27 posts categorized "TED Talks"

Weekend Link Roundup (January 2-3, 2016)

January 03, 2016

Jan_fresh_startHappy New Year! Read on for our weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. And for more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

African Americans

In an open letter to friends, supporters, and fellow activists, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement's Shawn Dove looks back on a year that was filled with "both progression and painful reflection."

Children and Youth

"Spending on children makes up just 10 percent of the federal budget, and that share is likely to fall," write Giridhar Mallya and Martha Davis on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Culture of Health blog. In part as a result of that underinvestment, child well-being in the United States ranks 26 on a list of 29 industrialized nations in a UNICEF report. If we want to change that calculus, add Mallya and Davis, "the best thing we can do to give kids a healthy start in 2016 [is to] support parents and families."


Can America's troubled public schools be fixed? In The Atlantic, a group of "leading scholars of, experts on, and advocates for K-12 education" offer reasons to be both discouraged and hopeful.

In Education Week, Doug Allen, principal of the Bessie Nichols School in Edmonton, Alberta, and a member of the Mindful Schools network, offers some reflections for educators on why they should implement a mindfulness practice.


According to Environmental Health News' Doug Fischer, 2015 was the year that "[c]overage of environmental issues, especially climate change, jumped traditional boundaries to pick up broader — and slightly ominous — geopolitical and health angles."

Environmental Defense Fund's Fred Krupp shares five reasons why 2016 will be a good year for the environment and environmental progress.

Food Insecurity

Before you donate the unwanted canned goods in your pantry to your local foodbank, read this article by the Washington Post's Colby Itkowitz.

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The Power of Crowdfunding to Fight Ebola

January 10, 2015

Globalgiving_ebolaIn December, TIME magazine named Ebola Fighters — doctors, nurses, caregivers, scientists, and medical directors "who answered the call," often putting their own lives on the line — as its "Person of the Year." We couldn't agree more: local West Africans and long-time residents like our friend and partner Katie Meyler and her colleague Iris are courageous, vital, and worthy of support.

While much of the emergency funding from private donors and companies has been channeled to U.S. government partnerships and programs, we've been focused on helping donors reach the "last mile" with their donations. Aaron Debah is familiar with that last mile. Aaron, a Liberian nurse, has rallied his neighbors to go house-to-house to combat rumors and misinformation in a culturally relevant way. He's also producing a local radio show about Ebola to spread the message more widely in the community. Through Internews, GlobalGiving donors are funding motorbikes for community activists, a scanner/copier/printer, and mobile phones, among other items. Through their actions, people like Aaron are making an enormous difference in the fight against the virus at a hyper-local level.

$3 Million and Counting for Locally Driven Ebola Solutions

At the end of 2014, we announced that we had helped raise more than $3 million for Ebola relief from donors in sixty-eight countries through the GlobalGiving community. We're currently crowdfunding for twenty-nine community organizations that are preventing and fighting the spread of the virus in West Africa. By giving to local nonprofits that are deeply rooted in the affected areas, donors are supporting organizations that were creating change in their own communities long before this Ebola outbreak — and will be there to drive the recovery of the region over the long term.

More than 3,800 individuals have given to over thirty Ebola relief projects on GlobalGiving.org and GlobalGiving.co.uk, including GlobalGiving's Ebola Epidemic Relief Fund. In November, a $200 donation to the fund came from a community of concerned people in Mozambique: "Though it may not seem like much, this is equivalent to two months minimum wage here. Thank you for connecting our hearts with fellow Africans who are suffering!" said Brian, the man whose family collected and sent the donations to GlobalGiving.

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Non-Financial Capital and Social Change

January 25, 2012

(Paul Shoemaker is executive director of Social Venture Partners Seattle and recently was named one of the "Top 50 Most Influential People in the Non-Profit Sector" by The NonProfit Times.)

PShoemaker_headshotThe theme of this year's World Economic Forum gathering is The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models. A lot of people took a lot of time to write a convoluted description of what that really means. Let's boil it down to this: Because of the huge economic and social shifts taking place around the world, we don't have good models for understanding this "new norm" or for aligning stakeholders/citizens around a vision and inspiring institutions and individuals to realize those visions.

As some of you know, a few months ago I did the local TEDx about the power of human and social (not just or even primarily financial) capital to change our world in the years ahead. I think there are two parts of that message that might be relevant to WEF, and there's one I mentioned in the talk: our old ways of adding up the financial and institutional resources for community change flat out miss the power, potential, real, and often more enduring impact of human and social capital. (I give credit to SVP partner Bill Henningsgaard for articulating that.) This is starting to change, but we have to become much more intentional and specific about the role and value of non-financial capital in social change. That is a core part of our game at SVP.

This other one I didn't mention: another huge reason why human social capital is so critical is because the amount of money we can bring to bear on social issues is fixed, constrained, or even shrinking in many places. Whether we like it or not, that is not going to change anytime soon. Governments around the world are collectively tens of trillions (tr, not b) of dollars in debt. No matter your politics, that is a fact that unquestionably points to constrained public resources.

So the most plentiful, expandable assets we have are non-financial. Don't get me wrong -- money always matters. But if we want to increase the "supply" of assets for positive change, we're gonna have to do it in ways that are leveraged, creative, and expand human and social capital. How much difference can that make? I don't know for sure, but think about the "social value" that Facebook creates -- and the fact that it didn't even exist ten years ago.

What do you think? Given the challenges confronting us in 2012 and beyond, what does the social sector have to do to think -- and be thought of -- differently? How can we rapidly change the "equation for social good"?

-- Paul Shoemaker

Sir Ken Robinson on Changing Education Paradigms

November 27, 2010

I'm still plowing through dozens of posts that were written for the Day of National Blogging for Real Education Reform this past Monday. The brainchild of Michigan State University researcher Ira Socol, the blogfest was a rousing success and even generated a post in response by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

I hope to post my own thoughts about the day and its themes in the next week or two. But in the meantime I thought I'd share this animated version of a recent talk given by educator and creativity expert Ken Robinson at the London-based Royal Society of Arts.

Sir Ken, whom PhilanTopic readers got to know in this TED Talk, is nothing if not passionate about education reform, and he is as dismayed by most countries' continued insistence on "trying to meet the challenges of the future by doing what they've done in the past" as he is by the "misplaced, fictitious epidemic of ADHD." Whether you agree with him or not, it's hard to argue with a man who can draw as fast as he speaks. (That's a joke.)

What do you think? Are developed countries in general, and the United States in particular, still wedded to a production-line model of education? Are we penalizing our children, who are living "in the most intensely stimulating period in the history of the earth," for being distracted? And what, in the twenty-first century, is the purpose of education?

-- Mitch Nauffts

Weekend Link Roundup (March 13 - 14, 2010)

March 14, 2010

Chain-links Our weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....


"Nonprofits are heroes, not unskilled hired help," writes Todd Cohen on the Inside Philanthropy blog, "and they need to start owning their role and championing their worth."

What Would Google Do? author Jeff Jarvis shares his notes for a talk he gave to a recent TEDxNYed gathering in which he used the opportunity to question the whole TED format. Like old-media, writes Jarvis, the lecture format needs to move past a one-way conversation to collaboration. Do you agree?


Future Fundraising blogger Jeff Brooks says that sending extra appeals to your donors not only doesn't hurt, it's the smart thing to do. Adds Brooks: "It turns out that asking donors to donate is something like asking fish to swim or birds to sing. It's what they do, what they want to do. Giving them the opportunity is not a rude and hurtful intrusion...."

International Affairs/Development

In the aftermath of the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, the New York Times' Anand Giridharadas suggests that the kind of "everyone-as-informant mapping" pioneered by Ushahidi, a small Kenya-based nonprofit, "may have something larger to tell us about the future of humanitarianism, innovation and the nature of what we label as truth."

Nonprofit Management

Responding to a recent Professionals for Nonprofits salary survey, Rosetta Thurman asks her readers whether they are satisfied with their pay. You can learn more about what they had to say here.


At the New Philanthropy Capital blog, Martin Brookes chides himself for "wasting charitable funds" because he donated to an animal charity at the request of his daughter. This type of giving, adds Brookes, represents a "misallocation of charitable funds" because it was done "to make [himself] feel good, not charitable giving for public benefit."

Tactical Philanthropy's Sean Stannard-Stockton offers his own take on Brookes' post here.

And in a post on the GiveWell blog, Holden Karnofsky argues that giving money for "selfish" reasons is "no more wrong than unnecessary personal consumption. The point at which it becomes a problem," adds Karnofsky, "is when you 'count it' toward your charitable/philanthropic giving for the year."

Last week, President Obama released the list of charities to which he has decided to donate the $1.4 million cash award that came with his Nobel Peace Prize. On the Social Entrepreneurship blog, Nathaniel Whittemore grades the president's choices.

Social Media

Beth Kanter, Geoff Livingston, and Kami Watson Huyse -- the principals of recently launched consulting firm Zoetica -- share their thoughts about how the rapid uptake of social media and other online technologies is changing corporate social responsibility.

Wealth Management

The Weakonomist takes a look at the 2010 edition of Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest people and identifies a few noteworthy trends.

And that's it for now. What did we miss? Drop us a line at rnm@foundationcenter.org. And have a great week!

-- Regina Mahone

TED on Sunday: David Keith on Climate Change and Geo-engineering

December 13, 2009

Scientists have been concerned about the uncertain impacts of anthropogenic climate change for fifty years, says environmental scientist David Keith, and yet we have done almost nothing to slow or reduce emissions of manmade greenhouse gases. That's the bad news. The good news is that we can solve the problem of global warming quickly and relatively cheaply by putting fine sulfur particles into the lower atmosphere to deflect sunlight, much as volcanic eruptions do. But geo-engineered solutions to the warming problem create problems of their own, says Keith. First, who gets to decide what the appropriate action and timing of that action is? And how do we resolve what Keith calls the moral hazard implicit in any geo-engineered solution to global warming? After listening to his talk, you'll have a greater appreciation for the challenges confronting the negotiators at the climate change talks in Copenhagen. (Filmed: September 2007; Running time: 16:30)

Liked this talk? Try one of these.

-- Mitch Nauffts

TED on Sunday: John Doerr on the 'Green' Imperative

December 06, 2009

With the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15) set to begin tomorrow, this seems like a good time to take another look at what may be at stake. In this emotional talk, legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr argues that there "is a time when panic is the appropriate response" -- and with catastrophic, irreversible climate change only decades away, that day is fast approaching. Fortunately, says, Doerr, he has learned four things about the climate change issue that give him hope: business can be part of the solution; individuals matter; smart policy matters; and the potential for radical innovation in the clean-energy field is almost limitless. As Doerr likes to say: "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." Let's get started. (Filmed: March 2007; Running time: 17:49)

Liked this talk? Try one of these.

And for those who can't get enough of TED, check out Jim Simpson's post about a cool hidden feature of most TED Talks.

-- Mitch Nauffts

TED on Sunday: Geoff Mulgan on Social Innovation and the New Capitalism

November 08, 2009

Two-plus years after the global financial system began to melt down, we find ourselves in a "strange twilight zone" characterized by paralysis and retrogade thinking, argues Geoff Mulgan in this talk from the 2009 TED Global conference. Even as governments around the world borrow trillions of dollars from future generations in an attempt to reignite economic growth, many measures of social and environmental health are deteriorating. Indeed, says Mulgan, director of the London-based Young Foundation, the financial crisis has made plain the fact that economic growth doesn't automatically translate into social progress or human growth. Too much of it goes into boosting unsustainable consumption; too much of it leaves people feeling they aren't allowed to be useful -- and when people aren't allowed to be useful, they soon start to think they are useless. The question is, What are we going to do about it? Mulgan's answer may surprise and inspire you.

(Filmed: July 2009; Running time: 17:57)

Liked this talk? Try one of these.

And for those who can't get enough of TED, check out Jim Simpson's post about a cool hidden feature of most TED Talks.

-- Mitch Nauffts

TED on Sunday: 'Acid Test'

October 18, 2009

I've been a little derelict about curating new TED talks over the last month or so. But instead of a new one today, I want to share a beautiful twenty-minute film titled Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification.

Narrated by Sigourney Weaver and produced by the National Resources Defense Council, the film argues that the burning of fossil fuels is steadily compromising the rich biological diversity of the planet's oceans and threatens to turn them into a "sea of weeds." The canary in the coal mine? Coral reefs, which, if current trends persist, could be extinct in twenty to thirty years. If you care about the future of the planet, you'll want to watch. (Running time: 21:34)

We'll be back with a new TED on Sunday talk next week. In the meantime, here's a list of some our favorites. Enjoy.

And for those who can't get enough of TED, check out Jim Simpson's post about a cool hidden feature of most TED Talks.

-- Mitch Nauffts

TED on Sunday: Elizabeth Gilbert on Creativity

August 23, 2009

In this funny and inspirational talk, writer Elizabeth Gilbert (The Last American Man, Eat, Pray Love) considers the creative act and wonders why it is logical or okay "that anyone should be afraid to do the work they were put on this earth to do?" Ranging widely from ancient Greece and Rome through the Renaissance to hipster songwriter/performer Tom Waits stuck in traffic on a Los Angeles freeway, Gilbert argues convincingly that the secret to creativity is showing up to do your job and accepting the idea that the extraordinary nature of your best work didn't come from you; it was given to you. (Filmed: February 2009; Running time: 19:29)

Liked this talk? Try one of these:

And for those who can't get enough of TED, check out Jim Simpson's post about a cool hidden feature of most TED Talks.

-- Mitch Nauffts

TED on Sunday: Hans Rosling on the Global HIV Pandemic

August 16, 2009

Data viz whiz Hans Rosling and his time-lapse "bubble" charts were the stars of one of our first "TED on Sunday" talks. In this fast-paced talk, the ever-energetic Rosling returns with another time-lapse presentation and some good news about the global HIV pandemic: after twenty-five years, the number of people worldwide living with HIV has stabilized at about 1 percent of the global adult population. After you've watched the talk, be sure to visit Rosling's Gapminder site, where you can view/download static and animated versions of the chart featured in the video below. (Posted: May 2009; Running time: 10:03)

Liked this talk? Try one of these:

And for those who can't get enough of TED, check out Jim Simpson's post about a cool hidden feature of most TED Talks.

-- Mitch Nauffts

TED on Sunday: Bill Gates on the Importance of Being Optimistic

August 02, 2009

It should come as no surprise that the world's richest man and most visible philanthropist is a self-proclaimed optimist. But as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates argues in this TED talk, he has reason to be. The average human lifespan has doubled over the last hundred years. Infant mortality has fallen by a factor of two. Dreadful diseases such as smallpox and polio have been fully or almost fully eradicated. And, argues Gates, even greater victories lie ahead -- if we can muster the will and the resources to pursue them. (Posted: February 2009; Running time: 20:17)

Liked this talk? Try one of these:

And for those who can't get enough of TED, check out Jim Simpson's post about a cool hidden feature of most TED Talks.

-- Mitch Nauffts

TED on Sunday: Behind the Scenes

July 19, 2009

We've been "curating" Ted Talks here on PhilanTopic for a few months (see the list below). But the folks at TED have been posting and making their talks available free to the world for three years now.

To mark the occasion, earlier this week the TEDdies posted a six-minute "behind the scenes" look at how the talks are produced. Cool. (Posted: July 15, 2009; Running time: 6:31)


Intrigued? Check out one of these:

And for those who can't get enough of TED, check out Jim Simpson's post about a cool hidden feature of most TED Talks.

-- Mitch Nauffts

TED on Sunday: Clay Shirky on the Transformed Media Landscape

July 12, 2009

There have been four transformations of the media landscape significant enough to qualify as revolutions, argues Clay Shirky in this penetrating, fast-paced talk. The complex of innovations known as the printing press, which turned Europe upside down in the fifteenth century; the invention of telegraphy (and later telephony), which engendered real-time two-way conversation over distances; the invention of photography and the phonograph, which sparked a revolution in recorded media; and the harnessing of the electromagnetic spectrum, which led to radio and television and the broadcasting of sound and images through the air.

Today, thanks to the Internet, says Shirky, we are living through a fifth media revolution that will make the others seem trivial by comparision. And that's because the Internet is both the first medium to combine one-to-many with many-to-many patterns of communication as well as a platform for all other media. What that means in practical terms is that members of your audience are now talking to each other and have become producers of media as well as consumers of it. The old communications paradigm -- professionals broadcasting one message to many -- is dead. And the challenge of the new paradigm is clear: How to work with members of your audience to craft different messages for different audiences. You can't control this tectonic shift, says Shirky. You can only hope to harness it. Let the games innovation begin. (Filmed: June 2009; Running time: 17:03)

Liked this talk? Try one of these:

-- Mitch Nauffts

TED on Sunday: Katherine Fulton on the Future of Philanthropy

June 28, 2009

What comes to mind when you think about philanthropy? Chances are, says Katherine Fulton, president of the San Francisco-based Monitor Institute, you'd end up with a list that includes words like closed, small, slow, fragmented, and short. But it doesn't have to be that way. As Fulton explains in this short, powerful talk, the same disruptive technologies that have upended industry after industry are beginning to transform philanthropy in profound ways. And while we don't yet have a language to adequately describe this transformation, we can recognize some of the innovations that are driving it, including mass collaboration, online marketplaces, aggregated giving, innovation competitions, and social investing. Where is it all leading? We can't be sure, says Fulton -- in part because we are acting our way into a new way of thinking, rather than thinking our way into a new way of acting. But we should take comfort from and be inspired by the fact that each of us has more power to make a difference and create a better, safer, more just world than at any time in human history. Are we are up to the challenge? Time will tell. (Filmed: March 2007; Running time: 12:34)

Liked this talk? Try one of these:

-- Mitch Nauffts

Quote of the Week

  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."

    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

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