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Weekend Link Roundup (September 3-5, 2016)

September 05, 2016

Ball_and_racket_headOur 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 Social Responsibility

The landscape of corporate philanthropy is changing — for the better. Andrea Hoffman, founder and CEO of Culture Shift Labs, looks at one Wall Street firm determined to change the existing stock-buyback paradigm.

Disaster Relief

In aftermath of the recent flooding in Louisiana, The (Baton Rouge) Advocate's Rebekah Allen and Elizabeth Crisp look at how crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe are disrupting the traditional disaster relief funding model.


In the New York Times, Christopher Edmin, an associate professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and the author of For White Folk Who Teach in the Hood ... and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education, challenges the idea that the answer to closing the achievement gap for boys and young men of color is to hire and retain more black male teachers.


Wondering how to get the public solidly behind your cause? Of course you are. Regular PhilanTopic contributor Derrick Feldmann shares some good tips here.

Higher Education

As the call for institutions of higher education to diversify their curricula grows louder, maybe it's time, writes the University of Texas' Steven Mintz on the Teagle Foundation site, for colleges and university "to embrace the Great Books spirit and delve into the most problematic aspects of our contemporary reality through works that speak to our time and perhaps all time."


The Organizational Effectiveness program at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation has launched an Organizational Effectiveness Knowledge Center designed to be a space where nonprofits, funders, and others can "exchange learning, resources, and reflections about improving nonprofit organizational and network effectiveness."


In the New York Times, Deirdre N. McCloskey, professor emerita of economics, history, English and communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago, says there is good news on the inequality/equality front. "The world is rich and will become still richer." And while "[y]ou might think the rich have become richer and the poor even poorer...by the standard of basic comfort in essentials, the poorest people on the planet have gained the most. In places like Ireland, Singapore, Finland and Italy, even people who are relatively poor have adequate food, education, lodging and medical care — none of which their ancestors had. Not remotely."


How do many mission-driven organizations survive in an economy that's geared primarily toward profit? They demand long, unpaid hours of their employees. Jonathan Timm reports for The Atlantic.

New Department of Labor overtime rules scheduled to go into effect in December could have an "enormous impact on nonprofits, which (because of their resource-constrained nature) often underpay and overwork their employees." Which is why it's more important than ever, writes Nell Edgington on her Social Velocity blog, that nonprofit executives talk to their funders about their real costs, including overhead.

Requiring a formal degree for practically every job in our sector, even entry-level jobs, argues NWB's Vu Le, is "hurt[ing] real people and perpetuating the inequity that all of us are fighting against."


Why is institutional philanthropy not as effective as it could and should be? According to Courtney Martin, a journalist and author (Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists), it's because many of the people engaged in it are enamored of the power of money and too frequently neglect the wisdom of relationships.

On the Center for Effective Philanthropy blog, Jeff Kutash, executive director of the Peter Kiewit Foundation in Omaha, Nebraska, picks up the theme and offers the following suggestions: take steps to minimize the power imbalance; be transparent; structure your grant process to minimize the burden, and structure your grants to maximize the value; and use all the tools in the toolbox.

What does the Flint, Michigan-based Ruth Mott Foundation's "place- and evidence-based approach" to grantmaking tell us about neighborhood revitalization and the future of urban-focused philanthropy? Scott Atkinson reports for Next City.

The "focus on [presidential] candidates' charitable profiles has been building for some time," writes HistPhil's Ben Soskis in The Atlantic. At the same time, the "boundaries between philanthropy and politics have been steadily blurring so that attention directed to one realm is almost necessarily drawn to the other." But while Americans are eager to know how much candidates give, they are reluctant to ask whether that money has been spent well or wisely.

Public Affairs

To hear some describe it, voter fraud is a huge problem in the United States. The reality? Not so much. The Washington Post's Sami Edge has the story.

Race Relations

If you haven't watched the video clip of a short exchange on race between Demos president Heather McGhee and a caller from North Carolina — a clip that has been viewed online more than two million times — take a minute to do so. You'll feel better about our imperfect but great country.

For some people, writes Aaron Morrison on Mic.com, black protest, no matter how peaceful, is always unacceptable.

Water/Sanitation/Hygiene (WASH)

Sometimes, even the best of intentions don't amount to much. On his Nonprofit Chronicles blog, Marc Gunther explains why, in terms of actual results, one woman's decision to raise awareness about the global water crisis by running the equivalent of forty marathons across seven deserts is just a drop in the bucket.

And on the Conservation Finance Network, Mark Tercek, president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy, argues that the key to building a more water-secure future for cities, agriculture, industries, and nature is to put a price on water and trade rights to it through a market-based framework. 

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

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