« December 2012 | Main | February 2013 »

20 posts from January 2013

“Beep, Beep”: The Sound of Philanthropy and the Social Economy in 2013

January 07, 2013

(Bradford K. Smith is president of the Foundation Center.)

Wile-E-Coyote"We will change what we do with and without institutions, and we will change how our institutions (funders, nonprofits, and others) work." So predicts self-described philanthropy wonk Lucy Bernholz in Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2013, a must-read roadmap available for the first time as a GrantCraft publication. "Beep, beep." Wile E. Coyote (me, nonprofit executive) has just been left holding a burning stick of dynamite while the Road Runner (Lucy, blogger extraordinaire) races headlong onto her next prediction. That is the true value of Blueprint 2013 for those who are busy running the institutions that make up the "social economy": Lucy has seen the future for us, and now we must struggle to adapt, respond, and innovate. The data- and technology-driven future she envisions is both exhilarating and a bit unsettling, but one thing is clear: the Silicon Valley credo is fast approaching the staid world of philanthropy: "Disrupt yourself or be disrupted."

The vast majority of today's social sector leaders grew up in a world where foundations were the funders and nonprofits were the doers. Blueprint 2013 lays out a vision of a social economy inhabited not only by traditional nonprofits, but also by social businesses, socially responsible corporations, peer networks, and institutional forms not yet invented. Donors in this economy have choices between well-known forms of charitable giving (like creating a foundation), impact investing, and political giving to bring out the change they desire.

Running throughout the social economy is the lifeblood of data. In 2012 alone:

Continue reading »

Gun Violence in America: A Q&A With Ellen Alberding, President, Joyce Foundation

January 04, 2013

Ellen_alberding_headshotThe December shooting of twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, by a young man armed with a semiautomatic assault rifle, two handguns, and several hundred rounds of ammunition sparked an explosion of outrage and immediate calls for Congress to do something about the seemingly unchecked and -regulated spread of guns in America. In the three weeks since the massacre, another four hundred and twenty-seven people in the U.S. have been killed by guns and the momentarily white-hot debate over gun control has taken a back seat to other policy issues.

Just before the New Year, PND checked in with Ellen Alberding, president of the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation and an outspoken proponent of reasonable gun-control policies, about the scourge of gun violence in America and what philanthropy can do to address the issue.

Philanthropy News Digest: You wrote eloquently about the problem of gun violence in America after the January 2011 shooting in Tucson that left six people dead and thirteen others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, wounded. Here we are, two years later, trying as a nation to come to terms with another horrific mass shooting, and nothing has changed. Does that surprise you?

Ellen Alberding: There's no question that gun violence prevention is one of the most challenging public policy issues facing our nation. And for too long, that has been an excuse for inaction. But following the recent tragedy in Newtown, our country seems to be done with excuses and is demanding action, in the form of stronger gun laws that can help prevent further carnage.

More than 400,000 people have signed a White House petition asking for action and 900,000 citizens have joined over 800 mayors in cities across the country to demand a plan from Washington to reduce the toll of gun violence. Since the Sandy Hook shooting, the response from so many other groups -- nonprofits, law enforcement, education groups -- has been encouraging as well.

This time is different. And we must demand a different outcome.

Continue reading »

2012 Year in Review: The Giving Pledge Gains Momentum

January 02, 2013

Yir_2012The Giving Pledge, the effort launched in 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to encourage the world's mega-wealthy to devote at least half their wealth to philanthropy, saw a significant increase in signatories in 2012, as well as at least one effort to bring greater transparency to the campaign.

The additional visibility was a welcome development, coming as it did after Carlos Slim Helu, the wealthiest man in the world, announced in 2011 that he wouldn't be signing the pledge. In April, the campaign announced that twelve more families or individuals had agreed to participate. They included hedge fund manager Bill Ackman and his wife, Karen; businessman and film producer Steve Bing; Home Depot co-founder and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur M. Blank; Canadian-American businessman Edgar M. Bronfman; hedge fund manager Glenn Dubin and his wife, Eva; Texas businessman Red McCombs and his wife, Charline; British-American venture capitalist Michael Moritz and his wife, novelist Harriet Heyman; South African-American entrepreneur Elon Musk; SAS co-founder John Sall and his wife, Ginger; Broadcom co-founder Henry Samueli and his wife, Susan; real estate developer John A. Sobrato and his wife, Susan; and MBI founder Ted Stanley and his wife, Vada.

Continue reading »

2012 Year in Review: Veterans Issues, Initiatives Gain Support

Yir_2012With the war in Iraq over and America’s long engagement in Afghanistan coming to a close, philanthropic investments in nonprofit organizations seeking to address the needs of returning service members and their families moved front and center in 2012, continuing a decade-long trend. But even with veterans issues getting more attention, thanks in part to 2012 Charles Bronfman Prize winner Eric Greitens, a former Navy SEAL and founder of The Mission Continues, concerns grew over insufficient coordination in an increasingly crowded field.

Initiatives announced during the year in support of veterans and military families sought to address a range of issues, from employment and housing, to mental health and wellness, to access to higher education. In April, for example, the University of Southern California received a $10 million gift from alumnus and board trustee William J. Schoen and his wife, Sharon, to provide scholarships to veterans enrolled at USC's Marshall School of Business and Viterbi School of Engineering. In May, the Robin Hood Foundation, in partnership with the White House and the New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, announced an initiative to provide job placement services to returning service personnel in the city, where veterans make up 20 percent of homeless adults. In a similar vein, the Walmart Foundation awarded $1 million to Goodwill Industries and $750,000 to Swords to Plowshares, a community-based organization that provides wrap-around care to more than two thousand veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area, in support of efforts to help veterans secure employment and long-term financial stability.

Continue reading »

2012 Year in Review: Technology, School Choice Major Focus for K-12 Education Philanthropy

Pnd_yearinreview_2012Education reform continued to be front and center on the philanthropic agenda in 2012, with foundations, corporate giving programs, and individual donors pouring money into efforts to close the student achievement gap, boost early childhood education, expand school choice and student learning time, and improve the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and math.

One of the more significant commitments of the year was announced in March, when telecommunications giant AT&T pledged $250 million over five years to boost high school graduation rates nationwide and improve the college and career readiness of at-risk students through approaches that emphasize technology. Technology in the service of better educational results also was the focus of groups like the NewSchools Venture Fund, which launched a seed fund in January to support tech entrepreneurs working to develop education-related tools and services, and Education Elements and the Silicon Schools Fund, which each announced new initiatives to expand so-called blended-learning schools and technology-rich education services.

Complimenting these efforts were a number of initiatives designed to boost STEM education. In July, the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment announced an additional $5 million in grants to the Economic Opportunities Through Education by 2015 initiative to link educational opportunities to STEM careers in southeast Indiana, while in October 100Kin10, a multi-sector partnership committed to training a hundred thousand science, technology, engineering and math teachers, launched a second Innovation Fund to increase the number of STEM teachers nationwide.

Continue reading »

Contributors

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

Subscribe to Philantopic

Contributors

Guest Contributors

  • Laura Cronin
  • Derrick Feldmann
  • Thaler Pekar
  • Kathryn Pyle
  • Nick Scott
  • Allison Shirk

Tweets from @PNDBLOG

Follow us »

Archives

Tags