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Weekend Link Roundup (February 22-23, 2014)

February 23, 2014

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

Education

Writing in USA Today, Bill Gates, whose foundation is a strong supporter of the Common Core, tackles three myths that have grown up around the standards: that the framework was created without the involvement of parents, teachers, or state and local governments; that adoption of the standards means students will have to take even more high-stakes tests; and that the standards will limit teachers' creativity and flexibility.

Giving

Are the young and ultra-affluent turning their backs on Big Charity? It sure seems that way, writes psychologist turned investment advisor Phil DeMuth in Forbes. Is it because they're not interested in helping? "Far from it," writes DeMuth.

Forty-six percent are focused on doing good in their communities, and nineteen percent plan to become full-time philanthropists. Here's how they roll: they get involved in hands-on niche projects where they can make a difference. They want to see demonstrable results. Program evaluation is a must-have. They want to get in and they want to get out. They are not interested in providing an annuity to some tax-deductible charity organization. They will give them a fish and teach them to fish but they will not become the fish.

What are their causes? Two stand out: education and green. Well-educated themselves, they think school is cool. They want to plow the parking lot and put up paradise. In small-scale, targeted, active interventionist ways....

Harvard, which has a $32 billion endowment, announced a $150 million gift from hedge fund manager Ken Griffin earlier this week, its largest gift ever. And that has Matthew Yglesias, Slate's business and economic correspondent, thinking that almost anyone could come up with "a better use of $150 million than to give it to the richest university on the planet."

In the New Yorker, Barry Newman, a former feature writer and foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, profiles Pete Depuis, whose Vancouver-based World Housing organization aims "to shelter poor people in five thousand free houses that would cost fifteen million dollars to build," with the money coming from the luxury developers who sign up to participate.

Impact/Effectiveness

On LinkedIn, Charity Navigator's Ken Berger writes that the "road beyond nonprofit overhead" could be a dead end if foundations and nonprofits don't do "whatever it takes to build [nonprofits'] capacity to manage and measure results and then supply that information to the donors of America."

Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, in partnership with the Stanford Social Innovation Review, has published a special supplement (24 pages, PDF) that explores how grantmakers support scale.

Social Finance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing investment capital to drive social progress, has released a white paper (56 pages, PDF) that assesses the role that philanthropy has played and will continue to play in developing the SIB market in the U.S.

Nonprofits

The folks at the Nonprofit Times have a short but sweet post about writing the perfect letter of inquiry.

Philanthropy

On his Open Democracy site, Michael Edwards has launched a new series on money and social transformation, with contributions to date from Peter and Jennifer Buffett and Edwards himself.

Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

And in a heartbreaking post on Medium, charity:water's Scott Harrison puts a human face on the WASH crisis in the developing world.

That's it for this week. What have you been reading/watching/listening to? Drop us a line at mfn@foundationcenter.org or via the comments box below....

-- Mitch Nauffts

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