February 20, 2019 § Leave a comment
In honor of Black History Month, I thought I would post here about some resources and articles I have found recently about Black philanthropy. I have noticed some increased visibility in the profession, and I will amplify it here.
Morehouse College, the historically Black men’s college in Atlanta, received one of the largest gifts in its history last month. Philanthropist and entrepreneur, Robert F. Smith.
At the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Perdue University Indiana, the Mays Family Institute of Diverse Philanthropy provides training for fundraising and philanthropy in “diverse” communities. While this is inclusive of everything from different ethnicities to the queer community, Black philanthropy features prominently in the curriculum. This month, the website features a couple of videos by one of its faculty members, Tyrone Freeman, about the traditions of Black philanthropy.
Apparently, it’s going on in Indiana! (Who knew?) The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) is hosting a Conference on Diverse Philanthropy and Leadership in Indianapolis this April.
From the Chronicle of Philanthropy, an opinion piece by Michele Norris of NPR and Sean Gibbons the Communications Network, talks about how nonprofits and foundations unwittingly perpetuate racism, and offer some possible solutions of how to stop in the latest issue of Change Agent, the journal of the Communications Network.
In doing a little research on Black philanthropy for this post, I came across this resource that was new to me: Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE), “a philanthropic partnership for Black communities.” On their website there are articles, information about upcoming events, and resources.
While this is an old piece, it was the latest list I could find of top philanthropist of color from Inside Philanthropy in 2016. I suspect many on this list would still be there in 2019, but I am curious to know how the list may have changed.
Happy Black History Month!
February 3, 2019 § Leave a comment
Great news! I’m back. Looking back at the last time I posted on this blog, it was right around the same time my job at Bryn Mawr College changed, so that explains a lot. It was also not long after we took our current campaign public, and, well, not to make excuses, but the truth is I have been putting my energies elsewhere. I miss writing, so I resolved this year to put a little more time here, if only to write about what I am reading.
More great news! The outlook is rosy for philanthropy broadly, according to the latest Philanthropy Outlook from Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Marts & Lundy.
Both, it turns out, have their strenghts, and can be supportive of one another. This article from the Chronicle of Philanthropy (subscritption required) gives some useful pointers to fundraisers who are more introvert than extrovert, and also suggests team work, playing to individual strengths for overall organizational success.
The always astute Helen Brown writes about the importance of knowing your donors and makes a strong case for always including your prospect researcher at the strategy table. Do you really know your donors and the source of their wealth? By accepting large donations, are you putting your institution at risk of getting entangled with a donor’s scandal? More importantly, do you have a gift acceptance policy, and do you follow it?
From Nonprofit AF, some great food for thought just in time for Black History Month. This post about treating “funder fragility” like white fragility invites funders to examine and challenge the power dynamic between themselves and the organizations they support.
Another from Nonprofit AF gave me pause and made me think. This post argues that organizations should NOT solicit their employees, and lays out some pretty persuasive arguments. Every fiber of my being resists this as it goes against everything I have learned throughout my career. Fundraising is a profession that is vastly misunderstood and undervalued, and many professionals already feel a certain lack of self-esteem (how many times have you heard someone say “I’m just a fundraiser,” or worse, heard it said about someone else…”she’s just a fundraiser.”). It doesn’t help that I have worked for an organization that, at holiday time, invites its employees to make charitable contributions to a handful of community organizations, excluding the one that they work for! Needless to say the effort to establish a culture of philanthropy (essential for philanthropic success) is challenged there. Nevertheless, this post gave me something to think about.
Finally, a post from LinkedIn about alumni engagement caught my interest, making a strong argument for human capital campaigns, in addition to fundraising campaigns. This topic is right up my alley, in that alumnae engagement has become the focus of my work. The main point of the article is fundraising, as it is widely known that volunteers are more likely to also be generous donors. What the article doesn’t address, however, is succession planning and readiness of volunteers. To ensure that important donors are successful and have good experiences in their roles it benefits organizations to be forward-thinking in forging relationships and building a deep bench of candidates for key volunteer roles so that you have people who are prepared, ready and wanting to step into important leadership roles. A human capital campaign in the short-term might be able to address some of the needs for long-term succession planning.
Please share! Your thoughts, or other philanthropic readings of note!
February 24, 2014 § Leave a comment
Philanthropy Trends: The more things change, the more they stay the same
In the readings that I have focused on this past month, what I have been seeing is new trends in philanthropy, and yet more of the same.
Following on last month’s analysis of mega-gifts and increased philanthropy, there have already been numerous announcements in 2014 of huge gifts. This includes Harvard’s largest gift from a single donor, Ken Griffin gave the University $150 million, announced on February 19. Since the beginning of the year there have been many gifts of $50 million or more. You can receive weekly news alerts for these gifts by subscribing to NOZA.
Additionally, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported in February that in 2013 there was a “surge in giving” from America’s wealthiest, including notable gifts like Mark Zuckerberg’s $1 billion (with a B) to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, $750 million from Texas oil tycoon George Mitchell to his family foundation in support of sustainability, and $500 million from Phil Knight to support cancer research at Oregon Health & Science University.
Is the mega gift actually back? This article from Forbes says that it will not be long for this world, according to a new survey of young beneficiaries.
According to Chronicle of Philanthropy, gifts to colleges and universities are trending upwards, with a ten percent increase over 2012. Alums are giving larger gifts, though the number of individual donors is trending down. Personally, I’d like to see what we in the business call higher participation levels. Everybody: give to your alma mater! It’s important.
This article from Spear’s (a magazine about wealth management), supports transparent philanthropy. That is, it opposes anonymous giving. I found this to be a refreshing piece in the way it shines a light on the complications and administrative burdens to a charitable organization that are required by anonymous gifts. Though the article doesn’t focus on this, I do support non-anonymous giving if only for the fact that standing as an example to others in the community and may encourage others to be more philanthropic.
More from the Chron of Phil on philanthropy trends from the One Percent: Some are criticising the signers of The Giving Pledge for not giving towards the world’s most urgent problems. Donors gave more in 2013, but some say that many are joining more for public relations purposes, and some sign but are not giving to capacity right away, making their philanthropic plans for later in life. Defenders of The Pledge say that it influences more effective giving, and encourages philanthropy in general. Additionally, there is a focus on recruiting international donors.
Talking of which…
USA! We’re Number One!
This is particularly striking given that the U.S. is the source of the Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.
Spear’s has some interesting analysis on the results of the study, too.
This month in “Duh!”
So, about that up tic in philanthropic gifts? Yes, it does signal economic recovery, I suppose, but also, it requires trained professionals and strong, positive organizational culture. While the focus is on health care, two new studies by the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy conclude that there is a direct correlation between investing in fundraising professionals and increasing fundraising revenue. You can read about it in the Chronicle of Philanthropy (subscription required).
Local News – Philadelphia
News near and dear to my heart, Kim Cassidy was confirmed president of Bryn Mawr College. Anassa Kata!
Villanova class does good through documentaries – Students at Villanova are learning how to make documentary films that tell the story of local charitable organizations. Doing good.
Cool, Random, and Noteworthy:
Pope’s Harley goes for $327,000 at charity auction – That’s right, the Pope had a Harley Davidson, and the proceeds of its sale went to support a soup kitchen in Rome. This Pope is super bad. Like, totally sick. Just saying.
This could fit into the local category too: Local fundraising consultant Pamela Grow wrote a very nice piece on her blog about what motivates people to give: It’s personal. Amen, sister.
I enjoyed this piece from the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) by Fay Twersky, the director of the Effective Philanthropy Group at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. She argues against “strategic philanthropy”, and advocates for more risk, and less certainty in philanthropy. She gently and subtly presses for less focus on outcomes and metrics and more creativity, innovation, and learning from beneficiaries. How very Silicon Valley.
In a similar vein, and also from SSIR, Phill Buchanan from the Center for Effective Philanthropy writes about Five Myths that Perpetuate Poor Philanthropic Strategy.
What are you reading?
February 14, 2009 § Leave a comment
Since I study finance, wealth, and people for a living, I have a great deal of exposure to tools and information that help people understand the economic crisis. You can find my bookmarks on Delicious.
While all of the sites that I bookmark there are worthwhile, there are some that I think are exceptional:
- Planet Money: Their blog and podcast offer unconventional and innovative reporting on the financial crisis. It’s entertaining and informative, explaining complicated concepts in terms almost anyone can understand. Some of their stories are featured on numerous NPR programs, so if you’re an NPR geek like me, you’re certain to have heard them. They also encourage audience participation. Upload a photo to their Flickr page, post a question to them through their Facebook group or Twitter, subscribe to the blog in your RSS feed, and listen to the podcasts. You’ll better understand these complicated economic times and how they could be effecting you.
- IGM Forum: A web resource started by faculty members from the Initiative on Global Markets at the University of Chicago Booth School of Busines. The University of Chicago has long been known for its intellectual leadership in the world of finance and economics, and this crisis is no exception. Faculty members are regularly consulted by the media for thier analysis of the credit crisis and what it means for the future. While this is not a website with the intent to breakdown complicated economic policy like Planet Money, it is probably one of the primary resources that Planet Money would consult.
- Speaking of Faith’s Repossessing Virtue: The wonderful radio program Speaking of Faith (SOF) launched this series on the economic crisis in the fall of 2008. Producers of SOF have gone back to interview previous guests to hear their responses and analysis of the financial crisis. This series offers thought provoking commentary regarding the spiritual and emotional side of this crisis and what it means for us. What’s offered here are lessons of mindfulness, responsibility, and values that can help us make economic choices that are sustainable and ethical.
As always, I’m interested in more resources, so I encourage readers to share their favorites.