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Weekend Link Roundup (April 4-5, 2015)

April 05, 2015

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

Community Improvement/Development

"[T]he stories of individuals, communities and organizations who are working to help... transform [Detroit] street by street — in small and much larger ways — are often overlooked," writes Frances Kunreuther, co-director of the Building Movement Project, on the Transformations blog. In contrast, Detroiters who are working at the neighborhood level "know that the real promise of urban transformation comes not from the outside in, but from the inside out — building a new city from the bottom up."


The debate in Congress over reauthorization of "No Child Left Behind," former President George W. Bush's signature education initiative, is a useful reminder, writes Diane Ravitch in the New York Review of Books, that "[p]overty is the major obstacle to equal education. To overcome that obstacle requires not only investing greater resources in the education of poor children, but creating economic opportunity and jobs for their parents."


In the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Michael Anft reports on research which shows "the charity world lacks a basic understanding of how donors' brains work, how would-be donors behave in certain situations, and what incentives can successfully woo them."

NPR reports that the dramatic shift in fundraising engendered by social media -- think Movember, the Ice Bucket Challenge, and Giving Tuesday -- is putting pressure on large national nonprofits to rethink their walk-related events.

Higher Education

To hear politicians tell it, "liberal education is irrelevant, and technical training...is the only way...to ensure that Americans survive in an age defined by technology and shaped by global competition," writes Fareed Zakaria in the Washington Post. "This dismissal of broad-based learning," he adds,

comes from a fundamental misreading of the facts — and puts America on a dangerously narrow path for the future. The United States has led the world in economic dynamism, innovation and entrepreneurship thanks to exactly the kind of teaching we are now told to defenestrate. A broad general education helps foster critical thinking and creativity. Exposure to a variety of fields produces synergy and cross fertilization. Yes, science and technology are crucial components of this education, but so are English and philosophy....

International Affairs/Development

Writing on the Devex blog, Molly Anders says that international development organizations hoping to appeal to next-gen philanthropists need to seek out approaches that engage them experientially as both do-gooders and entrepreneurs.


Nonprofit Chronicles blogger Marc Gunter looks at KaBoom! founder Darell Hammond's efforts "to take the organization to the next level – not by constructing more playgrounds, but by making play available to millions more kids."

The March Nonprofit Blog Carnival features posts on the best strategies for nonprofits to "break through the noise" from Dennis Fischman, Lori Halley, Lori Jacobwith, Beth Kanter, Marc Pitman, Jenna Quint, Farra Trompeter, and others.

What are the key drivers of a great nonprofit workplace? The Nonprofit Times breaks it down.


"From our perspective," write the Ford Foundation's Darren Walker and Alfred Ironside in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, "there are three things every foundation can do more of, locally or globally, when it comes to strategic communications": 1) steward their time strategically; 2) be comfortable when taking risks; and 3) be authentic.

Social Entrepreneurship

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship has announced its Social Entrepreneurs of the Year for 2015, thirty-one individuals from twenty-five countries working to advance innovative solutions to a variety of social and environmental problems.

Women and Girls

Data tells us that "in all of human history, there has never been a better time to be born female," Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes on the UN Women site. But the recent release of the Full Participation report (52 pages, PDF) by the Gates and Clinton foundations is a reminder that "[t]here are still many women and girls who are falling through the cracks, especially in the world's poorest places. "

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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