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Weekend Link Roundup (August 22-23, 2015)

August 23, 2015

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

Climate Change

The student-led movement aimed at getting universities to divest their endowments of investments in the fossil fuel industry is going global, writes Rosie Spinks, and financial types on Wall Street and in London's City district are starting to pay attention.

Community Improvement/Development

The folks at Daily Detroit have posted a good Q&A with Rip Rapson, president and CEO of the Kresge Foundation, which has played an important role in many of the major and minor developments in Detroit over the last five years or so.


Richard Marker explains how the well-known "rule of three" in the world of strategy, along with timely advice from colleagues and friends, made him realize how much he had "siloed" his own consulting practice.

Corporate Social Responsibility

With the "economic system that won the great ideological battle of the 20th century...facing a renewed challenge in the 21st," Fortune editor Alan Murray introduces the magazine's first-ever Change the World list, ten companies that are "doing well by doing good."

"For decades many companies ignored the social and environmental consequences of their activities. They saw their main responsibility as delivering returns to shareholders and viewed their obligations to society narrowly, as 'giving back' through philanthropy," write ;Michael E. Porter, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Mark R. Kramer, a co-founder (with Porter) of FSG, a nonprofit social-impact consulting firm, in conjunction with the publication of Fortune's Change the World list. But what's emerging today, they add,

is something more fundamental — something we call creating shared value. Large companies are addressing big social problems as a core part of their strategy. They are disproving the flawed and simplistic notion that business and society are implacable opponents locked in a zero-sum game. Instead, they are demonstrating the radical idea that companies that tackle social problems through a profitable business model offer new hope for innovative and scalable solutions....

On Forbes, Ryan Scott says the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum (SIGEF), to be held in Geneva in October, is further proof that companies increasingly recognize "the essential role they must play in the march toward social change. Checkbook philanthropy isn't enough to impact communities or benefit a company's culture," Scott adds; "rather, businesses are seeing the positive results that happen when they engage all aspects of their mission and functions around corporate social responsibility.


In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, Andrea Gabor, a professor of business journalism at the City University of New York, suggests that the so-called New Orleans miracle, the dominant ed reform narrative post-Katrina, is more myth than reality.


To log or not to log, that is the question. The answer, however, isn't always a simple "yes" or "no," writes Heather Tallis, acting chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy.


Hey, funders, here a dozen things you do (or can do) that make (or will make) your grantees very happy, courtesy of Vu Lee (the ED known as Nonprofit With Balls).

Higher Education

Last year, Yale University paid the private equity fund managers hired to invest its money $480 million and earmarked only $170 million for tuition assistance, fellowships, and prizes. Not only is that crazy, it highlights "the symbiotic relationship between university endowments and the world of hedge funds and private equity funds," writes Victor Fleischer, a professor of law at the University of San Diego, in the New York Times. 


On Nell Edgington's Social Velocity blog, Nonprofit Finance Fund CEO Antony Bugg-Levine suggests that "one of the best measures of organizational sustainability is not stability but adaptive capacity, the ability to act as circumstances require and opportunities allow. A truly sustainable enterprise, Bugg-Levine writes, "must have the capacity to nimbly respond to external conditions. A strong balance sheet must allow for flexibility...." 


Are you, as a certain billionaire running for president might say, "really, really rich" but feeling guilty about it? Do you buy into the idea that your personal philanthropy and generosity excuses you from having to worry about inequality and justice? Get over it, writes Bloomberg View columnist Clive Crook. "The mistake [people make]," he adds,

is to see capitalism as morally tainted, as opposed to just morally incomplete. Social justice requires far more than a system of production and exchange. Moral questions about opportunity, inequality and what we owe each other as citizens and inhabitants of the same planet arise. That's what politics is for. Capitalism as such has no good answers -- but, far from being part of the problem, it's the indispensable condition for finding them....

Social Media

Developing "an effective nonprofit content strategy is a process of continuous improvement," writes Beth Kanter on her blog. "It starts with ideas and brainstorming...[t]hen you have [to] get organized, really organized. Not only do you need to pre-plan your content using an editorial calendar but [you need to] coordinate and assign tasks and organize your content assets and curation. And then there is the task of putting fingers to keyboard and creating the content as well as curating. And on a regular basis, measure, learn, and improve what you are doing...."

That's it for this week. What have you been reading/watching/listening to? Drop us a line at mfn@foundationcenter.org or via the comments section below...

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