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Weekend Link Roundup (December 12-13, 2015)

December 13, 2015

Palm-tree-decorated-with-christmas-lightsOur weekly round up of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Corporate Sustainability

How much social and environmental impact constitutes "sustainable" performance and how should corporations measure it? In the Harvard Business Review, Martin Thomas and Mark McElroy look at what Ben & Jerry's is doing to answer that question — for itself and others.


Our Foundation Center colleague Mirielle Clifford reviews The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools?, Dale Russakoff's account of how a $100 million pledge from Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg aimed at turning around the public school system in Newark, New Jersey, "went very wrong, very quickly."


On the Huffington Post's Impact blog, Patricia Illingworth, a professor in the Department of Philosophy at the D'Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University, pushes back against the congratulatory post-#GivingTuesday buzz and suggests that in the remaining days of 2015, "due diligence and effective altruism ought to guide [donors'] choices."

Over at the Markets for Good site, Andrew Means, founder of Data Analysts for Social Good and The Impact Lab, has a different take on the effective altruism movement, which, he writes, "does a very good job at saying how we should allocate donations across organizations" but isn't as clear about the fact that "ideal allocations are based upon [our] preferences, and therefore if you have different preferences you’ll end up with a different ideal allocation."

Higher Education

Guest-blogging on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Impatient Optimists blog, Archie P. Cubarrubia, vice provost for institutional effectiveness at Miami Dade College, suggests that while institutions of higher education "are reaping the benefits of innovations in data analysis and predictive analytics...a critical component of a modernized national postsecondary infrastructure is still out of reach: a privacy-protected federal student unit record system."

With the cost of tuition soaring and more low-income students seeking a higher education, a growing proportion of college students may be going hungry. The Hechinger Report's Laura Colarusso has the story.


As she has on an annual basis since 2011, Nell Edgington considers a handful of trends that may affect the nonprofit sector in the coming year.


People are still talking about Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan's decision to give Facebook shares currently valued at $45 billion to a limited liability corporation called the Zuckergberg-Chan Initiative that will work to advance human potential and promote equality. In an open letter on his Nonprofit Chronicles blog, Marc Gunther urges the young couple to "walk the talk" and "[g]ive voice to the poor and the marginalized. Consult them at every step of your programming and collect their honest feedback. Democratize philanthropy, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the smart thing, too." And Christopher B. Nelson, a Forbes contributor, explains why critics of the LLC structure chosen by the couple are wrong.

Uber-millennial Zuckerberg "not only gives millennials an example to live by, he has given them a platform for advocacy" and is "leading the way towards more family-friendly workplaces." Forbes contributor Ashley Stahl explains.

Following up with additional reflections on an op-ed piece he wrote for the Chronicle of Philanthropy on the Zuckerberg-Chan announcement, Ben Soskis uses the heated debate around John D. Rockefeller's controversial 1910 request for a federal charter for his new foundation as a lens through which to consider "the dangers big philanthropy poses to a democracy [vs.] its promise to achieve real, lasting social good."

Our Foundation Center colleague Stephen Payne reviews Linsey McGoey's No Such Thing as a Free Gift: The Gates Foundation and the Price of Philanthropy.

And, in the Fall 2015 issue of Philanthropy magazine, Joanne Florino, senior vice president for public policy at the Philanthropy Roundtable, looks at how foundations sunset and shares some of the reasons it is becoming more popular.

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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