RE: Philanthropy Blog

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 10:33am

In an earlier post, Susanne Norgard, executive director of The Community Foundation of Mendocino County (where I serve as board president), mentioned that no board member “walks into a community foundation fully understanding what we do and the impact we can make.” She’s right: Learning about the community foundation takes time. But once board members have a high level of knowledge about the organization, they can be better engaged in helping it grow and fulfilling its mission.

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 4:11pm

The prevalence of computers in modern society has led to a greater need for technology-based curricula and wired classrooms for students of all levels. Top online PhD programs are now available, but some primary schools don’t have a single computer. As a result, companies and organizations nationwide are providing under-funded classrooms with state-of-the-art, electronic educational implements. This philanthropic push has increased classroom performance and, in many cases, led to a higher rate of college attendance for children in these classrooms.

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 4:09pm

One year on from last summer’s riots, the Olympics present an important opportunity to harness the potential of sport for good. Sport can be a powerful tool for improving social outcomes: promoting good physical and mental health, reducing crime and bringing communities together. Yet, while inspiring a generation of young people to take up sport was at the heart of London’s Olympic bid, it is hard to see how the £9 billion Olympic investment will translate into benefits for the most disadvantaged communities. But investment from charitable funders could help harness the energy around sport in the UK this summer and translate it into lasting positive change.

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 3:50pm

Several months ago, I received an opportunity not afforded every emerging philanthropist—I attended the Council on Foundations Annual Conference, which gives newer professionals a platform to interact with seasoned persons in the field and newcomers alike. As the Fall Conference for Community Foundations draws closer, I’d like to offer some tips to fellow newbies. In order to maximize your experience, you want to make sure that you talk to all the right people, engage in conversations, and attend as many valuable sessions as possible. That task was easier for me because of the progressive and fluid nature of the Annual Conference.

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 3:48pm

Collaborating for greater impact starts with nonprofit leaders who develop wide-reaching social networks, communicate clearly about their missions and objectives, and are flexible about how those objectives are met. Funders are uniquely positioned to recognize these leaders and create greater impact together.

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 3:45pm

I recently attended a conference and between brochures, pamphlets, and folders, I amassed quite a bit of print material. Upon viewing the stack, I wondered: Why does information transfer require so much paper? For those who are interested in going green for their own events, here are four ideas to cut down on the paper trail:

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 3:35pm

In our role at FSG, we are professional advocates for strategy as an essential aspect of leadership to advance community solutions. Why does strategy matter? The “you can’t be all things to all people” message is one of the simplest refrains—in the words of Michael Porter, this concept is “Strategy 101.” And as people with ambition to change the world and instincts to do whatever we can to help our communities, we can all benefit from that reminder. I haven’t yet come across anyone with a “we can’t be all things to all people” tattoo, though sometimes I think it’d be a good one.

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 3:31pm

June 29, 2012 marked the third anniversary of the sentencing of Bernard Madoff, mastermind of the largest ever Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. Hundreds of investors lost more than $13 billion to Madoff, including many foundations, some of which had to shut down as a result of their investments.

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 3:27pm

As expected, this month’s Rio+20 conference and the People’s Summit were vast and challenging to navigate, with more than 500 side events to the official conference. Luckily, the orientation webinar and the breakfast briefings organized by the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity, the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA), and the Funders Network for Transforming Globalization helped us to get the 30,000 foot view of what’s at stake, hear about the progress made on negotiations, and find out what’s important outside of the official process. Equally important, we heard points of views on what philanthropy needs to do going forward.

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 3:05pm

If one can accept that mega confabs such as Rio+20 are inevitably about more talks, then the text (outcome) of the negotiating document that was finalized at about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, June 19, will not be surprising (or shocking). At yesterday’s breakfast briefing for funders on inside strategies and groups, organized by the Consultative Group on Biodiversity (CGBD), Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA), and the Funders Network for Transforming Globalization (FNTG), we heard an excellent overview from the South Center.