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Weekend Link Roundup (December 30-31, 2017)

December 31, 2017

2017-2018Our weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Giving

In his final post of the year, Nonprofit Chronicles blogger (and transparency advocate) Marc Gunther shares what (and why) he and his wife gave to charity in 2017.  

Inequality

"The world's 500 richest people have increased their wealth by $1tn (£745bn)...this year due to a huge increase in the value of global stock markets," the Guardian reports. In fact, as 2017 comes to a close, the "world’s super-rich hold the greatest concentration of wealth since the US Gilded Age at the turn of the 20th century, when families like the Carnegies, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts controlled vast fortunes...." 

Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos ($99bn) tops the list, followed by Bill Gates ($91.8bn) and Warren Buffett ($85.3bn). For those interested in tracking such things, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index provides statistical profiles, updated on a daily basis, of the hundred richest people in the world.

The Republican tax bill signed into law by President Trump just before Christmas is likely to worsen inequality in the United States. Referring to the bill as "a lump of coal" for average Americans, the California Wellness Foundation suggests in a statement on its website that the new law will further cement America's status as "a nation of profound inequality" and regrets the fact that it "was enacted despite the fact that so many were not in favor of it." The foundation closes with a call to "other funders committed to the public good to join with us as we move forward with even greater resolve to build the power of the many, not the few." 

Nonprofits

"The nonprofit sector is woefully lacking creative destruction. Mediocre and weak organizations are still attracting funding and the best organizations are not accessing the funding they need to achieve real impact." Catarina Schwab and Lindsay Beck hope to change that with something called an impact security. Devin Thorpe reports for Forbes

Philanthropy

In the Washington Post, Todd C. Frankel reports that many charities are worried that the new tax bill "could spur a landmark shift in philanthropy, speeding along the decline of middle-class donors and transforming charitable gift-giving into a pursuit largely left to the wealthy."

Philanthropy Daily contributor Jeff Polet ends his year with a provocative post on the problem posed by the concept of "measurable impact" that should get people talking. Writes Polet: "Large-scale philanthropy's use of metrics reveals [its] trust of numbers and distrust of humans. Granted, humans disappoint and make mistakes, but numbers are not the neutral instruments the technocrats like to think they are and often result in a further dehumanization of the social sphere."

Willamette Week reporter Rachel Monahan chats with Doug Stamm, a former Nike executive who, over the last fifteen years, has transformed the Meyer Memorial Trust, the second-largest foundation in Oregon, from "a predictable [supporter] of orchestras and food banks" into a pioneer in the field of mission-related investing and a leading proponent of grantmaking with a racial equity lens.

On the HistPhil blog, Lila Corwin Berman, a leading scholar of American Jewish philanthropic history, reviews Hasia Diner's new biography of Julius Rosenwald, the Sears, Roebuck magnate and early twentieth century philanthropist who has become "a model for a new generation of actively engaged living donors."

If you haven't already, be sure to check out Inside Philanthropy's 2017 Philanthropy Awards. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll come away with a renewed appreciation for IP and all the good work produced by David Callahan and crew.

The Philanthropy Women blog, which bills itself as a "home for news and conversation on women donors," shares its top ten posts for 2017 — "a tremendous year [for women] to be writing about gender equality [in] philanthropy."

Last but not least, we were pleased to be included in this list of best newsletters for philanthropy news by the Case Foundation's Jade Floyd. Thank you, Jade. 

And a very big thank you to all our readers and subscribers. Here's hoping your 2018 is happy, healthy and full of good work and accomplishments!

Got something you'd like to share? Drop us a line at mfn@foundationcenter.org.

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    — Kofi Annan (1938-2018)

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