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Weekend Link Roundup (October 27-28, 2018)

October 28, 2018

Pittsburgh synogogue vigil union sq 353A weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Climate Change

In September, we reported on a coalition of mostly U.S.-based foundations and philanthropies that have pledged $4 billion to combat climate change. But what exactly can charitable efforts on that scale do to slow the pace of global warming and help people cope with its consequences? More than you think, writes Morten Wendelbo, a research fellow at American University, on The Conversation site.

Civil Society

Palaces for the People, a new book by Eric Klinenberg, a sociology professor at New York University and director of its Institute for Public Knowledge, examines how "social infrastructure" — libraries, parks, playgrounds, gardens, child care centers, churches, and synagogues — help us form some of our most significant and abiding connections. These spaces are also crucial, Klinenberg argues, for bridging divides and safeguarding the values of democracy. Katie Pearce reports for Johns Hopkins University's Hub.


A lot of kids graduate high school unprepared for success in college and beyond. A new study from the New Teacher Project, a national nonprofit focused on teacher development and educational programming, puts most of the blame on school itself. Eillie Anzilotti reports for Fast Company.


The environmental movement is a lot of great things, but diverse isn't one of them. Vu Le's organization, Rainier Valley Corps, is creating a new program called the Green Pathways Fellowship designed to addressed the situation. In his latest post, Le shares a few components of the program. 


"[Philanthropy] defines people as 'low-income', 'at-risk', 'high-crime', 'low-literacy'. We define people by stigmatizing labels," Trabian Shorters, a former Knight Foundation VP who founded BME (Black Male Engagement) Community, tells Generocity's Julie Zeglin. A better approach would be to frame our narratives in terms of assets. Or as Shorters tells Zeglin: "[T]o really advance equity, you have to remind those who are really concerned with these questions that all of us are striving to do the best we can under the conditions that we're dealt. When you remind people of that, then we look at solutions entirely differently."

Giving Pledge 

Paul Allen, who died earlier this month at the age of 65, was single and had no kids. He also is believed to be the wealthiest signer of the Giving Pledge — a non-binding commitment by wealthy donors to give away more than half of their assets to charity in life or in their wills. The task of managing his $20 billion estate — and Allen's philanthropic legacy — now falls to his sister, Jody, and many in the worlds of business and philanthropy will be watching closely. Theodore Schleifer reports for Recode.

Higher Education

In the New York Times, Reihan Salam, executive editor of National Review, suggests that the "power and influence" of the most richly endowed universities in the country "is unbefitting a democratic society" and that they may not be "generating public benefits commensurate with the extraordinary public privileges they enjoy, including, most of all, their favorable tax treatment."


Bringing non-family members, people with diverse perspectives, and professional advisors into the decision-making fold can help family foundations move past family dynamics and take greater risks, write Ruth Cummings and Sharon Alpert in "Diversifying Perspectives and Sharing Power at a Family Foundation," the latest installment in NCRP's and the Stanford Social Innovation Review's Power in Philanthropy series. The series also includes excellent posts by Kathleen Enright, Luz Vega-MarquisJim Canales and Barbara HostetterAlison Corwin, and Grant Oliphant.

What does effectiveness in philanthropy mean, and what does it look like? On the Center for Effective Philanthropy blog, Phil Buchanan and Naomi Orenstein are looking for your input, perspective, and suggestions as they set out to refresh CEP's definition of effectiveness.

Chronicle of Philanthropy contributor Tyler Nickerson has a good Q&A with Edgar Villanueva, vice president for programs and advocacy at the Schott Foundation for Public Education and author of the just-released Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance.

(Photo credit: EV Grieve)

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

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