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Weekend Link Roundup (January 10-11, 2015)

January 11, 2015

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


Good post on the GrantSpace blog by Carrie Miller, regional training specialist at Foundation Center-Cleveland, on the importance of communicating your impact to donors.

Higher Education

On The Hill's Congress Blog, Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, argues that higher education has been slow to catch up to the changing demographics of America's college-going population. By shifting the way we deliver college to help meet the needs of people for whom higher education had been out of reach, Merisotis writes, "we can create a higher education system that works better for everyone – students, educators and employers – and create a populace that is better poised for future success. [And that] is especially important, given that an estimated 65 percent of jobs will require some form of postsecondary education by 2020, and today less than 40 percent of Americans hold two- or four-year degrees...."

In a review for The Nation, the Century Foundation's Rich Kahlenberg finds much to admire in Lani Guinier's latest book, The Tyranny of the Meritocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America for The Nation. In the book, Guinier, a Yale Law School classmate of Bill Clinton's who had her fifteen minutes in the national spotlight after then-President Clinton nominated her to head the Justice Department's civil rights decision – only to withdraw the nomination under conservative pressure – argues that "the heavy reliance on standardized test scores in college admissions is deeply problematic on many levels." Kahlenberg deftly walks the reader through Guinier's many criticisms of the reigning "testocracy" and seems to agree that "by 'admitting a small opening for a select few students of color', affirmative action policies actually help buttress the larger unfair apparatus...."  A good review of a timely book.


Is the nonprofit sector really broken, as so many in the for-profit sector seem to think? That's the question Nell Edgington addresses in this very smart post on her Social Velocity blog.

Thinking about starting a nonprofit? The Nonprofit Law Blog's Gene Takagi shares a list of seven things to consider before taking the plunge.

Hats off to the Nonprofit With Balls blog and what may be the best list of resolutions for the nonprofit sector in 2015. We especially like #1 (we will pay our staff at or above market rate), #4 (we will provide feedback to funders, more honestly and more often), #6 (we will do stuff to advance equity beyond just holding hands and singing about it), and #10 (we will take it easy on ourselves and celebrate every victory).  

And be sure to check out Nonprofit Quarterly's biggest stories of 2014. Great roundup by Ruth, Rick, and the NPQ team.


On the Huffington Post's Impact blog, writer Steven Crandell looks at how "America's most powerful philanthropic couple," Bill and Melinda Gates, arrive at their philanthropic decisions.

Washington Post education writer and Answer Sheet blogger Valerie Strauss is much less sanguine about the Gateses' philanthropy than is Crandell. "There is indeed a big place for philanthropy in American society," she writes at the end of her post, "but there are consequences for replacing public policy with the dreams of the super-rich, not the least of which is that public institutions become testing grounds for philanthropic experimentation. Given that there are methods and approaches that have been proven to work already in education areas such as teacher evaluation, class size, etc., the public might want to start to ask why it allows itself to be used as a guinea pig...."  

Congrats to the David and Lucile Packard Foundation on its spiffy new website. We especially like the Stories of Progress section, which uses text and video to tell the stories of some of its grantees who are making a difference.

Social Enterprise

Nice preview from Good.Must.Grow, a "socially responsible marketing consultancy," of the "key trends, impact opportunities and critical challenges" for social enterprise in 2015. Trends explored include weighing the need to scale, defining the space, buying into local, and the rise of the hybrid. And in Fast Co.Exist, Good.Must.Grow founder Heath Shackleford weighs in with three things "conscious capitalism" must do to grow in the new year.

Social Media

Last but not least, the traveling Nonprofit Blog Carnival is back with a new call for submissions. The theme of this month's carnival, hosted by Beth Kanter, is "personal productivity online," which for Beth includes things like practicing and improving attention skills; using productivity tools, technology, and processes;  avoiding procrastination; mindfulness; stress reduction; and keeping inspired, motivated, and creative. Posts are due by the end of day on January 26, with the roundup to be posted on February 3. So, what are you waiting for? Get those posts in now! 

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

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