. Which is not to deny that mistakes were made by the philanthrocapitalists who have tried to help Haiti; it is just not clear from the article what those were or how they might have been avoided....


Beth Kanter, who co-wrote the Networked Nonprofit with Allison Fine, explains what it means for nonprofits to "embrace measurement [and]...a data-driven culture" and offers some tips for organizations looking to do the same.

International Affairs/Development

In conjunction with the one-year anniversary of the Giving Pledge campaign launched by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gate, the folks at the Brookings Institution have compiled a list of billionaires who have championed education initiatives in developing countries.


On the Deep Social Impact blog, Ellen Remmer offers a few suggestions for donors looking to find their philanthropic passion. "Bringing your passion to your giving may be elusive and, at times, hard to sustain," writes Remmer. "But if you can begin to reflect on what you care about most and pursue it with conviction, your gift giving will likely become one of the most meaningful parts of your life."

Social Networking

Commenting on the news that the for-profit media company GOOD has acquired the nonprofit portal Jumo, Foundation Center president Brad Smith says the deal raises some interesting questions about the the role of philanthropy in Jumo's creation -- the portal received some $3.5 million from private foundations in its gestation phase -- the nature of foundation grant agreements, and the definition of intellectual property in a digital world.

And commenting on the same deal, Sean Stannard-Stockton writes on his Tactical Philanthropy blog that he's looking forward to seeing "what GOOD does with Jumo. If they pull things off, they might just move from being a content platform for people who give a damn to an immersive experience, extending across the online and offline worlds for a new generation that views social impact as the connective tissue that connects their interests and passions."

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

-- Regina Mahone

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