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Weekend Link Roundup (September 22-23, 2018)

September 23, 2018

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


"Anyone with a desire to manipulate opinions...knows that our digital dependencies make it easier than ever to do so through supposedly trustworthy institutions," writes Lucy Bernholz on her Philanthropy 2173 blog. What does that mean for nonprofits? "If your communications strategy still assumes that 'hey, they'll trust us — we're a nonprofit' or 'hey, this is what the data say,' " then it's time for your organization to "reconsider both what you say, how you say it, how you protect what you say, and your expectations and responses to how what you say gets heard and gets used."

Democracy/Public Affairs

In a new post on its website, the Community Foundation Boulder County looks at the work of Common Cause to ensure an accurate, representative census count in 2020.

On the Glasspockets blog, Janet Camarena, director of transparency initiatives at Foundation Center, chats with Jennifer Humke, senior program officer for journalism and media at the John D. and Catherine T.  MacArthur Foundation, about how foundation support for participatory media can strengthen American democracy.

Disaster Relief

Roughly 70 percent of the money and resources donated after a disaster like Herricane Florence goes to immediate response efforts, but recovery from such a disaster requires long-term investment. (Just as the folks in Puerto Rico.) Is there a better way to do disaster relief? asks Eillie Anzilotti in Fast Company. And while you're at it, check out our Hurricane Florence dashboard, which is tracking the private institutional response to the storm.

International Affairs/Development

The latest edition of the Commitment to Development Index, which ranks twenty-seven of the world's richest countries by how well their policies help improve lives in the developing world, has Sweden edging out Denmark (which led the index last year) as the top performer. The Center for Global Development has the details

In his latest, Nonprofit Chronicles blogger Marc Gunther piggybacks on ongoing assessments of a Catholic Relief Services direct-cash-transfer program in Rwanda to remind people that scale does not always equal impact.

In advance of this year's meeting of the UN General Assembly, the Rockefeller Foundation is asking folks to weigh in on what they think is the most solvable of the Sustainable Development Goals. 


Too many of us sell nonprofits short, writes Nell Edgington on her Social Velocity blog. But what if we tried a little harder to give them what they want and need: adequate funding, support for the work they are doing, board members who are truly engaged and committed, and a respectful hearing from policy makers.

In his latest post, Nonprofit AF's Vu Le takes on the "incubation mentality," the notion prevalent in the social sector that "effective nonprofits have to eventually 'grow' out of whatever partnership they are in, whether it's with a fiscal sponsor or a funding partner."

AI, machine learning, and bots. On her blog, Beth Kanter shares a recent roundup of articles, blog posts, and research related to Nonprofits and the Age of Automation.


"The response to Jeff Bezos's announcement of a $2 billion fund to create preschools and help homeless families has been muted if not skeptical," writes Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics at George Mason University, in an op-ed for Bloomberg. But what is many critics argue (here, here, and here, among others), philanthropy by the likes of Bezos is something the world needs more of rather than less?

In a post on the Busf Foundation site, Jen Ford Reedy, the foundation's president, explains why the foundation is applying an equity lens to its grantmaking.

On the Center for Effective Philanthropy blog, Melinda Tuan, managing director of the Fund for Shared Insight, shares some of the feedback she and her colleagues are hearing about the fund's signature Listen for Good (L4G) initiative. 

In his latest, sector veteran Bill DeBoskey reviews some of the concerns about donor-advised funds, especially those offered by sponsors affiliated with financial services firms, that have emerged in recent years.

Social Good

Did you know that the impact investing field is booming, with the value of assets under management having doubled, to $228 billion, between mid-2017 and mid-2018. But is it enough to make a real-world difference? Ben Paynter reports for Fast Company.

Social Justice

"How does one forge a path toward justice in a political and policy environment that has unleashed inner demons and accelerated a decline in trust in institutions of all kinds and in those who lead them?"asks MacArthur Foundation president Julia Stasch in an essay in the foundation's recently released annual report. Stasch goes on to suggest that justice is impossible without three foundational imperatives: a commitment to the common good; empathy and recognition of our shared humanity; and investment and trust in the institutions of accountability.

(Photo credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

That's it for this week. Got something you'd like to share? Drop us a note at [email protected].

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