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Weekend Link Roundup (February 7-8, 2015)

February 08, 2015

Winter-wonderland-tumblr-3Our weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sectorFor more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Climate Change

The Guardian's Damian Carrington reports that Norway's Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), the richest sovereign wealth fund in the world, with assets totaling more than $850 billion, dumped 32 coal-mining companies from its portfolio in 2014. "Our risk-based approach means that we exit sectors and areas where we see elevated levels of risk to our investments in the long term," said Marthe Skaar, spokesperson for GPFG, which had had $40 billion invested in fossil fuel companies. "Companies with particularly high greenhouse gas emissions may be exposed to risk from regulatory or other changes leading to a fall in demand."

Communications/Marketing

In the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Andrew Sherry, vice president of communications for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, argues that, in the age of the Internet, "communications is not just an opportunity for nonprofits; it's a necessity. Whether we're fundraising or trying to influence policy," he continues,

how we reach the right person with the right message has changed profoundly. Now it can take far more to figure out who the right people are, what channels to reach or influence them through, and how to hear them. It’s one thing to land a grant to open a new art space; it’s another to convince city hall that the community wants it, and still another to build a community to support it....

Education

It is troubling and a very big deal, writes Ben Hecht, president and CEO of Living Cities, that a majority of U.S. public school children today live in poverty and are eligible for a free or reduced price lunch. 

Grantmaking

On the Glasspockets Transparency Talk blog, Jessica Bearman (aka "Dr. Streamline) shares six things foundations can do to improve the diversity and inclusion of their grantmaking.

Impact/Effectiveness

In a LinkedIn post, Peter York, founder and CEO at Algorhythm, a Philadelphia-based software company that is working to "democratize" impact measurement, asks: Who really has access to the power of impact measurement? And is there more we can do to make it available to everyone, including the beneficiary?

Nonprofits

On her Social Velocity blog, Nell Edgington argues that nonprofits need to "think different" and "show funders that the current flow of money to social change efforts is not sufficient or efficient. If we truly want solutions to our social challenges," Edgington adds, "we must create an effective financial market for those solutions."

Do nonprofits have the data talent they need to be effective? Not really, writes Andrew Means on the Markets for Good blog — and attracting that kind of talent "is going to be hard, really hard." 

Beth Kanter has created a List.ly of the more than two dozen submissions to the January Nonprofit Blog Carnival, which focused on personal productivity tips for nonprofit professionals.

Philanthropy

Stuart Comstock-Gay, president of the Vermont Community Foundation, has some nice words for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gates himself, who in a recent speech about the limits of philanthropy not only "acknowledge[d] the...[f]oundation's failures (among its successes), [but] also emphasized what they are doing about it: learning from their work."

David Callahan, founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy, argues that the age of big foundations is coming to an end. And that will be "a good thing," he adds.

The lean funders of tomorrow will be grantmaking in a way that truly meets the needs of nonprofits, which have been begging from time immemorial for large general support grants and multi-year funding.

But make no mistake: The world of nonprofits will face disruption, too, since lean funders are often also mean funders, in the sense that they don't sprinkle their money around to ensure that all mouths stay fed....

In Forbes, Scott Petinga, a recent semi-finalist for Entrepreneur Magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year award, explains what entrepreneurs can do to become "socialpreneurs" and, in the process, help shift the "philanthropy paradigm." 

Alliance magazine editor Caroline Hartnell has a nice interview with Ridgway White, who is taking over as president of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation from his father, Bill White, who will remain actively involved in the foundation as chairman and CEO. 

And after a near-death experience in December, Chris Hughes' new New Republic is back in business and seemingly determined to prove that, no matter how vertically integrated it becomes, it will continue to publish longform pieces like Inga Saffron's critical look at "how big money and business elites are warping the way America's urban parks are funded."

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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