In Foundations

Micronews on philanthropy.

Connecting Online Play To Philanthropy

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Like dozens of other online virtual worlds for kids, Elf Island offers games; earned points to accessorize users’ customized elfin avatars (complete with hair, clothing and facial features); and the ability to safely chat with players from around the globe.

But Elf Island players also solve mazes, tend to virtual gardens and race vehicles in diversions that might look like other online games but also achieve a real-life result when thousands of players successfully finish them.

For example, when 10,000 Elf Island users completed last month’s home-building GoodQuest game, the outcome was a $20,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity that allowed the nonprofit group to build a real house for a family in Central America.

Full article here.

Filed under: giving, innovation, youth

FDN Ctr Pres: These Nonprofits “Too Big To Fail”

From PhilanTopic, by Bradford Smith (Pres. of Foundation Center):

2008 was the year of the bailout, in which the giants of finance and industry were lent a generous helping hand by their friends in the U.S. government, generally because they were considered “too big to fail.” Leaving the irony aside that, in many cases, the result was to create bigger institutions whose future failure could pose even greater risk to the world financial system, it got me thinking about the nonprofit equivalent of “too big to fail.”

The following would be my candidates for nonprofit organizations that are too big, too important, or too (blank) to fail. . . .

Full article here.

Via @pndblog.

Filed under: giving

Oil Down; Russian Philanthropy Future Questioned

From the Moscow Times:

[A] big question mark hangs over . . . philanthropic activity as the global economic crisis takes its toll.

“The question is what will happen in 2009?” said Maria Chertok, Russia director of Britain’s Charities Aid Foundation. “I have a feeling that this activity is folding.”

Chertok said she feared that corporate donors would cut contributions by at least a third this year.

Oil companies are among the biggest donors, and their profit margins are in doubt after world oil prices plunged from a high of $143 per barrel last summer to about $40 today. . . .

TNK-BP, the third-largest oil firm, is reviewing its philanthropic spending, spokeswoman Marina Dracheva said. “Spending for these purposes will not increase. This is obvious,” she said.

Potential cuts could hit a wide variety of institutions and communities, ranging from small Far North settlements in companies’ production areas to fine arts establishments in Moscow.

Full article here.

Filed under: giving, international

Foundation Program Officers Like Venture Capitalists?

By Sasha Dichter of the Acumen Fund:

One of the big unanswered questions in the nonprofit space is how new, innovative, effective nonprofits can raise enough capital to grow big and expand their impact.  At the core of the conversation is the fact that, unlike in for-profit markets, there’s no clear and established way for nonprofits to raise money around a great idea and a great team.

The ideal proxy, in my opinion, is the venture capital business. . . .

[T]here are a number of features of the venture investing world that will be very unfamiliar to the nonprofit space, and we would have to figure out how to tackle these if we expect to make progress:

  1. Acceptance of failure. . . .
  2. Betting on people and teams first. . . . 
  3. Clear path to exit. . . . 
  4. Aligned incentives between the venture investor and the entrepreneur. . . .
  5. We’re in this together. . . .

Full article here.

Follow-up article at Tactical Philanthropy here.

Filed under: giving, innovation

Rhode Island Fdn. Announces Black Philanthropy Initiative

From the Rhode Island Foundation:

Join us February 10 for the public launch of the Black Philanthropy Initiative, a field of interest fund at the Rhode Island Foundation.

The mission of the Black Philanthropy Initiative is to advance equity and social justice for Blacks in Rhode Island. BPI is a permanently endowed fund that engages Black Rhode Islanders and other interested Rhode Islanders as active philanthropists to address challenges in the Black community. Through strategic grantmaking, BPI will support organizations and initiatives that:

  • Measurably improve the status of Blacks in Rhode Island
  • Pursue equality, opportunity, and prosperity in the economic, cultural, social, educational, health, and public policy spheres; and
  • Galvanize Black Leadership, nurture public/private partnerships, and leverage additional community resources

Via @KakieF

Filed under: giving

Foundation Giving Rose 13.2%: Report

According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, writing on a new report by the Foundation Center:

Grant making in 2007 by more than 1,300 of the nation’s largest foundations rose 13.2 percent over the previous year, reaching $21.6-billion, according to a new survey by the Foundation Center.

This growth occurred despite signs, particularly in the latter half of the year, that presaged the current recession, says the report on the survey. . . .

The total number of grants awarded by the sampled foundations rose 7.1 percent, from 140,484 to 150,392.

More here and here.

Via @Philanthropy.

Filed under: giving

Charity Navigator: Ratings Influential

From the Charity Navigator blog:

[The] Wisconsin Capital Times has an article about the Madison Children’s Museum. Reporter Pat Schneider takes a close at the charity’s 1-star rating and how it may impact the organization’s ability to raise enough funds to complete its expansion plans. While the charity dismisses the possibility that its donors will be influenced by its low rating, Schneider cites new research by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee assistant professor Daniel Neely that shows changes in a charity’s Charity Navigator rating correlate to a change in contributions.

More here.

Filed under: giving, performance

Maine Women’s Fund: 25 Random Things About Philanthropy

From the Maine Women’s Fund:

There are a number of things that I can dork out to. Philanthropy is high on that list… Right up there next to the US Constitution, network theory, and Facebook. . . . So, in the spirit of Facebook chain letters, here is a list of 25 Random Things that inspire me about philanthropy. What inspires you?

. . .

12. I believe that the tenets of Web 2.0 can make philanthropy better. As evidenced by a lot of things… but my personal favorites include our 2007/2008 grant making processBeth Canter’s experiments, and the really innovative partnership between the Case Foundation, GlobalGiving, Parade Magazine, and Network for Good.. . . 

14. The Tools of Web 2.0 are also making philanthropy better. Have you checked out the Maine Women’s Fund group on Facebook or the Maine Women’s Fund channel on You Tube?

Full post here.

Via @SpecialDee.

Filed under: giving, lessons

Celebrating African American Philanthropy

From Hometown Annapolis (MD):

Although we often hear about the outstanding philanthropic endeavors of Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods and Sheila Johnson, African American philanthropy is more often exercised at the grassroots, community level, under the radar screen. For generations, black churches have been at the center of African American philanthropy.

Full article here.

Filed under: giving

Big Donors’ Charity Choices

From Charity Navigator:

Last week, the Chronicle of Philanthropy released a report on the top 50 donors of 2008. Together, these donors pledge or gave $15.5 billion, which is more than twice what the most generous donors gave in 2007.

Follow the link to see where the charity dollars went.

Filed under: giving