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Weekend Link Roundup (June 29-30, 2013)

June 28, 2013

Hancock_150th_stampOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Civil Society

Responding to the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder on Tuesday, a decision that found Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to be unconstitutional, Niki Jagpal of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy writes that the court, in so ruling, gutted "key provisions of the VRA that protected historically disenfranchised populations." Specifically, the decision undoes the "'preclearance' requirement in the original VRA," which compelled "local governments and states with a history of voting discrimination to get federal approval before making any changes to their voting procedures and laws." Although the court's decision doesn't nullify Section 4, its implementation now depends on Congress enacting "a new statute determining which states and individuals it applies to."

Jagpal continues,

The right to vote is the most fundamental way in which citizens have a voice in our democracy. In addition to Congress needing to reinstate the key provisions of the VRA, it is imperative that nonprofits working on voting rights issues be provided with the kinds of support they need to complement the hoped-for statue.

Philanthropy has an opportunity to contribute to the public good by helping to restore implementation of the now-gutted provisions. And grantmakers must consider that the Court’s ruling is likely an outcome of a sustained, well-funded movement among conservatives to roll back provisions of the VRA and the Civil Rights Movement....


Kivi Leroux Miller shares a slideshow from her webinar "21 Things Nonprofit Marketers Can Stop Doing!" -- a list that includes outreach campaigns designed with the general public in mind, rather than efforts focused on groups likely to support your cause; letting lawyers or accountants dictate marketing strategies; and paying for custom software instead of using commercial or open-source solutions that are more likely to be updated as technology and the market changes.

Data Visualization

On the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation blog, Aminatou Sow highlights a new interactive tool designed to help Americans visualize the human toll on returning veterans the backlog of cases at the Veterans Affairs Administration has had. Launched by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, The Wait We Carry site shares the stories of individual veterans -- more than 500,000 of them waiting as many as 500 days -- looking to get help for back pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, ringing in the ears, and other conditions resulting from their service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Writes Sow:

By creating a visualization tool in which the individual stories matter as much as the aggregate, we’re empowering veterans to collectively raise their voices. "The Wait We Carry" also helps local activists and media better follow veterans' issues in their communities, as well as help the private and nonprofit sectors direct resources and support where it is most needed....


Guest blogging on the Inside Philanthropy blog, D5 Coalition director Kelly Brown discusses the coalition's most recent report on the philanthropic sector's efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.


On her Philanthropy 2173 blog, Lucy Bernholz highlights a video from TEDxGrandRapids in which she discusses her concept of "digital civil society," part of a larger project known as Re-Coding Good with which she is involved .


In part two of a two-part series on the Foundation Center's Transparency Talk blog, California Endowment president and CEO Robert Ross shares some advice for organizations looking to develop a "community-change initiative." (You can read the first post here.) His advice includes:

  1. Take time to plan, and plan to take the time;
  2. Don't lead with money;
  3. Date logic models but get married to learning;
  4. Be transparent about desired results;
  5. Be dogmatic about results but flexible about strategies;
  6. Listening is a form of leadership;
  7. Make "patient" grants and "urgent" grants;
  8. Storytelling is part of the doing;
  9. Spend the brand; and
  10. Have a Highly Engaged Board.

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

-- The Editors

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