A Hedgehog Moment: The Roles and Pitfalls of Strategic Philanthropy for Family Foundations and Donors

FavoriteThis article reviews books by foundation officials, consultants and academics that broadly emphasize the idea that “strategic philanthropy” in some form promises significant improvements in the quality of giving.

The Family Difference? Exploring the Congruence in Grant Distribution Patterns Between Family and Independent Foundations

FavoriteUsing a broad group of family and independent foundations from a representative sample of Georgia foundations, in this article the authors examined differences in giving patterns between family and independent foundations. These findings are relevant for discussions about the role of non-family members on boards.

Next-Generation Philanthropy: Examining a Next-Generation Jewish Philanthropic Network

FavoriteAs a result of mobility, philanthropy among a Millennial group of Jewish donors is becoming divorced from the communities in which their parents live. This group’s members generally perceive themselves as thinking and acting more strategically than past generations. They expect philanthropic organizations to operate with increased transparency, and those entities will need to adapt to these expectations in order to thrive.  

What Is a Family Foundation?

FavoriteThis 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.  

Helping Government Agencies Become More Effective and Efficient: Discovering ‘Catalytic Combinations’ in Public Child Welfare Reform

FavoriteThis article describes the work of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Casey Strategic Consulting Group in child and family services systems to improve system performance and outcomes. Called “catalytic combinations,” five types of levers were influenced in different combinations to promote change in several state systems. The initiative produced measurable improvements in key performance areas. The authors postulate that by influencing “levers of change” in combination, one can drive broad improvement in how overall systems operate. Influencing catalytic combinations creates sufficient startup results for improvement to continue over time.

Strengthening Democracy, Increasing Opportunities: Impacts of Advocacy, Organizing and Civic Engagement in the Gulf/Midsouth Region

FavoriteThis report looks at how 20 nonprofits in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi and their allies helped improved their communities and amplified the voices of underserved residents in the democratic process through policy engagement. These nonprofits leveraged foundation grants that generated a $114 return for every dollar spent.

Fusing Arts, Culture and Social Change

FavoriteThis report outlines compelling demographic, aesthetic and economic reasons for foundations to rethink their grantmaking practices to stay current with changes in the cultural sector and to continue to be relevant to the evolving needs of our communities. Regardless of its history or primary philanthropic focus, every foundation investing in the arts can make fairness and equity core principles of its grantmaking.

Can Feedback Fuel Change at Foundations?: An Analysis of the Grantee Perception Report

FavoriteThis brief report presents key findings about Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Grantee Perception Reports over the years, and includes candid comments by RWJF’s leadership — CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey and Vice President of Research and Evaluation, David Colby — as to how they’ve responded to some of those findings.