Interview with Paula Jancso Fabiani

At the beginning of September, Paula Jancso Fabiani took over from Marcos Kisil as president of Brazil’s Institute for the Development of Social Investment (IDIS). She talks to Caroline about an advocacy role for IDIS, developing a culture of giving in Brazil, the role of tax incentives, the credibility of NGOs, and the role of women in the country’s non-profit sector. Below, Marcos Kisil talks about the early days of IDIS, the challenges ahead and the leadership transition.


People: philanthropy’s great strength

Pick up any edition of Alliance from the past few years, and one message is clear. In truly unprecedented ways, the global philanthropy sector is on the move, popping up in new places, growing in scale, diversifying in form, and, more than ever before, stretching to tackle the momentous challenges that define our times such as climate change, food and water security, and immigration. While there is much talk of the financial resources needed for success, much less attention is paid to the equally if not more important human resources.


Collective Impact Forum

This is the place for those practicing collective impact to find the tools, resources, and advice they need. It’s a network of individuals coming together to share experience and knowledge to accelerate the effectiveness and adoption of collective impact.


Top Readings and Resources on Learning From Failure

Over the past several years, there has been discussion in the world of philanthropy about failure. Here is a collection of ideas about failure – whether you learn more from it than success, how you learn from it, how organizations look at it, and the importance of failure in achieving eventual success. These different viewpoints on failure and learning come from both the field of philanthropy and from other sectors. Following Up on Failure – from The Chronicle of Philanthropy regarding learning from failure Failing Forward – posted on both Lucy Bernholz’s Philanthropy 2173 and Alliance Magazine’s blog Exploring Failure – Stanford Social Innovation Review Embracing Failure at Read more


Expert Q & A: How can we make learning fun for new grantmakers?

By: Jessica Bearman, principal, Bearman Consulting I went to Google and did a quick search on “Fun and Learning” and quickly noticed that with or without the quotation marks, all the hits were resources for kids. Searching on Adults Learning and Fun yielded a bunch of websites devoted to icebreakers… as though fun can be part of learning, as long as it’s contained at the beginning of the meeting or workshop. And so then I asked myself: “What makes learning fun and how can fun make learning better?”  Based on what we know about how adults learn, here are some quick Read more


Expert Q & A: How do learning needs and styles differ across generations, and how can family foundations teach philanthropy to the next generation?

By: Sharna Goldseker, Executive Director at 21/64 From your work across multiple generations in philanthropic organizations, what are you seeing as key learning needs? Much of the work we’ve been doing at 21/64 for the past twelve years coincides with research that shows each generation brings a unique set of values, skills, and experiences to the philanthropic table. The first key learning need is around values clarification, which we believe leads not only to better working relationships among funders but also to more effective philanthropy. Beginning to uncover one’s own values and learn what values motivate others is critical to bridging the generational divide. Often, Read more


Expert Q & A: How can philanthropic organizations create a learning culture even while “leading under pressure?”

By: Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten, Associate Dean and Clinical Full Professor, University of Michigan Ross School of Business; co-author with Dr. Erika Hayes James, Leading Under Pressure: From Surviving to Thriving Before, During, and After a Crisis For the last decade my co-author, Erika James, and I have researched how organizations lead under pressure and especially in crisis situations. Although most organizations do not frequently confront crises, leading under pressure has become a new norm. Pressurized situations can be the result of budget constraints, time limitations, stakeholders’ demands, shortage of resources or employee strife.   From our research, we discovered that Read more


Expert Q & A: What can someone working at a corporation in an area unrelated to corporate philanthropy do to orient himself or herself when joining the corporate citizenship team?

By: Ann Cramer, director, Americas, IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs 1.   Get a basic orientation of your own corporate culture, values, and direction – corporate philanthropy and citizenship today is a lot different than employee engagement (volunteerism) with “tee shirts and balloons,” or even community relations and contributions.  Use local corporate donor groups as well as the Council on Foundations and United Philanthropy Forum affiliates to learn with and from colleagues. 2.  Read some of the really key/basic works.  For example: Rosabeth Moss Kanter”s “From Spare Change to Real Change;” The work of Michael Porter, Mark Kramer, John Kania on  foundation strategy, collective impact, shared value; Read more


Expert Q & A: What can someone new to grantmaking, but joining a foundation in mid-career, do to accelerate his or her learning curve in this new field?

By: Judy Mohraz, trustee, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust 1.   Start by getting a handle on the soul of philanthropy, as well as the work of philanthropy.  Read the key works, for example: Mark Constantine’s Wit and Wisdom: Unleashing the Philanthropic Imagination; Joel Fleishman’s book, The Foundation:  A Great American Secret; Harvard Business Review articles on strategy written by Mark Kramer, Michael Porter, and others. 2.  Get some exposure, if you don’t already have it (and if you do, don’t let it lapse…) to non-profits and the pressure they live under every day.  Know the basic mechanics of good governance, in a non-profit context, and the Read more


Expert Q & A: How can African-American philanthropy professionals network more effectively?

By: Karen McNeil-Miller, president and CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation Find/Create a network of other African-Americans as one of the many professional/social/personal networks you seek to form. Join and become an active member of ABFE (Association for Black Foundation Executives) Intentionally seek out and request one-on-one conversations with: Several experienced African-American executives to provide perspective; Executive Director of ABFE; Prominent African-American philanthropists in your town. Don’t allow yourself to be viewed as solely responsible to represent and be sensitive to the minority perspective in your foundation.