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Weekend Link Roundup (February 28-March 1, 2015)

March 01, 2015

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


On Medium, Dan Gillmor, the long-time technology writer for the San Jose Mercury News, argues that governments and powerful tech companies such as Google, Apple and Microsoft are creating "choke points" on the Internet and "using those choke points to destroy our privacy, limit our freedom of expression, and lock down culture and commerce. Too often," Gillmor adds, "we give them our permission — trading liberty for convenience — but a lot of this is being done without our knowledge, much less permission...."


In an op-ed for the Minn Post, progressive activist and education blogger Lynnell Mickelsen suggests that Minneapolis could change its schools to work better for kids of color, but it "would involve asking mostly white middle-class administrators, teachers and employees to change their work lives — i.e. their schedules, assignments, job locations and even pay — around the needs, comfort and convenience of low-income people of color and their children." Be sure to check out the comments thread.


Pamela Yip, a business columnist for the Dallas Morning News, reports on a recent presentation by Sharna Goldseker, managing director of 21/64, a New York consulting firm, in which Goldseker touched on several factors that distinguish younger donors from their parents and grandparents.

Global Health

In a podcast on the Humanosphere blog, Gilles van Cutsem, a physician and medical director for Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, says the Ebola crisis in West Africa is far from over.

Higher Education

As this well-thought-out data visualization from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shows, America’s postsecondary student population is more diverse than ever.


Idealware, a nonprofit that works to help other nonprofits make smart technology decisions, in partnership with the Markets for Good team, has launched an effort to identify social sector initiatives that collect and share their program results data, a term that includes "any measurement of a program, including outcomes, outputs, impact, evaluation, performance management, or other similar terms."

The Leap of Reason team at Venture Philanthropy Partners has announced the launch of The Performance Imperative campaign with a downloadable document of the same name that lays out the "seven habits of highly effective organizations." Beth Kanter shares more of the details in a post on her blog.


On the GiveWell site, Holden Karnofsky takes a closer look at the Sandler Foundation, which was established in 1991 by Herb and Marion Sandler, the former co-CEOs of Golden West Financial Corp. According to Karnofsky, the foundation "appears to have a strong track record despite not following the traditional 'program officer' model" and is "something of a proof of concept [for GiveWell itself] that high-impact grants can come from opportunistic generalists." The foundation also was the subject of an admiring piece by Inside Philanthropy's David Callahan in January that, like Karnofsky's post, made no mention of the lending practices of World Savings Bank, an Oakland-based mortgage lender operated by the Sandlers that was bought by Wachovia Corporation before that bank collapsed in the 2008 financial crisis.

In Alliance magazine, Katelyn Cioffi, a principal at Aleron, a London-based consulting firm, suggests that there are two areas in which greater rigor could improve philanthropic decision-making: deciding which cause to support, and deciding how best to tackle the problem.

Social Media

How much time should your organization expect to spend on its social media fundraising efforts? Nonprofit Tech for Good's Heather Mansfield breaks it down for you.

In a letter to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Sunlight Foundation president Chris Gates and Matt Leighninger, executive director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, argue that contrary to recent research from Independent Sector which suggests that all online engagement is "thin," "'thick' forms of engagement — situations in which large numbers of people work intensively to learn, decide, and act together — are also increasing." The default, they add, may still be set "to a traditional, and we would say paternalistic, way of working," but

new institutions are being born every day, and others are adapting quickly to the new realities of activism, participation, and engagement. These are the institutions that will prosper in this new era by providing a range of ways, both online and in person, for people to engage with one another to affect the changes they desire....


On the Transparency Talk blog, Janet Camarena, director of the Foundation Center's San Francisco offices, talks with Gabi Fitz, director of knowledge management initiatives at IssueLab, a recent Fund for Shared Insight grantee, about IssueLab efforts in 2015 to enable greater openness and sharing of knowledge produced and funded by foundations.

And in an op-ed in the Chronicle, Brian Mittendorf, a professor of accounting at Ohio State University’s Fisher School of Business, holds up Burning Man, the nonprofit behind the annual bohemian gathering/art happening in the Nevada desert, as an "exemplar of financial transparency."

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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