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Weekend Link Roundup (April 2-3, 2016)

April 03, 2016

Baseball_3Our weekly round up of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....


StudentsFirst, the education reform organization started by controversial former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, is being merged into education advocacy organization 50Can. "Rhee's group launched on Oprah Winfrey's talk show in 2010, with the goal of raising $1 billion dollars in its first year," writes Joy Resmovits in the Washington Post. "The goal was then revised to $1 billion over five years; in its first year, it brought in only $7.6 million."  Rhee stepped down as CEO of the organization in 2014, after which it closed a number of state chapters, downsized its staff, and lowered its profile.


Two-thirds of the environmentalists who have died violently since 2002 were activists in Latin America. And for the five years ending in 2014, more than 450 were killed -- over half of them in Honduras and Brazil. Darryl Fears reports for the Washington Post.

On March 15, the World Health Organization released the second edition of a report on the health challenges that arise from living and working in unhealthy environments. The UN Foundation's Analise McNicholl shares five takeaways from the  report. 

A recent state task force report called the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, an "environmental justice." But what does that mean -- and what can we do to ensure that instances of similar injustice are eliminated? Brentin Mock examines those questions for The Atlantic's City Labs portal.

Higher Education

Phase-one results from College Count$, a joint research project established in April 2015 by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation and Annie E. Casey Foundation, demonstrate that low-income students who've participated in the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) earn associate degrees or technical certificates at more than double the rate of the general community college population in the state and experience a boost in wages. College Count$ itself currently is seeking funding for the next phase of research to measure the return on investment (ROI) to the state generated as a result of expanded employment, increased tax revenues, and a decline in the need for public assistance. 


On the Case Foundation blog,  Johnathan M. Holifield, co-founder of ScaleUp Partners LLC, suggests that because entrepreneurship is fueled by more than science, it's time incorporate an "A," for art, into the national STEM agenda. According to Holifield, "STEAM embraces all of the nation's critical STEM imperatives, while complementing and enhancing them in at least four important ways. [It] addresses employers; need to attract and retain creative, problem-solving workers; introduces market applications and entrepreneurship opportunities for STEM-based intellectual property (IP);  connects deep and diverse sources of untapped talent to entrepreneurship and employment; and turns STEMers into entrepreneurs."

International Affairs/Development

Volunteering to help people seems like an admirable way to spend a vacation, writes Jacob Kushner in the New York Times. But "[i]f smart, dedicated professionals can fail to achieve lasting progress over a period of years, how then is an untrained vacationer supposed to do so in a matter of days?...Perhaps," he goes on to suggest, "we are fooling ourselves. Unsatisfying as it may be, we ought to acknowledge the truth that we, as amateurs, often don't have much to offer."

What is the private sector doing to help alleviate the Syrian refugee crisis? Maria Teresa Rojas and Alyssa Ross report for  Devex.


Most of the people engaged in nonprofit work are well-intentioned and good-natured. And then there are the types who get on everyone's nerves. NWB's Vu Le explains.


In an op-ed for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Ray Madoff, professor of law at Boston College and co-founder and director of its Forum on Philanthropy and the Public Good, and Rob Reich, professor of political science and co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University, argue that it's time for philanthropy to truly engage the question of  how much should be spent now to solve today's urgent problems and how much should be conserved to deal with future concerns. (Ed note: And in a letter to the editor, Sherry Magill, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund in Jacksonville, Florida, and current board chair at the Council on Foundations, responds.)

There are more than five million retired and soon-to-retire boomer households with a net worth of $1 million or more, and their numbers are growing faster than any other "wealth" cohort. And as more and more of these households start to direct a portion of their resources to philanthropy, writes Jonathan Guyton in the Wall Street Journal, it could "change the way charitable organizations think about everything from mission to strategy to operations to accountability. 

In the Observer, veteran nonprofit sector reporter Sarah Murray offers some advice to a young friend who has just received a large inheritance and has announced that he wants to become a philanthropist.

On the Grant Managers Network blog, GrantCraft director Jen Bokoff shares a half dozen lessons she has learned from young philanthropists.

Social Media

How does a large, respected NGO like Heifer International use social marketing techniques to facilitate donations so that it can do more good for more people? Social Times' Justin Lafferty spoke with Maegan Clark, HI's social media manager, to learn more.

Lastly, how can you tell whether your nonprofit is doing social media "right"? Nonprofit Tech for Good's Heather Mansfield shares ten sure-fire signs.

That's it for now. 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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