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Weekend Link Roundup (April 25-26, 2015)

April 26, 2015

Ss-150425-nepal-earthquake-09Our weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Disaster Relief

In the aftermath of a major natural disaster like the powerful earthquake that struck Nepal yesterday, early assistance -- in the form of money -- is the best and most effective kind of assistance. On her Nonprofit Charitable Orgs blog, Joanne Fritz shares other ways to help victims of a natural disaster.

Nearly $10 billion in relief and reconstruction aid was committed to Haiti after the devastating January 2010 earthquake in that impoverished country. Where did it all go? VICE on HBO Correspondent Vikram Gandhi reports.


Has the education reform movement peaked? According to em>New York Times columnist Nick Kristof, "The zillionaires [who have funded the movement] are bruised. The idealists are dispirited. The number of young people applying for Teach for America, after 15 years of growth, has dropped for the last two years. The Common Core curriculum is now an orphan, with politicians vigorously denying paternity." Which is why, says Kristof, it might be time to "refocus some reformist passions on early childhood."


On the Center for Effective Philanthropy blog, Johanna Morariu, director of the Innovation Network, shares five grantmaker and nonprofit practices "that undermine or limit the ability of nonprofit organizations to fully engage in evaluation."


What is social fundraising? Liz Ragland, senior content and marketing associate at Network for Good, explains.

Nonprofit With Balls blogger and Game of Thrones fan Vu Le has some issues with the donor-centric model of fundraising. "When [it's] done right," he writes, "it’s cool; when it’s done wrong, we sound like the used car salesmen of justice...."


Foundations -- and nonprofits -- "need to bring a sharper focus to performance. They've known that for years," writes Marc Gunther on his Nonprofit Chronicles blog. "That’s a polite way to say it," but, he adds,

foundations need to do more than provide support for performance assessment. They need to insist that nonprofits measure their impact. Teachers didn't ask students if they wanted to take tests; they required them.

Foundations should do the same. Politely, of course.


Gary Hamel's recap in the Harvard Business Review of an address by Pope Francis to the leaders of the Roman Curia is a couple of weeks old, but the wisdom in it is, well, timeless.


In a guest post on Beth Kanter's blog, Joan Garry, the "Dear Abby" of nonprofit leadership, argues that two trends, the rapid growth of the nonprofit sector and the retirement, in ever-greater numbers, of boomer CEOs, "lead...to one inescapable conclusion. We need a new generation of leaders...."


Couldn't make it to the Council on Foundation's annual conference in San Francisco? No worries. You can watch CoF president Vikki Spruill's opening remarks here.

In Forbes, CauseWired founder Tom Watson suggests that the idea "the Clinton Foundation has been less than forthcoming in its disclosure of data is preposterous, unfair, and unworthy of anyone interested in the truth...."

The Chronicle of Philanthropy's Megan O'Neil reports on efforts by thousands of nonprofits and foundations to galvanize the attention of high-ranking leaders and ordinary citizens around the SDGs -- the "successors to the eight millennium-development goals, or MDGs, set by the UN in 2000."

"[I]n the spirit of improving together," the Walton Family Foundation's Karen Minkel and Marc Holley share a story on the Philanthropy Roundtable blog about how the foundation "evaluated a failed strategy and used the findings and input from community leaders to alter [its] investments in the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta." What did the foundation learn? For starters, they write, the idea

that one organization and one plan could succeed where both the private and public sectors have failed was perhaps too audacious. At the very least, our theory of change was wrong. We know how to fund meaningful particular projects in the Delta. But, like others who've embarked on comprehensive community change efforts, we haven't discovered the way to help transform an entire community....

UK-based consultant Jake Hayman, founder of Future First, shares twenty things that "some (not all) foundations do some (not all) of the time that I don't think they should do."

Social Entrepreneurship

"[E]very single one of us has something unique and...important to contribute to the larger world, writes Nell Edgington on her Social Velocity blog. "It could be a work of literature, a portfolio of photographs, a game-changing idea. The human race does not possess just a handful of geniuses,... rather every human possesses genius within him. Sometimes that genius is artistic, sometimes it’s political, sometimes it’s entrepreneurial, or it may be something completely different. It is up to each of us to figure out what our genius is and put in the tireless effort...to unearth and [share it]...."

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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  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."

    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

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