Civic Engagement

(Another) Cautionary Tale for School Reformers

May 15, 2014

Ras Baraka, the winner of this week’s special election for mayor of Newark, New Jersey, staked a big part of his campaign on his opposition to the school-reform effort backed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Under former mayor Cory Booker, who recently decamped to the U.S. Senate, Mr. Zuckerberg’s foundation had poured $100 million into a sweeping attempt to overhaul the city’s public education system. His gift drew an equal amount from other national donors, all deposited in the newly formed Foundation for Newark’s Future.

How Does Competition Affect Grantmaking, and What Can be Done?

February 11, 2014

Several speakers at the Foundation Impact Research Group (FIRG) have observed, at least in passing, that competition among grantees for foundation grant dollars is increasing. But what are competition’s implications for foundations and grantees? At this fall’s conference of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations (ARNOVA), researchers presented new work that helps illuminate this question.

Heroic (but not Strategic) Philanthropy in Detroit

January 23, 2014

A while ago, we noted some provocative remarks about strategy and philanthropy by Robert Gallucci, president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Speaking at a session of the Foundation Impact Research Group (FIRG), Mr. Gallucci pointed out that some of his foundation’s more interesting and important work is not strategic in nature.

Taking Strategy All The Way to Implementation

January 8, 2014

Discussions of strategic philanthropy, with their emphasis on big ideas and root causes, can sometimes treat the implementation of new policies as essentially a tactical matter — important, maybe, but not really strategic. In this guest post, the former director of Strategic Learning and Evaluation for The Atlantic Philanthropies takes on this bias, citing an example of smart philanthropy in Ireland that involves plenty of big ideas, but that puts effective implementation at the center of its strategic agenda.

 

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