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Weekend Link Roundup (December 13-14, 2014)

December 14, 2014

Nutcrackers-christmasOur weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the nonprofit sectorFor more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....


On the George and Cynthia Mitchell Foundation blog, David Festa, vice president for ecosystems at the Environmental Defense Fund, suggests that if "we're going to meet growing needs for food and water,...[b]usiness as usual just isn’t going to cut it." But, adds Festa, there are reasons for optimism, as retailers, food companies, agribusinesses, farmers, and ranchers all rethink their roles in the food supply chain to do more with less while improving the ecosystems on which they, and all of us, depend.

Civil Rights

Interesting look by the New York Times  at police shootings in New York City in 2013, the last year of the Blo0mberg administration. According to an annual NYPD report released early in the week, shooting by officers, "whether unintentional or in the course of confrontations with suspects," fell to 40, from 45 in 2012, and were down from an eleven-year high of 61 in 2003.


Guest blogging on Nancy Schwartz' Getting Attention! blog, Allison Fine, author of the recently released Matterness: What Fearless Leaders Know About the Power and Promise of Social Media, suggests that the secret to succeess in today's social media-driven world is to communicate with people instead of at them.

Speaking of a "world gone social," what are the attributes of CEOs who "get" social media? Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt have the answers in the Harvard Business Review.


On the Markets for Good site, Beth Kanter shares ten ideas about how to find to data-nerd types to help enhance your organization's data collection and analysis capabilities.

Disaster Relief

ProPublica continues its critical series on the American Red Cross with a piece by Justin Elliott and Jesse Eisinger about the relief agency's reluctance, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, to work with Occupy Sandy, an offshoot of the grassroots Occupy Wall Street movement and one of the more effective groups working to provide relief to victims of the storm in New York and New Jersey.


We've all heard how a new wave of Silicon Valley startups is transforming the laissez-faire economic arrangements of the last half-century into a Sharing Economy calibrated for the hyper-connected exigencies of the twenty-first century. But maybe that transformation has less to do with the peculiar sociology of millennials than to the fact, as Donovan Ramsey writes on the Demos blog, that they're broke.


In the New York Times, Richard D. Kahlenberg and Halley Potter, fellows at The Century Foundation and co-authors of A Smarter Charter: Finding What Works for Charter Schools and Public Education, argue that, given charter schools outsize influence on the educational policy debate, it is imperative we consider "suspension and expulsion rates when we evaluate their successes, especially when it comes to standardized testing."


So if millennials are broke, who are the donors you should be worried about? Why, boomers, of course, writes Jeff Brooks on his Future Fundraising Now.

International Development

In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations earlier this week, World Bank Group president Jim Young Kim suggested that "there is no development outside the context of climate change. Investing in terracing on the hill slopes of Saint Lucia," said Kim,

will ensure success of investments in agricultural productivity as farmers are equipped to adapt to more intense rainfall. Ensuring schools are built to code in Nepal means that investments in educational attainment will be protected as school infrastructure is made more resilient to storms. Investing in mangrove restoration off the coast of Vietnam may prove cheaper in protecting the coast line than concrete and reinforced steel, and may boost earnings from richer fishing grounds. Each of these projects is a development project. Each would count as a climate investment. This is where long-term development finance and climate finance come together...

Humanosphere blogger Tom Paulson has a good piece on a new initiative to address the "chronic" philanthropic neglect of Latin America.

Humanosphere also has a good podcast interview (running time: 39:29) with Kaci Hickox, the nurse "who gained international fame not for her courageous work in the middle of the deadly Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone but for refusing to comply with the irrational attempt by politicians to put her into quarantine – even though she wasn’t sick." Hickox was one of the many selfless individuals recognized by TIME magazine earlier this week as its "Person of the Year" for their efforts to aid the afflicted and contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.


In a post on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog, James Canales, president of the Boston-based Barr Foundation, shares his thoughts about what it means, in 2014, to be a leadership funder.


Another great piece by Rick Cohen in the Nonprofit Quarterly, this one on the Kresge Foundation and its strategy for revitalizing Detroit. "With the Grand Bargain and the Detroit Future Plan, it is impossible to see Kresge's role — or for that matter, the actions of the collection of foundations in the process — as merely ordinary," writes Cohen. "Rather, the foundations (and big business players like [Roger] Penske and [Dan] Gilbert) were functioning as policy players, as in [Paul] Ylvisaker’s frame, defining the problems, setting goals, and allocating resources." And that, for Cohen, raises the question of whether there was a democratic process at work in the Detroit bankruptcy scenario, as well as when and whether democracy will return to the municipal planning process in that city.

And on her Social Velocity site, Nell Edgington chats with Albert Ruesga, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, about efforts to kickstart social innovation in the region after Hurricane Katrina, the unbalanced power dynamic in philanthropy, and what millennials can do to clean up the mess left by their boomer parents.

That's it for now. What have you been reading/watching/listening to? Drop us a line at [email protected] or via the comments box below.... 

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