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Weekend Link Roundup (August 2-3, 2014)

August 03, 2014

Gekko_on_vacationOur weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the nonprofit sector....


Michelle Baker, a San Francisco-based attorney, has a very good post on Gene Takagi's Nonprofit Law Blog about the do's and don'ts of issue advocacy from a regulatory perspective. It's the first of a two-part series, so be sure to bookmark it and check back later this week for part two.

Arts and Culture

Still not sure what "creative placemaking" is or why you should care? Not to worry. On the National Arts Strategies' Filed Notes blog Taylor Craig explains it all, with the help of a few friends.


In the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Manuel Lewin, head of responsible investment at Zurich Insurance Group, and Brian Smith, chief strategy officer at Population Services International, share highlights of a report jointly produced by their organizations that provides a framework designed "to help investors and nonprofits speak a common language, and better understand various financial models through which they can engage with each other."

International Affairs/Development

In Forbes, Andrew Cave looks at Bill and Melinda Gates' efforts to help bring financial services -- bank accounts, loans, insurance, etc. -- to the 2.5 billion people in the world who are "unbanked."


Do foundations and nonprofits see eye to eye when it comes to the work they do together? In a short video on the Center for Effective Philanthropy blog, CEP's Ellie Buteau, Mark Chaffin, and Ramya Gopal share the highlights of a CEP analysis that explored that very question.

In a post on the GrantCraft blog, Nikki Powell, communications manager for the Grants Managers Network, announces a new Blueprint for the Future developed by the network that has "implications for individual practitioners, grantmaking foundations of all types, and for philanthropy as a field of practice."

In the Huffington Post, Kathleen Enright, president/CEO of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, shares a summary of some "pointed reflections" offered up by Valerie Lies as she prepares to retire as president and CEO of the Donors Forum in Chicago after tweenty-seven years with the organization.

In the latest installment of her Making Change podcast, Hildy Gottlieb, author of The Pollyanna Principles: Reinventing 'Nonprofit Organizations' to Create the Future of Our World, chats with Brian Byrnes, president of the Santa Fe Community Foundation. about social change and the shortcomings of the philanthropy on the eve of his transition out of the sector to become a zen practitioner.

Public Affairs

Lucy Bernholz has posted an informative Q&A with the folks at #DetroitWater, a crowdsourced effort to match people in Detroit who need help with their water bill to 7,000+ donors.

On the Hewlett Foundation's Work in Progress, Daniel Stid, with a nod to the late James Q. Wilson, considers the role of the "amateur spirit" in recent American politics and suggests that,

for all of its moral clarity (if not superiority) relative to a world governed by cigar-chomping political bosses,its pervasive spread in the ensuing decades has created new and more intractable problems of governance in the United States. As Wilson prophesied all too well, with these developments "the need to employ issues as incentives and to distinguish one's party from the opposition along policy lines will be intensified, social cleavages will be exaggerated, party leaders will tend to be men skilled in the rhetorical arts, and the party's ability to produce agreement by trading issue-free resources will be reduced.

The amateur spirit, and the disdain it has for compromise and trade-offs, is not a suitable approach for governance in a continental republic that intentionally encompasses a tremendous diversity of interests and whose core constitutional arrangements are designed to separate, check, balance, and decentralize power. But, for better or worse, we are all amateurs now; we certainly are governed by them. The question is, given where we are, what we can do about it?

Racial Equity

And in an article in the Foundation Review, Gita Gulati-Partee and Maggie Potapchuk argue that while many foundations "have developed and invested in compelling strategies to address the root causes of systemic racism," their efforts are "insufficient...because they ignore or obscure the other half of the problem": that racial disparities "are driven and maintainedby public- and private-sector policies that not only disadvantage communities of color but also over-advantage whites."

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


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