Facebook: Telephone or Television?

Fifteen years ago I was at a conference of community foundations and had the opportunity to participate in a discussion session with Dr. Robert Putnam, a political scientist at Harvard University. Putnam was there to talk with us about the loss of social capital in the United States. Think of social capital as the relationships,Continue reading “Facebook: Telephone or Television?”

How Gender Impacts Charitable Giving

Charities have long known that women are more likely to contribute than men, but new research has uncovered some remarkable differences when it comes to each gender’s approach to philanthropy. Where Do Men and Women Give? Gender Differences in the Motivations and Purposes for Charitable Giving is a new study that was released in SeptemberContinue reading “How Gender Impacts Charitable Giving”

Community Philanthropy

“Participation is the new endowment.” With the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation’s release of a report titled “The Value of Community Philanthropy,” a panel discussion of experts was convened to discuss the issue. It was there that I came across this quote from Janet Topolsky. As the Director of the Community Strategies Group at the AspenContinue reading “Community Philanthropy”

When Charity Shouldn’t Act Like a Business

“Nonprofits should be more like business.” It’s a headline that is increasingly seen atop newspaper editorials and articles in business journals. The concept is simple. If nonprofit organizations would simply act more like for-profit businesses, they’d do a better job serving the community. There is a certain amount of truth to this belief. Indeed, goodContinue reading “When Charity Shouldn’t Act Like a Business”

A New Tool for Giving

It took nearly 10 years, four renewals of temporary laws, two budget crises, and one government shutdown, but eventually our friends in Washington finally came together to give our communities a powerful tool for charitable giving both today and in estate plans. On Dec. 18, new legislation was signed into law which restored and madeContinue reading “A New Tool for Giving”

Endowment Funds: The Gift That Keeps Giving

Math is a wonderful thing. You can talk all day long in an attempt to convince and cajole a person into doing what you want, but those are just words. They are arguments designed to persuade someone to believe something you cannot definitively prove. With math, however, there is no such ambiguity. Consider for aContinue reading “Endowment Funds: The Gift That Keeps Giving”

Philanthropy’s Tectonic Shift Continues

In last month’s column I wrote there’s a “tectonic shift occurring that has the potential to fundamentally change the world of philanthropy.” I noted that many funders are beginning to see the limitations inherent in Strategic Philanthropy, the dominant concept in awarding grants the last few decades. Strategic Philanthropy involves turning a successful pilot projectContinue reading “Philanthropy’s Tectonic Shift Continues”

A Tectonic Shift in the World of Philanthropy

Although few outside the philanthropic world realize it, we are in the midst of a monumental philosophical debate on how to use charitable dollars so they have the greatest impact on society. The outcome of this discussion will have enormous implications for the manner in which charitable dollars will be granted out to nonprofit organizationsContinue reading “A Tectonic Shift in the World of Philanthropy”