RE: Philanthropy Blog

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 10:19am

How should a mid-sized foundation position its initiatives in this age of austerity and how can one county and community foundation influence state-level decisions? These are questions that the Erie Community Foundation asked when it planned an early childhood education initiative more than a year ago, knowing that it would not be able to increase slots through increased state subsidies.

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 10:14am

Hundreds of miles from urban centers like Memphis, Atlanta, and New Orleans, the five counties served by the Community Foundation of East Mississippi are a textbook definition of “rural.” Cotton was king here years ago, but ever since it left—along with a good deal of the manufacturing industry—many of our region’s 157,000 residents have been trapped in what some experts refer to as “cycles of dependency.” That is why we have been asking our local elected officials to support the Rural Philanthropy Growth Act (RPGA). It’s also why I am attending the Center for Community Foundation Excellence’s (CCFE) Public Policy for Community Foundations seminar this week in Jackson, Miss.

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 9:55am

Time flies when you are doing good work. The Danville Regional Foundation launched its Make It Happen! (MIH!) program in November 2010 to show that everybody can make a difference through incremental changes, no matter how small. Now, approximately 18 months later, we just awarded our 50th MIH! Grant.

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 9:51am

It’s been about a month since I returned from Los Angeles, where I attended the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) National Conference and the Council on Foundations Annual Conference. I am extremely grateful that those organizations partnered to provide “Stay in L.A.” scholarships to Next Gen-ers, which afforded us the opportunity to participate in both conferences. The experience was invaluable, and I came away from my week in L.A. thinking deeply about the challenge issued by Carol Goss to be an “activist philanthropist” and the charge from Angela Glover Blackwell to “be bold.”

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 8:49am

I recently had the opportunity to connect with several young nonprofit professionals at a lunch meeting. After learning about issues several were facing that ended up complicating work with grantees, I immediately suggested several free technology tools that could streamline their current work.

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 8:45am

With one-third of Americans still lacking broadband Internet connections at home, access to the internet is often considered an equity issue. Yet programs aimed at narrowing the digital divide may leave their strongest legacies in the areas of community and economic development. Online access is a gateway to opportunities in education, workforce, and health, and other areas that increasingly depend on digital access and digital skills.

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 8:45am

With one-third of Americans still lacking broadband Internet connections at home, access to the internet is often considered an equity issue. Yet programs aimed at narrowing the digital divide may leave their strongest legacies in the areas of community and economic development. Online access is a gateway to opportunities in education, workforce, and health, and other areas that increasingly depend on digital access and digital skills.

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 8:38am

It was suggested in a half-joking manner that I should write a blog on my last day at the Council. At first I dismissed it, thinking it would be cheesy. I could write about the great colleagues I worked with, the knowledge of philanthropy I gained, or the numerous relationships I developed in the field. But then I realized maybe there is some value in asking the question: What happens when your foundation’s social media guy leaves?

Friday, March 1, 2013 - 3:31pm

On May 15, the San José City Council approved a strong municipal ordinance that will curb the impact of predatory payday lending on residents of America’s 10th largest city. The vote, on a motion by Councilman Ash Kalra, is the latest and largest victory in Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s ongoing advocacy for local reforms and ultimately a statewide rate cap on payday loans.

Friday, March 1, 2013 - 3:27pm

I see collaborative work and outcomes management as two sides of the same “working smarter” coin. I discussed outcomes management in my first post in this series, and my organization, Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP), has embraced its importance. VPP is committed to learning from our work, and although the nonprofit partnerships we fund have been successful, we recognize there is more we can do with the resources available. By tracking and assessing our progress along the way, we have seen that the best way to “work smarter” is through collaborative action. Without the first side of the coin—outcomes management, we would not have reached the other side—collaboration. Without collaboration, the data we collect is too limited to get a full picture of our region and what its children and youth need.