Alliance Magazine – #ShiftThePower: the rise of community philanthropy

Guest editors of the December 2016 issue of Alliance magazine Jenny Hodgson and Barry Knight explore the issues of community philanthropy, durable development, and the collective sharing of resources.   In this special feature on community philanthropy, we propose a new paradigm called ‘durable development’. This involves shifting power closer to the ground, giving agency to local people and their organizations on the principle that they should have greater control of their own destinies. The growing field of community philanthropy has much to contribute towards such a paradigm shift because it marks a distinct break with many of the conventions Read more

Categories: History, Role in Society, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

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Celebrating 100 Years of Community Foundations: Stories and Lessons from 35 Years of Supporting the Community Foundation Field

The goal of this microsite is to share what the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has learned in more than 35 years of supporting the field, offer key insights, and highlight our legacy of partnering with community foundations in a way that advances the vital work they do to strengthen their communities.  

Categories: History, Role in Society

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Changing roles in a changing world

Anthony Tomei writes about the changing global economic structure and how it relates to philanthropy: The collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 seems to mark a symbolic moment at which the world changed. The changes were felt very differently in different parts of the world, but it seems likely that the resulting shift in the balance of economic power will turn out to be permanent. What about philanthropy? Five years on, how do things look? How have foundations responded?  Have they changed the way they see their role and the way they do things? These are the questions this Alliance special feature Read more

Categories: History, Role in Society

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Exposing Real World Philanthropy to the Next Generation of Social Work Leaders

This article describes a method for instructing social work students in the art of enhanced collaboration with foundations, shifting the focus from “writing a winning proposal” and “finding alternative funding sources” to “developing collaborative partnerships for sustainable community development and social change.” The program consists of four major steps: charitable foundation review and case presentation, self-guided review of real-world proposals, mock grant proposal development, and side-by-side proposal review. Student proposals were rated similarly by the instructor and the foundation program officer, even though different criteria were used, suggesting that well-written proposals are also likely to clearly address foundation information needs. Read more

Categories: History, Role in Society

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Freedom Funders: Philanthropy and the Civil Rights Movement

This resource includes three approaches that today’s foundations can learn from the Freedom Funders in our ongoing fight to protect civil rights: Grantmakers should intentionally prioritize underserved communities in developing and implementing strategy. They should involve those most affected by injustice, such as by funding organizations committed to grassroots organizing and advocacy. They should utilize tools such as equity analysis to examine structural barriers that keep certain communities from equal life opportunities. Anything less and foundations risk reinforcing the very inequities they claim to address.

Categories: History, Role in Society

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Giving in Minnesota

Giving in Minnesota is the Minnesota Council on Foundation’s definitive report on charitable giving in Minnesota with the latest figures on grantmaking by individual donors, foundations and corporate grantmakers.

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Global ‘next gen’ trends

Jason Franklin explores the meaning of ‘next gen’ donors: I’ve been a ‘next gen’ donor for 13 years, ever since I began getting involved in philanthropy after discovering as a graduate student that my family had a small foundation. Slowly philanthropy began to permeate every part of my life. Even as I continued working as a community organizer it emerged as part of my academic work, where I began to research the impact of philanthropy on policy change; as a volunteer, I became a deeply engaged board member of several foundations. Finally, in 2010, I shifted my professional work into Read more

Categories: History, Role in Society

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Moving Philanthropy from the Margins to the Center

Moving philanthropy from the margins to the center of scholarly inquiry permits a task at the heart of any inquiry about democracy: understanding the complex division between what is public and what is private, tracing the evolution of that division over time, identifying the public dimensions of private wealth and power, and recognizing when private action supports or, alternatively, threatens the public interest.  

Categories: History, Role in Society

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New horizons

Filiz Bikmen writes about emerging economies and philanthropy: The economic boom of BRICS and MINT countries coupled with the unequal distribution of this growth presents new opportunities and challenges for philanthropy in emerging markets. Among them are different approaches to giving, lukewarm relationships with civil society organizations (CSOs), hesitation about funding ‘unpopular’ issues and the arduous task of building the field of philanthropy. In light of the observations of contributors to this issue, which trends appear to be affecting philanthropic ecosystems in emerging market countries, and what lies ahead?

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Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2017

This publication is an annual industry forecast about the ways we use private resources for public benefit. Each year, the Blueprint provides an overview of the current landscape, points to major trends, and directs your attention to horizons where you can expect some important breakthroughs in the coming year.

Categories: History, Role in Society

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Setting the record straight: debunking philanthropic myths

Although much has been written about ‘what donors believe’ and ‘how modern foundations work’, hard data about how private foundation donors view themselves, their roles, and the non-profits they support is relatively scarce. With almost 1,200 US-based private foundation clients, Foundation Source is well positioned to put some of the common assumptions about this sector to the test. Last November, we carried out a survey of our clients that debunked some of philanthropy’s most established axioms – especially those relating to foundation attitudes to non-profits.

Categories: History, Role in Society, Grantmaking, Organization Learning and Evaluation 

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The Alliance magazine September issue – Philanthropy’s diversity challenge

Philanthropy’s diversity challenge ‘Nothing about us without us’ was a slogan coined by disability rights activists to communicate the idea that no policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members of the group(s) affected. Many working in philanthropy would be sympathetic to this principle. Being in touch with the people you aim to serve is not just a sound moral imperative but also likely to make an effective philanthropic strategy. A lack of diversity on boards and at staff level ‘probably limits their intelligence about what is happening on the ground’ notes European Foundation Centre Chief Executive, Gerry Salole, who suggests that foundations would be well advised to Read more

Categories: History, Role in Society, Strategic Philanthropy, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion









The power of money

Stephen Pittam discusses the power of money: Six months after I had started working for the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) a close friend said to me, ‘you have changed – you expect people to listen to you.’ It was a good reminder of the best piece of advice I received on getting the job. Eric Adams of the Barrow Cadbury Trust told me, ‘keep your feet on the ground and you will be alright’.

Categories: History, Role in Society, Standards, Codes, and Ethics

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The Power to Produce Wonders: First Ever Report to Examine the Value of Family Participation in Philanthropy

Based on two years of research, this report is the first ever in-depth examination of the value of family philanthropy to the family, to communities and to democracy.

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What can philanthropy do for Syria?

The war in Syria is now in its fourth year. It has cost over 200,000 lives, put 12 million people in need of humanitarian assistance inside the country (USAID) and displaced 10 million, more than 3 million of whom have fled abroad as refugees. All of this has earned Syria a number of unappealing superlatives: ‘the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era’ (UNHCR); the creator of the ‘worst refugee crisis since the second world war’ (The Economist); and the world’s ‘worst crisis for children’ (UN). With a few notable exceptions, however, western philanthropists have not engaged in Syria.

Categories: History, Role in Society, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

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What Is a Family Foundation?

Family foundations are important institutions, making up a significant portion of the foundation universe and having both local and global impact. Yet we have no shared definition of this diverse and evolving category. Clarifying the definition will help challenge persistent misconceptions, get perspective on the diversity, and improve foundations’ understanding of their own family dimensions. This article surveys the different definitions of family foundation that are, and have been, used by key organizations in the field and by researchers. It also reviews examples of the variations and complicating factors that make answering the title question difficult. A single or simple Read more

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What’s Next for Philanthropy: Acting Bigger and Adapting Better in a Networked World

What’s Next for Philanthropy: Acting Bigger and Adapting Better in a Networked World argues that while philanthropic innovation over the last decade has been mostly about improving the effectiveness, efficiency and responsiveness of individual organizations, the next practices of the coming 10 years will build on those efforts to include an additional focus on coordination and adaption—acting bigger and adapting better.

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What’s Next for Philanthropy?

Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, What’s Next for Philanthropy argues that while the cutting edge of philanthropic innovation over the last decade has been mostly about improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and responsiveness of individual organizations, the next practices of the coming 10 years will have to build on those efforts to include an additional focus on coordination and adaption–acting bigger and adapting better.  

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