Philanthropy

Stephen Colbert Pokes Holes At Corporate Social Responsibility

Here's a light moment and an interesting ironic look at corporate social responsibility via Stephen Colbert. The video is here (starting at the 1:29 mark).

Analysis of Social Innovation Fund Update

On Thursday, the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation) held a media advisory conference call to provide details about the Social Innovation Fund. Paul Carttar, Director of the Social Innovation Fund, and Marta Urquilla, Senior Advisor for Social Innovation, framed the conference call as an opportunity to provide details about grant application process and next steps. Following the call, the Corporation released a press release on the SIF process and a link to the conference call audio (which will be up for about 30 days).

How Palin, Yee, and California State University Are Affecting Philanthropy

Earlier this month Jane Wales of the Aspen Institute wrote a post published in the Huffington Post about a possible populist threat to philanthropy. In her piece, she stated her faith that foundations will continue to do their best to create social benefits, but "the way in which they do it must take into account the public mood, and even distrust." Sadly, the populist threat and backlash against philanthropy may already be on exhibit in California.

The Questions Submitted to Bill Gates for TED2010

On Tuesday, Bill Gates posted a short Tweet: "Headed to TED - http://bit.ly/brwfV1 - I will be sending notes and taking your questions. Send them to @BillGates and tag them #BillatTED." On Friday, some of those questions will be answered via a video feed following his TED presentation on energy and climate change. (UPDATE: The video link is here.)

As is typical with a Bill Gates Tweet, the post was retweeted and referenced a lot. The questions submitted have also been interesting to review. Using the webstie What the Hashtag?!, I  pulled together a listing of most of the questions submitted in advance of Friday's presentation at TED. Of the nearly 500 tweets using the Hashtag, approximately 70 or so where actual questions. The rest were retweets, nonsensical questions or personal pleas, and comments. 

A Communitiy Foundation Perspective on the Social Innovation Fund

Last month, the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation), the federal agency that manages AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, and Senior Corps, released its draft Notice on Funds Available (NOFA) for the $50M the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). The Corporation is accepting comments until January 15.

In my most recent post about the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), I commented that the cash match requirement at the minimum grant award level might prevent most community foundations from participating in the program. Today’s guest post on the Tactical Philanthropy blog by Eileen Ellsworth, president of the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia, greatly expands on this issue and illustrates how the new minimum grant award level and one-to-one cash match requirement will prevent her community foundation from participating. Specifically, she writes, "the increase in the minimum grant level from $1 million to $5 million now constitutes an insurmountable barrier for our SIF application....raising the minimum grant level to $5 million will prevent all but a tiny handful of very large foundations from applying." This issue is further reinforced by the Council on Foundation in a short commentary published today.  The Council notes that some foundations “have expressed concerns about the match requirements for the minimum grant threshold of $5 million…and the difficulty that small communities may experience in trying to take advantage of this program.”

Could the Social Innovation Fund Generate More Foundation Transparency?

Happy New Year everyone! We are one step closer to the release of the official guidelines for the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). On December 18, the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation) released its draft Notice on Funds Available (NOFA) for the $50M SIF; the comment period is open until January 15. Several people who have carefully followed the developments related to the SIF will engage in a conversation on the subject on Sean Stannard-Stockton’s Tactical Philanthropy blog. I’ll post comments there as well on Twitter using the #SIF hashtag. To start my part of the conversation, I’ll use this space to follow-up on my original post on the SIF and outline both the issues I identified in my review of the NOFA and questions I’ll submit to the Corporation.

What? My Nonprofit is Profiled on How Many Websites?

During the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s online discussion on trends affecting philanthropy in 2010 I briefly noted an issue that I had identified in my work with several nonprofit clients, namely how to manage and interact with the multiple websites profiling their organizations. The growth of online donation portals has provided nonprofit organizations with additional means to augment their fundraising efforts.

What if the data is incorrect?

More and more attention is being placed on the need to gather, analyze, and present data in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. The fascination with data and how to present it seems to have entered into a hyper-intensive period.

A Follow-up on The Foundation Center and Its Online Database

Last week I posted a note about the Foundation Center and its online database. I got a reply from George Ford that clarified the Foundation Center's approach to the information available online.  In particular, George wrote:

A few questions on the Social Innovation Fund

Yesterday, the Corporation for National and Community Service held a conference call on the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). The conference call was revealing in the information it provided. However, many significant challenges and questions remained unaddressed and could potentially derail the effectiveness of the SIF.