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Weekend Link Roundup (November 26 - 27, 2011)

November 27, 2011

Aurora-borealis-NWTOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Community Improvement/Development

On the White Courtesy Telephone blog, Greater New Orleans Foundation president and CEO Albert Ruesga issues a call to support community-based organizations, which, he says, "are just too good and too important to fail."

On the Knight Blog, Philadelphia program manager Donna Frisby-Greenwood announces the beta launch of Change By Us, a platform for Philly residents who want to share ideas, join or create projects, build teams, and find resources to advance their projects.


Did you find yourself fumbling for words when the dinner-table discussion turned to income inequality and the Occupy Wall Street movement this weekend? The next time that happens, you might want to mention this finding about the widening income gap, courtesy of the Weakonomist:

In 1967, the lowest fifth (called a quintile) of income earners earned 9 percent of what the top quintile earned. In 2010 that number was 6.5 percent. That means the gap between the top and bottom has widened.

But there's a problem with statistics like that. It's a measure of household income. Household income is the total income of anyone living at a particular address. Since 1967, the total number of households in the US has grown 95 percent, while the population has only grown 56 percent. How can that happen? When a household splits in half, you get two households. Say mom and dad get divorced and each make $30k a year. You go from having one household that makes $60k to two that make $30k. How does this get reflected in the data? It skews the low-income numbers down. In the lowest quintile household, on average, there are zero income earners. In the top, of course, there are two. If more households had two income earners, you'd see less of the widening gap....

International Affairs/Development

Philanthrocapitalism authors Matthew Bishop and Michael Green explain why the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness created by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2005 to manage development assistance has been disrupted "beyond repair" by the financial crisis.


GuideStar president and CEO Bob Ottenhoff weighs in on organizational leadership, which happened to be the subject of Ashoka CEO and founder Bill Drayton's remarks upon accepting the John W. Gardner Leadership Award and is discussed at length in Bill Joiner and Stephen Josephs' book Leadership Agility. During his remarks, Drayton urged nonprofits to trade in their hierarchical structures, which, he said, don't work anymore because they "are no longer able to respond quickly or sufficiently enough," for a team approach, while Joiner and Josephs argue that today's organizations need to "nimbly anticipate and respond to rapidly changing conditions," and that the team approach is one way to do that. "There's a lot to think about here," writes Ottenhoff. "In some ways, these observations seem to be stating the obvious. But if [it's] so simple, why aren’t we doing it?"

Public Policy

On the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy's Keeping a Close Eye blog, Niki Jagpal looks at at a new study from the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life which found that there has been a "dramatic increase in the size and influence of the 'religious lobby.'" These findings, Jagpal writes, "are important for any foundation concerned with advancing our democracy or engaging in policy."


In and op-ed for the New York Times, Boston College Law School professor Ray Madoff looks at the favorable tax treatment accorded donor-advised funds, many of which are affiliated with and managed by large financial institutions like Fidelity, Schwab, and Goldman Sachs, and calls on Congress to enact rules "that require donor-advised funds to distribute all of their assets to real public charities within seven years of their contribution."

Social Media

To kick off the holiday season, Philanthropy 2173 blogger Lucy Bernholz highlights a few campaigns that embrace a sense of fun, including a #GoodSpotting sweepstakes organized by the Case Foundation that invites Twitter users to share pictures of an individual or organization doing good using the hashtag #GoodSpotting; participants who enter the contest on the foundation's Facebook page can win up to $500 in holiday spending cash -- and up to $5,000 for the charity of their choice.

Guest blogging at Beth's Blog, Mary Trudel and Rory MacPherson of Trudel | MacPherson Arts Consulting share findings from a new national study that looked at social media use by arts organizations. Among other things, the study, How Strong Is Your Social Net?, found that 70 percent of the 1,600 arts groups surveyed feel that social media is delivering on its promise and hype.

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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