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Weekend Link Roundup (January 9-10, 2016)

January 10, 2016

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

Children and Youth

In an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press, Kresge Foundation president Rip Rapson explains why it  is imperative to rebuild the city's early childhood ecosystem and the steps the foundation is taking to that end.


According to the folks at Top Nonprofits, a good logo should be aesthetically pleasing, distinctive, memorable, timeless, scalable, simple enough for use in multiple mediums, and effective in communicating the qualities of your organization's brand. Sort of like these fifty logos.

What can nonprofits learn from public radio about storytelling? With the help of some podcast snippets, Aquifer Media's Will Coley explains.

Nice post by Ebola Deeply managing editor Kate Thomas illustrating how first-hand narratives can add meaning to hard data.

The Virginia Quarterly Review, a 91-year-old literary magazine published at the University of Virginia, is planning a year-long "experiment" on Instagram in 2016 featuring a series of black-and-white photographs and accompanying text. "We're improvising as we go along," VQR deputy editor Paul Reyes told Neiman Lab's Shan Wang. “The potential lies in how Instagram, as a platform, shapes content. Part of this is determined by what people want to write about, what they're sick of reading about, and how they might be motivated to push the limits of what can be done on this platform." 

On her Getting Attention! blog, Nancy Schwartz shares four reasons why your nonprofit needs to identify and launch a team of staff messengers ASAP.


To kick off 2016, three of last year's Goldman Environmental Prize recipients — Howard Wood (2015, Scotland) of the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST), Jean Wiener (2015, Haiti) of the Foundation for the Protection of Marine Biodiversity (FoProBiM) and Phyllis Omido (2015, Kenya) of the Center for Justice Governance & Environmental Action (CJGEA) — share their hopes for the new year.

Gun Violence

On Medium, Joyce Foundation president Ellen Alberding commends the series of executive actions to reduce gun deaths in America announced by President Obama on January 5 — and the president's use of research funded by the Joyce Foundation to support those actions. And here's a good piece by the Washington Post's Josh Lederman explaining the president's plan.

International Affairs/Development

"The funding arena has become increasingly narrow, focused on issues like health or education. Very few [foundations] focus on voice, power or challenging the mainstream," writes Deborah Doane, a former director of the World Development Movement, in a post for the Guardian's Global Professional Development Network. "Anyone who has filled out long funding application forms, struggling to come up with short-term targets and outcomes," Doane continues,

will have felt the limits of the donor relationship. Indeed, most foundations are now more focused on 'value for money' than ever before, in spite of the fact that development is complex and attribution for success can't usually be ascribed to any one intervention.

Coupled with the trend toward governments limiting the ability of charities or grassroots organizations to campaign in many parts of the world – from India to China, and increasingly on western shores – development NGOs, enabled by the funding community, are at risk of becoming little more than contract agencies who deliver basic public services while further entrenching a system of inequality and divisions. If governments are stripping citizens' rights, if communities are divided, if resources are extracted only to benefit the wealthy elite, then we will be aiding and abetting the status quo, leading to a shrinking and less vibrant civil society in the long run. And a less vibrant and agile civil society signals a reduction in long-term development for the many....


On his Nonprofit Chronicles blog, Marc Gunther (who recently announced that, after twenty years as business reporter, he's leaving his gig at the Guardian to write about philanthropy full time) chats with Michael Thatcher, the new chief executive of nonprofit rating site Charity Navigator.

Interesting list of predictions for the nonprofit sector in 2016 (and beyond) from the Nonprofit Law Blog's Gene Takagi. 


As we look ahead to a new year, Center for Effective Philanthropy president Phil Buchanan asks a simple but profound question: If we blame philanthropy for the progress that hasn't been made on social and environmental problems, shouldn't we also give it some credit for the progress we have made? 

In the last article he wrote for the Nonprofit Quarterly before his sudden death in November, Rick Cohen took a long and hard look at whether the so-called "grand bargain" can revive Detroit. As always, a great read from Rick.

On the Aspen Idea blog, Jon Brilliant, co-founder and chief financial officer of BigFootmedical.com, argues that the recently announced Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — the $45 billion commitment by the Facebook co-founder and his wife to solve some of society's most pressing issues "by looking to the nonprofit sector to identify the problems then using the for-profit sector to achieve solutions — is sure to disrupt the nonprofit sector. And that's a good thing.

Social Entrepreneurship

On Tuesday, the Chronicle of Philanthropy released  its "40 Under 40" list of outstanding young social change leaders. On Friday, Forbes' debuted its own list of "30 Under 30" — thirty social entrepreneurs under the age of 30 who are "leveraging business tools to solve the world's problems." Congrats to all the nominees!

"Philanthropy and the nonprofit sector can serve as foundational pillars of a bridge to the tomorrow envisioned by many of the leaders selected by the Chronicle," writes Nat Chioke Williams, executive director of the Hill-Snowdon Foundation, on the NCRP blog, but "it will require a fundamental reorientation of our priorities and approach in at least two areas": 1) prioritizing  social, racial, and economic justice and equity as our primary purpose; and 2) developing a truly responsive and collaborative process that listens to, follows the lead of, and builds authentic partnerships with those who are most affected by the issues we try to address through our grantmaking.


And on the Transparency Talk blog, Janet Camarena, director of transparency initiatives here at Foundation Center, shares her ten philanthropic transparency highlights from the year just passed.

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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Posted by Jane  |   January 10, 2016 at 05:30 PM

Huffington Post published an article by Steve McLaughlin, who works at Blackbaud, where he discussed the 450 email subject lines he received over the holidays.

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