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Weekend Link Roundup (March 19-20, 2016)

March 20, 2016

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

African Americans

In the New Yorker, Jelani Cobb considers the ongoing debate surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.


With its combination of "engaging" visuals and "data-driven interactivity," data visualization could be the answer to opaque spreadsheets and dry, little-noticed statistics. Or not. The challenge, writes Jake Porway on the Markets for Good site, "is that data visualization is not an end-goal...[i]t is often the final step in a long manufacturing chain along which data is poked, prodded, and molded to get to that pretty graph.  Ignoring that process is at best misinformed, and at worst destructive."  

What makes data "clean" and why does it matter? Jenny Walton, a customer advocate at donor relationship software company Bloomerang, explains.


It's a familiar story. Walmart, the world's largest retailer, moves into a small town or suburban community and "disrupts" its local competitors out of business. Less familiar is the story about Walmart, increasingly under threat from online competitors, leaving a town or community -- and taking its low-paying jobs along with it. A business story, yes. But as Jeff Bryant, director of the Education Opportunity Network, explains on Valerie Strauss' Answer Sheet blog, it's also a story about closed or underfunded public schools.

Can privately funded charter schools and district schools co-located in the same building learn to live together in a way that benefits kids and teachers from both schools equally? The folks at the Walmart Foundation, a major funder of charter schools, highlight one promising example from Los Angeles.


Not New York. Not San Francisco. The U.S. city with the widest income disparity is Boston, where nearly half of residents make less than $35,000 a year and, for most folks,  inflation-adjusted incomes haven't risen in three decades. That stark reality is one of the findings contained in a new study by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, a report that "portrays a local economy sharply divided by race, class, and education, with shrinking opportunities for those trying to climb the economic ladder." The Boston Globe's Katie Johnston reports.

International Affairs/Development

The United Nations is a critical global institution and is "uniquely placed" to address challenges such as climate change, terrorism, and mounting refugee flows , but, writes longtime UN official Anthony Banbury, it is failing, badly, in its mission.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has announced the three winners of its second annual  DAC Award for Taking Development to Scale. Asked what he felt distinguished this year’s winners from the more than ten thousand applicants, OECD deputy secretary-general Douglas Frantz said that all of the awardees were able to demonstrate the ability to partner with local government. Molly Anders reports for Devex.


Executive transitions are hard. Executive transitions involving the founder of an organization are even harder. In a new post on his Nonprofit Chronicles blog, Marc Gunther talks with KaBOOM!'s James Siegal and Ron Lumbra about how you follow Darrell Hammond.

Congratulations to NWB blogger Vu Le on the birth of his first child, Kiet Thomas Prinzing Le. In less than a week as a new father, Vu has already figured out that having a baby is like getting a highly-restricted grant multiyear grant. It's as if, he writes, someone said: "Congratulations, our foundation has decided to award you a million each year for 18 years. But every two hours, day or night, you have to get up and fill out an online survey while we scream at you in a high pitched voice." Miraculously, Le also found time to ponder and share some lessons that nonprofits can learn from newborns.


In defense of philanthrocapitalsm generally and Mark Zuckerberg more specifically, Mark Hendrickson, a Forbes contributor, writes: "[N]on-profits think they can help the world more effectively than the for-profits. These critics are blind to history. Investments of capital, not philanthropy or foreign aid, propelled the economic development that replaced widespread poverty with widespread affluence in the U.S. and other developed countries."

"Social movements are commonly set in motion by bold leaders and popular momentum but may not achieve progress without significant contributions from donor advocates making big bets," writes the Bridgespan Group's William Foster in Forbes. Indeed, research by Bridgespan shows that more than 70 percent of the social movements Foster and his colleagues studied received at least one pivotal big bet (i.e., a gift of $10 million or more).

In the Canadian Jewish News, Janice Arnold looks at the "carefully choreographed" final months of the Andrea & Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, the New York City-based philanthropy estabblished by Canadian business legend Charles Bronfman and his late wife, Andrea, some three decades ago.

Social Change

How does social progress happen in a polarized moment like our own? Incrementally? Or, as Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, would have us believe, in a burst of collective enthusiasm and action? On the Transformation blog  and in their new book,  This Is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century,  Mark Engler, a writer based in Philadelphia, and Paul Engler, co-founder of Momentum Training, argue that social change is seldom either "as incremental or predictable as many insiders suggest. Every once in a while, an outburst of resistance seems to break open a world of possibility, creating unforeseen opportunities for transformation."

Social Media

Are nonprofits wasting too much time on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? In response to a piece by Matt Collins, a director at a London-based digital marketing agency,  that suggests as much, Lauren Karch, a Web marketing professional and copywriter, argues in the Nonprofit Quarterly that, to be effective, social media must be integrated a broader, holistic digital marketing strategy.

That's it for now. 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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