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Weekend Link Roundup (March 11-12, 2017)

March 12, 2017

Keep-calm-and-let-it-snow--680Our weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Animal Welfare

After a decade of declining meat consumption, Americans again are eating more meat, and Nonprofit Chronicles blogger Marc Gunther wants to know why people "who adore their dogs and cats blithely go on consuming meat products that cause needless suffering to pigs, cows and chickens."


On Medium, Nick Donohue, president/CEO of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, suggests that "education as a whole hasn't changed much since today's retirees were students themselves, sitting in class and scribbling notes in cadence with a teacher's lecture. We've operated schools as if they were industrial factories, with one size fits all approaches to teaching and learning that resemble assembly line practices. In doing so, we are doing what we did 100 years ago  —  culling and sorting the more elite students and leaving the rest behind...."


In her latest annual message, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation president Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, who in April will step down as head of the foundation, shares seven lessons she has learned about improving health in America.


There are 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. — people living here without permission from the American government — and, as the New York Times' Vivian Yee, Kenan Davis, and Jugal K. Patel illustrate in this fact-based piece, they are not necessarily who you think they are.


In a Q&A on the Santa Barbara Foundation site, Amy Schneider, the foundation's director of grantmaking and nonprofit excellence, explains what nonprofit excellence is and why it's important.

Those who fund, work in, or cover nonprofits talk a lot about "sustainability." But are we all talking about the same thing. On her Social Velocity blog, Nell Edgington shares her definition and then breaks it down further.

NPW's Vu Le explains why the "to-do" philosophy embraced by nonprofit leaders everywhere so often is counterproductive — and what you can do to restore a healthier balance to your organization's work. 


Recognizing the challenges to many of its program priorities presented by the current political climate, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund has approved an increase in its grants budget of nearly 12 percent for 2017.

As the startup scene in Los Angeles gains momentum, young companies are trying to avoid some of the philanthropic mistakes made by an earlier generation of Silicon Valley startups. Ben Paynter reports for Fast Company.

In remarks made at the L.A.-based Weingart Foundation earlier this month, Rip Rapson, president and CEO of the Kresge Foundation, addresses "some of the complexities, tensions, and institutional hazards" that can accompany the application of values such as equity and inclusion to the realities of life in blighted, segregated communities like Detroit.

In the Huffington Post, Dr. Robert K. Ross, president and CEO of the California Endowment and a panelist at the same Weingart-sponsored event at which Rapson appeared, argues that America needs to embrace the value of equity — and that means "assuring opportunity for all, regardless of circumstance, and across the full range of America’s socioeconomic spectrum. It means leveling the opportunity playing field, with an emphasis on those who often find themselves stigmatized, marginalized or ignored for reasons that may be political, racial, or ethnic. Inequality," adds Ross, "is what we fight; equity is what we want to see." 

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has released its 2016 annual report, and in her president's letter, La June Montgomery Tabron suggests that "[t]he realities of the past year challenge all of philanthropy, including the Kellogg Foundation, to work differently if we are to achieve real change for our children."


Given the huge amount of human potential wasted, looking the other as people remain mired in poverty is a political choice we can no longer afford, argues Dutch author Rutger Bregman (Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There) in the Guardian. There's a better way, says Bregman, and it's called a universal basic income.

Public Affairs

"As we think about the future of [the Affordable Care Aact], we should also reflect on just what health care means to Americans," writes Tara McKay on the Health Affairs blog. "Health care is not just a commodity that we buy or an entitlement that we earn. It is also a social institution, just like family and education. Social institutions regulate norms and expectations for behavior, and go on to shape our identities, feelings of belonging and citizenship, and our sense of dignity and self-worth." She continues:

In the United States, where health care is viewed as more of a commodity than a right, the promise of expanding access to health insurance, especially publicly subsidized insurance, is relational and redistributive. The most basic role of government is to protect its citizens, especially those who are most vulnerable. In order to achieve this, those of us with insurance have to understand the issue of expanding access to insurance as our issue. Instead, the social reality of the millions of uninsured Americans — those who were uninsured prior to the passage of the ACA, those who remained uninsured well after its implementation, and those who may lose coverage as a result of a repeal — is one of exclusion and marginalization not just from health care, but from our society as a whole.
It doesn’t have to be this way. My research suggests that uninsurance strains social relationships in communities and that insurance expansion may improve social cohesion and trust. As the country considers what do with the ACA or its replacement, we ought to be attentive not only to the immediate effects that the law has had on health and costs, but also ways that more inclusive health policies can strengthen the social fabric of our communities....

And if you haven't already, check out the new posts here on PhilanTopic by John Mullaney, executive director of the Nord Family Foundation in Amherst, Ohio, and Surina Khan, CEO of the Women's Foundation of California, in which they argue that engaging with and investing in policy reform is not option for foundations, it's an obligation.

That's it for this week. Got something you'd like to share? Drop us a line at [email protected] or share it in the comments section below....

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