In my first post I mentioned that both Joan Spero and Stephen Heintz, speaking at the Foundation Center session in New York on Monday, had expressed disappointment in both press and academic coverage of private philanthropic foundations. I think they are right to be concerned, but the press situation is easier to understand. It has been true for some time that only a few reporters have ever been assigned to a philanthropy (much less a philanthropic foundation) beat, and few editors assign reporters to specific stories relating to the field.
This continues my reaction to Joan Spero’s Foundation Center presentation in New York on 17 May. As I noted yesterday, I found the paper well informed and an excellent overview of the current state of global philanthropy. I had earlier mentioned to Spero that I thought she was somewhat uncritical of the problematic aspects of the phenomenon, and I was pleased to find that she referred to several of the problems I had in mind in her prepared remarks.
It wasn’t too long ago that very few philanthropic foundations were designed, or would come to decide, to spend down their endowments and go out of business.
Disrupting Philanthropy: Technology and the Future of the Social Sector, by Lucy Bernholz with Edward Skloot and Barry Varela, is now available on the Center's website, at http://cspcs.sanford.duke.edu/publications/disrupting_philanthropy.
In the midst of the mess in 2009, TPI undertook a qualitative research project to find out what corporate philanthropic leaders—past and present—were thinking and doing. For the most part the responses were encouraging in spirit, and the on-the-ground changes in practice were as you would expect.
Elizabeth McCormack, Deputy Chairman of the Atlantic Philanthropies and Senior Advisor on Charitable Giving, Rockefeller Family & Associates, spoke before the Foundation Impact Research Group a couple of weeks ago. The recording of the event is now available for viewing here. With her usual wit, verve, and irreverance, Ms. McCormack discussed her long and varied career.
Foundation Center president Bradford K. Smith gave "Disrupting Philanthropy" a shout-out during his droll presentation at the Grants Managers Network's Annual Conference in March.
The link above is to the first nine minutes of the talk, the shout-out coming at around the 2:45 mark. You can find the entire presentation (about 20 minutes) here.
Seattle-based Quixote Foundation recently announced its intention to "spend up" its endowment over the next seven years.
Founded by the late Arthur Stuart Hanisch and named in honor of the idealistic Knight of La Mancha, Quixote funds progressive organizations in four areas of interest: environmental equity, U.S. reproductive rights, U.S. election integrity, and U.S. media reform.