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Weekend Link Roundup (November 14-15, 2015)

November 15, 2015

Sydney-tricolorOur weekly round up of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Climate Change

More bad news on the climate change front this week, as the World Meteorological Organization reported that average levels of carbon dioxide exceeded 400 parts per million in the early months of 2015, a rise of 43 percent over pre-industrial levels. The Washington Post's Joby Warrick has the details.

Will environmental limits, including limits on the climate system, slow or put an end to economic growth? Not necessarily. Cameron Hepburn, professor of environmental economics at the University of Oxford, explains.

Corporate Philanthropy

As part of its Tech Titans: Community Citizens?, Triple Pundit has a compelling, in-depth look at homelessness in Silicon Valley by Sherrell Dorsey, a  social entrepreneur and advocate for environmental, social, and economic equity in underserved communities.


The path to college completion for low-income students is a marathon, not a sprint, writes Todd Penner, team lead for the College Preparation & Completion portfolio at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and one of the most important things we can do to help them is to look at each student as a whole, understand the complexities of his/her life, and be thoughtful about the type of support we offer.


During this season of giving, Feeding America suggests that you think about making a donation to one of the hundred and ninety-nine foodbanks in its nationwide network.

"More than $50 billion in charitable assets now course through our country’s economy via donor-advised funds (DAFs) as a result of changes wrought by the [Tax Reform Act of 1969]," writes Lila Corwin Berman in Forward magazine. And in "no small part due to the acumen and persistence of a mid-century Jewish tax lawyer, those dollars function quite differently from other charitable resources...."

How much are baby boomers expected to give to charity over the next two decades? According to a new analysis conducted by Merrill Lynch, the answer to that question is $8 trillion — part of the $59 trillion that boomers are likely to transfer to younger generations over the same period. Gayle Nelson, a development consultant, attorney, and blogger, reports for NPQ.


On the Center for Effective Philanthropy blog, Crystal Hayling, a former CEO of the Blue Shield California Foundation and current member of the CEP board, argues that picking individual grantees is probably not the best use of foundation board members' time.


On the New York Times' Dealbook blog, Kenneth A. Dodge, the William McDougall Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University, suggests that social impact bonds, the "most intriguing innovation of the century in public financing of social services," are at risk of being "flushed down the drain."

International Affairs/Development

Samar Muhareb, co-founder and director of Arab Renaissance for Democracy & Development–Legal Aid, an Open Society Foundations grantee, examines the "slow-motion" legal disaster unfolding within the Syrian refugee crisis.

Tove Danovich, a journalist based in New York City, reports that the UN has launched a crowdfunding mobile app called Share the Meal that allows anyone with an iOS or Android-enabled smartphone to join the fight against global hunger.

On the Transformations, blog, Keston K. Perry, a Ph.D. candidate in international development at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, argues that the current enthusiasm for public-private partnerships "seems to be rooted more in ideology and profit seeking than in logic or concrete achievements on the ground...."

Bloomberg Philanthropies' Verna Eggleston explains on HuffPo's Impact blog why the organization has joined with the Brussels-based King Baudoin Foundation and Foundation Center to launch Equal Footing, a data-driven Web portal that makes it easy for NGOs working in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi to see what types of development projects are under way, what solutions have had a measurable impact, and what needs are currently underserved.

Only 1 percent of all official aid goes directly to the global south. And published research suggests that private foundations also channel the majority of their funding through "fundermediaries" based in the global north. Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, secretary-general of Civicus, a global civil society alliance, spoke with donors to find out why.

On the Humansophere blog, Tom Murphy, citing a report and study released by the UN and World Bank, reports that only nine countries met the Millennium Development Goal of cutting maternal deaths by 75 percent between 1990 and 2015 – and that the problem is concentrated in developing countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa.

And Zia Khan, vice president for initiatives and strategy at the Rockefeller Foundation, considers one of the recently announced Sustainable Development Goals and tries to imagine what the desired outputs associated with the goal might look like had they been developed by a smallholder farmer instead of a committee of global development experts.


Billionaire entertainment mogul David Geffen's $100 million gift to UCLA to "establish a private middle and high school on the Westwood campus partly for the children of faculty and staff" is philanthropy at its "absolute worst," writes Vox's Dylan Matthews. Gawker's Hamilton Nolan agrees.

In the Nonprofit Quarterly, Pablo Eisenberg looks askance at the recent awarding of two grants, each for a million dollars, to organizations that are part of the so-called philanthropic infrastructure — and sparks a lively conversation in the comments section. (Update: CEP president Phil Buchanan and GEO board chair Mae Hong respond.)

And Nell Edgington has an excellent Q&A with Ben Soskis, Stanley Katz, and Maribel Morey, the co-founders and editors of the HistPhil blog. It's well worth your time!

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

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