RE: Philanthropy Blog

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:46pm

I am one of the fortunate practitioners new to philanthropy who was able to attend both the EPIP and Council conferences this year in L.A. At EPIP, I was also lucky to see Dr. Bob Ross speak about the state of philanthropy. Dr. Ross is the CEO of The California Endowment, and among the many provocative things that he said, the one that caused me and the rest of the audience at EPIP to put down our smartphones and really listen was the following: “I shudder to think what would have happened if Martin Luther King, or Gandhi, or Cesar Chavez had submitted a grant application to us.”

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:43pm

While I have enjoyed making the contacts and hanging out in the CEO track sessions, I decided to session hop on Monday afternoon. I found, that while well meaning, the CEO air was a tad rarefied and discussion aimed high-brow as my colleagues discussed high-impact investments and donor embeddedness with a hint of detachment. Not a judgment, just an observation. In my previous life in higher education and the social justice movement, I used to get so frustrated with colleagues who only spoke with like-minded individuals. The discussion would be insular, myopic, and peppered with gross over-generalization. (Please know I’m being dramatic for contrast, not indictment.) So it was time to take my own advice and seek other discussions and points of view.

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:41pm

Here are some interesting facts: * Obesity is the second leading cause of death in the United States. * Sixty-nine percent of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. * Thirty-two percent of children in the United States are overweight or obese. * Twenty-four million people in the United States have type 2 diabetes.

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:39pm

Foundations in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Detroit have faced conditions before and after crises that are all but unimaginable. For example, Detroit has enough vacant and unused land to fit inside San Francisco, more vacant land than any city in the U.S. except for post-Katrina New Orleans, a poverty rate of 38 percent, and a labor force participation rate of 50 percent, the lowest in the nation. What can foundations do with such a challenge?

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:37pm

If there is an epicenter of the decline of a city and its loss of an economic base, the candidates start with Detroit, where the population has plummeted 25 percent in the last decade to 714,000–this for a city whose population was 1.85 million in 1950. The city now has an extraordinarily high poverty rate, massive tracts of vacant land, and empty housing. Or maybe the epicenter was New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city and region, taking a particularly hard toll on the region’s poor. Or maybe it was Los Angeles two decades ago, convulsed by the “disturbances” in South Central that the community divided by race and ethnicity.

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:09pm

What an amazing first day of the conference! From the compelling opening plenary on the role of philanthropy in rebuilding communities to the terrific dance party with Ozomatli during the evening reception, there is a palpable feeling of excitement for what still remains to come at the conference.

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 2:50pm

Here are some key messages that are a theme at this year’s Annual Conference: * Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration! * Reaching out to others broadens our impact. * To be “better together,” we must practice mutual respect and tolerance. These messages are almost common sense, right? Yes, but sometimes we work in isolation and forget to look outside our own goals or agendas.

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 2:24pm

“Roles that I’ve played.” Geena Davis opened her remarks during this morning’s plenary session by stating that her philanthropy is often rooted in roles that she has played. It struck a chord for me. My research agenda around HIV and AIDS in the 1990s also showed that exposure and a family predisposition to altruism are key indicators for why people do and give where they can.

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 2:23pm

Investing in people feels very good. Carrie Avery of the Durfee Foundation, the moderator of the session “Supporting Individuals as Innovators and Change Agents,” described these types of programs as the “R & D” of the nonprofit sector. How do foundations invest in people?

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 2:13pm

This year’s Paul Ylvisaker Public Policy Award winner, Linda Reed, president and CEO of the Montana Community Foundation, delivered a formal talk on the relationship of rural philanthropy and public policy. Given that Reed was talking about Montana, where there are only three communities with populations above 50,000, almost anything she might have addressed could be given a rural cast. But everything she talked about could have just as easily been a model or perhaps a prescription for any philanthropic leader or institution interested in addressing public policy issues.