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The Foundation Review Vol. 10, Issue 1 March 2018 (full issue PDF) - LearnPhilanthropy

The Foundation Review Vol. 10, Issue 1 March 2018 (full issue PDF)


This volume marks our tenth year.


This volume marks our tenth year of publishing The Foundation Review. It has been gratifying to see the growth in readership and the many ways in which people are using and referencing articles. We are committed to continuing to provide a rigorous but readable resource for those seeking to improve the practice of philanthropy. Our deepest thanks to the authors, advisors, reviewers, and issue sponsors who share that commitment.

The first article in this issue addresses two perennial issues in the field: effective funder collaboration and culturally responsive philanthropy. Bosma, Martínez, Villaluz, Tholkes, Anderson, Brokenleg, and Matter examine how three organizations collaborated on work to reduce commercial tobacco use in Minnesota’s Indian Country. By pooling their learning — not only their funding — they were able to develop strategies that are com- patible with the traditional use of tobacco while addressing the harmful effects of greater tobacco use.

Funders with a place-based mission have challenges in assessing their long-term impact on a community. Balestri presents the case of an Italian foundation that developed a tailored approach to evaluating the durable benefits of its local philanthropic activity.

Systemic change involves deep shifts in social norms, beliefs, power, and privilege — and seldom, if ever, follows a straightforward, predictable path. Parsons and Krenn have developed the PCI Reflective Evaluation Framework, an approach now in prototype form, which is grounded in practical thinking about working within complex social systems. This article focuses on its use in advancing racial equity, describing possible applications to integrate a racial equity lens in unpacking and addressing the complexity of systemic change. The article is supplemented by commentary from several field leaders (Yu, Kelly, Alberti and Lee) who reflect on the framework in practice.

Rizzo examines two philanthropic responses to the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016, a tragedy that particularly impacted the region’s growing Latinx LGBT community. The Central Florida Foundation and the Our Fund Foundation learned from each other and in doing so, were able to make important contributions to their community and to the field of crisis philanthropy.

Family philanthropy is beginning to emerge in new regions of the world. Lu and Huang examine the development of two Chinese family foundations — the Lao Niu Foundation and the Lu Jiaxiang Foundation. The case studies provide rare insights into Chinese philanthropy and how government policy influences development of foundations.

Another of the perennial discussions in philanthropy is the call for transparency. Reid examines transparent and opaque practice in private philanthropy, using literature reviews and interviews with foundation staff, trustees, and grantees. He addresses whether opacity exists in private philanthropy and how foundations and grantees have sought to overcome challenges related to opacity. While private philanthropy has great legal discretion regarding transparent practice, transparent and opaque practices impact their reputation and inhibit or support their activities.

Easterling and McDuffee take a different angle in the ongoing discussion about strategic philanthropy. They explored how foundations become strategic and identified four pathways: expanding and improving relevant services; creating more effective systems; changing policy; and encouraging more equitable power structures. The article also considers how a foundation can develop a strategic pathway that fits with its mission, values, philosophy, resources, and sphere of influence.

There has been an increasing emphasis in the philanthropic sector on using data to inform decision-making. Hawthorn, Brennan, and Greenwood describe a partnership between the Community Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development, a university research unit. Partnerships between universities and foundations are sometimes challenging; this article examines the origins of the collaboration and the lessons that have been learned from it.

The issue concludes with a review of Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector by Jeanne Liedtka, Randy Salzman, & Daisy Azer. Sipe believes it is an excellent practical resource on a practice that has gained popularity in the business press and academic literature.

We hope you enjoy this issue and we appreciate your support. We look forward to many more years of service to the sector.

Teresa R. Behrens, Ph.D.
Editor in Chief, The Foundation Review
Director, Institute for Foundation and Donor Learning,
Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University