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Weekend Link Roundup (October 27-28, 2012)

October 28, 2012

Hurricane-sandy_satOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Climate Change

Bridgespan Group manager Chris Addy says that if the federal government won't address climate change at the policy level, at-risk communities may need to rely on the generosity of private philanthropies like the San Diego Foundation for support. He goes on to list "five powerful pathways for philanthropic funders to invest in climate adaptation":

  1. support local science and local scientists;
  2. invest in neutral conveners;
  3. build the field of climate adaptation;
  4. re-frame adaptation around equity; and
  5. support advocacy.


On the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation blog, David Grant, who was president and CEO of the foundation from 1998 to 2010, writes about a board leadership training in which he put off using the "a-word" -- assessment -- and asked the participants to envision what success for their organizations would look like in progressively specific terms. The participants discussed their answers with one another, then repeated the exercise but this time described what success would look like at an even higher level. Grant writes:

I was talking about building an assessment culture. And without using the word "rubric," the teams from each organization had begun to build one, as they discussed...what criteria they would [use to] measure success and began to meld together their visions of what success would look like at various levels. They were beginning to create a clear, specific, shared vision they could plan backwards from -- and one they could use to give and receive feedback in time for the feedback to be useful.

My contention has always been that the word "assessment" needs to be rehabilitated. We have all experienced assessment so many times in our lives...as something that comes at the end and judges our past performance that we have trouble assuming it could be something that happens all along and improves our performance. But it can be. Coaches know that. Teachers of performing arts know that. And leaders of nonprofit organizations can know it, too, once they establish some basic principles and some new habits with their colleagues....


"How we use data, how we control our own data, how we respect the rights of others regarding their data -- these are defining issues for our age," writes Lucy Bernholz on her Philanthropy 2173 blog. "They are fundamentally questions about rights and power. Which means, somewhat ironically, they are questions for civil society and philanthropy (as well as government and business)...."

In the first installment of a new Deep Social Impact blog series, the Philanthropic Initiative's Ellen Remmer outlines some of the positive aspects of a family foundation -- it creates a family legacy, strengthens family bonds, and connects and educates the family about the larger world -- while acknowledging that this type of giving is not for every family.

In a guest post on the Idealist blog, Christine Egger shares a few takeaways from the 2012 Social Capital Markets conference, which this year addressed how the philanthropic sector can be "a valued partner in seeding and strengthening a social market that has yet to realize its full potential."


And on the Foundation Center's Transparency Talk blog, David Hall-Matthews of Publish What You Fund shares findings from the 2012 Aid Transparency Index, which found "a slow but steady improvement in global aid transparency."

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

-- The Editors

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