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Weekend Link Roundup (February 4-5, 2012)

February 05, 2012

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

African Americans

BlackGivesBack's Tracey Webb gives a shout out to The Root, which earlier this week unveiled its 2012 list of Young Futurists -- African Americans under the age of 22 who are "not only achievers but also innovators in the worlds of green innovation, science and technology, arts and culture, social activism, and business enterprise."

Civil Society

"[Is there] a textbook definition of the common good?" asks Steven Fajon, a Case Foundation intern, in a guest post on the Social Citizens blog. The question occurred to Fajon after panelist Ai-Jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, in an Independent Sector webinar titled "What the Heck Is the Common Good Anyway?" explained that the purpose of the question was to initiate a dialogue between communities in need. For his part, Fajon remains unconvinced. "[I]n the end," he writes, "the idea of the common good doesn't need to be an exact science –- it simply has to strike up a debate, just like it did in my mind."


Has any public charity had a worse week, communcations-wise, than the one Komen for the Cure had this week? For a complete rundown of the missteps made by the Dallas-based organization as it tried to explain its decision to de-fund grantee Planned Parenthood, badly fumbled its response when the Internet erupted in outrage, then reversed itself a day later, see Kivi Leroux Miller's post on the "accidental rebranding" of Komen.

Global Health

On his Humanosphere blog, Tom Paulson shares a Twitter map made by Marc Smith, founder of the Social Media Research Foundation, that seems to show the global health community -- at least the portion of it "active" on Twitter -- to be fairly insular and uncommunicative. "It's mostly just an echoing of the Gates Foundation," says Smith. "There's not a lot of response, or engagement. Basically, it looks like people preaching to the choir." For his part, Paulson suggests the problem isn't so much Twitter or social media as it is "the passive...and sometimes simplistic nature of the narrative within the global health and development community itself. This is a community," Paulson adds,

devoted to -- and advertising itself as -- doing good. Humanitarians, in my experience, are exceptionally uncomfortable when forced to talk about things going bad. It also doesn't help with fund-raising, of course. But it's reality, and reality makes for better stories.


In a post on the Breast Cancer Action blog, BCA executive director Karuna Jaggar writes: "The sad truth is that Komen’s willingness to restore funding to Planned Parenthood, while a victory for women who rely on those resources, will not end the epidemic....Not while Komen overemphasizes the value of mammography -- mammography will never stop cancer before it starts. Not while pinkwashing remains the status quo, and not while Komen allows companies to put pink ribbons on their carcinogenic products. Not while metastatic disease, which is what kills women, gets only 2% of research dollars in this country...."

Higher Education

The Nonprofit Quarterly's Rick Cohen takes a closer look at the tax-exempt sector's "1 percent" -- elite universities like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford whose endowments, on average, racked up gains of 19 percent in fiscal year 2011.

International Aid/Development

In the first two installments of a four-part series here on PhilanTopic, Demos senior fellow Michael Edwards uses the paper he wrote on the Rockefeller Foundation-sponsored Bellagio Initiative to explore the relevance of "well-being" as a lens in development work and some of the lessons philanthropy can learn from that work. Coming up next: the role of metrics in that conversation.

On the White Courtesy Telephone blog, Greater New Orleans Foundation president and CEO Albert Ruesga weighs in on a disturbing article in the New York Times that exposed the unsafe working conditions at an Apple supplier in China. "It's not a given that being poor means having to work extremely hard in unsafe conditions to make very little,” writes Ruesga. “Fixing this in your supply chain needs to take priority over an on-time delivery of iPhones to eager consumers....”

Nonprofit Blogosphere

Hosting this month's Nonprofit Blog Carnival, Getting Attention's Nancy Schwartz shares a selection of posts that highlight the dreams of our fellow nonprofit bloggers.


In a video reposted on the Humanosphere blog, Melinda Gates explains the purpose of the Gates Foundation's new visitor center in Seattle.

In the text of a speech reprinted on the Philanthropy Daily site, William Schambra, the director of the Hudson Institute's Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal, offers a typically provocative take on the difference between liberal and conservative philanthropy. "Granted, every progressive foundation has in mind a particular social ill or injustice it seeks to remedy, whether environmental degradation or poverty or racial inequity," writes Schambra. "But what do all these add up to?

Very seldom do liberal foundations tell us explicitly what their overriding political philosophy is, or how they understand the basic character of the American political order, and what’s worth preserving and what needs changing.

Instead, if you add up the range of specific problems on the agenda of liberal philanthropy, we’re left with a pretty depressing view of America -- an America beset by a wide range of social ills and injustices that desperately require philanthropic interventions of all sorts.

By contrast, conservative philanthropy tends to see beneath the problems America may be experiencing -- many of which are of course quite serious -- [and sees] a profoundly decent and good political order.

And the vision is to understand and preserve that order, the American regime of liberal democracy, in the face of powerful intellectual forces that have pulled us away from that commitment....

Social Enterprise

Is the social enterprise bubble about to burst? In an attempt to answer that question, the folks at GOOD asked half a dozen social entrepreneurs working in Africa what they think is driving the hype, where the sector is going, and what advice they have for those just starting off.

Social Media

And in a guest post on Beth’s Blog, Levi Strauss Foundation executive director Daniel Jae-Won Lee looks at how some human rights organizations are using social media to engage underserved communities on the issues that affect them. For example, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California developed MiACLU.org, an online Spanish-language platform that's designed to educate and engage Latinos in the region about immigration issues.

That's it for this week. What did we miss? Drop us a line at [email protected]!

-- The Editors

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