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Philanthropy Lessons: The Power Dynamic

Funders must be aware of the power dynamic that exists between those who give away money and those who rely on philanthropic gifts, be empathetic to it, and be supportive. When we acknowledge this dynamic, bring grantees into the conversation, and build authentic, trusting relationships, we increase the opportunity to create meaningful impact together. In the newest video in our Philanthropy Lessons series and campaign, learn how to work well with grantees and hear how relationship building can help funders manage the power dynamic.





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Rethinking the funding equation: Can general operating support become the new normal?

This blog is about nonprofit leaders raising their voices on the issue of operating support and the great need for unrestricted funding.  





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Ramping Up Your Foundation: Key Considerations for Planning and Managing a Significant Increase in Giving

This guide is designed to help foundations thoughtfully and responsibly plan for a significant ramp up in giving and/or adjust to a sudden infusion of assets. Drawing on the experiences of a number of foundations that have undergone this transition, the primer addresses key considerations for foundation leadership in the areas of governance, staffing and operations, grantmaking and evaluation, investments, and tax and legal arenas.





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Sharing What Matters: Foundation Transparency

The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) examined the perspectives of foundation CEOs and learned that there is much agreement on the audiences for their transparency efforts. Foundation CEOs also agree about what they believe is the most important information to share with those audiences.





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Community Investment: Focusing on the System

This paper reviews some of our initial work on community investment (CI) as system. Our goal in writing it is threefold: • To encourage people to think about the system for organizing CI demand, • To suggest ways to make the system visible and tractable in a given place, and • To offer some suggestions based on current and past efforts on how to make the CI system more robust.





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Too Good to be True? The Opportunity and Cost of the $1 Building

This report reflects on 17 arts organizations’ experiences with $1 buildings. It shares their lessons about how best to assess, prepare for, and structure these opportunities in order to achieve positive outcomes for arts and cultural organizations, funders, and communities.







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Strengthening the Human Services Sector

The Kresge Foundation held a symposium with leaders of national networks and umbrella human services nonprofits on April 4, 2014, at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C. The goals of the symposium were to: 1. Identify the major challenges and issues in the current environment that affect the capacity of human services organizations and networks to effectively deliver services. 2. Provide an opportunity for human services leaders to share knowledge and expertise with peers while forming new relationships and partnerships. 3. Develop actionable recommendations to assist in the transformation of the human services sector. This document distills the themes of Read more





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Goal-Free Evaluation: An Orientation for Foundations’ Evaluations

Goal-free evaluation (GFE), in program evaluation, is a model in which the official or stated program goals and objectives are withheld or screened from the evaluator. Several obstacles must be overcome in persuading foundations and programs to consider GFE as a viable option, because both tend to view goal attainment as intuitively and inextricably linked to evaluation. This article presents the case for GFE as a perspective that belongs in a foundation’s toolbox. In particular, this article demonstrates GFE’s actual use, highlights aspects of its methodology, and details its potential benefits.





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Influences of Venture Philanthropy on Nonprofits’ Funding: The Current State of Practices, Challenges, and Lessons

This article looks at the current state of venture philanthropy practices in the nonprofit sector, based on data from a survey of 124 nonprofits that engage in venture philanthropy. The survey probes to what degree nonprofit funders are implementing core activities of venture philanthropy – use of market-based funding instruments, providing strategic assistance, board participation, and use of social and financial performance criteria. Seven venture philanthropy organizations were also interviewed for this article. Various tactics they have used to mitigate internal and external tensions are examined, including complying with diverse interests to balance conflicting views if internal tension is moderate Read more





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Activating the Power of Place: A Case Study of Market Creek

This article tells the story of a placed-based initiative to develop well-being and wealth in the historically underserved Diamond Neighborhood in San Diego, and discusses the place-based philosophy of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and the foundation’s motivation for place-based work. Its theory of change is presented through examples, along with the entry points the foundation chose for engagement and how it developed community capacity to engage effectively in this change work.