Commentary and Opinion

Philanthropy News Digest invites opinion and commentary on topics of importance to the philanthropic sector. For more information, contact Kyoko Uchida, PND's features editor, at kyu@foundationcenter.org.

Traveling Toward Greater Impact

Traveling Toward Greater Impact

Julie Broome   |   November 24, 2014

Anyone who has ever traveled with me — even just across town — knows that I get lost easily. North becomes south, left becomes right. As such, I've developed a heavy reliance on maps to tell me where I am and to help me figure out where I'm going. Otherwise, I'll spend a lot of time confidently headed in the wrong direction. That's exactly the value I see in the maps and analysis of human rights grantmaking created by the International Human Rights Funders Group and Foundation Center....

Funding to Strengthen Democracy Is Critical to Long-Term Foundation Success

Funding to Strengthen Democracy Is Critical to Long-Term Foundation Success

Ruth Holton-Hodson   |   November 14, 2014

Many in the progressive foundation community are wondering how the results of the midterm elections will affect their funding areas, be it health, education, the environment, income inequality, or civil rights. What will become of our hard work to move a progressive agenda forward?...

Losing the Red Cross Would Be the Real Disaster

Losing the Red Cross Would Be the Real Disaster

Beth Gazley   |   November 11, 2014

As a disaster researcher and scholar of nonprofit management, I've followed the (well-publicized) travails and (hardly publicized) successes of the American Red Cross over the years....

Moving From the Overhead Myth to an Overhead Solution: Next Steps

Moving From the Overhead Myth to an Overhead Solution: Next Steps

Jacob Harold   |   October 31, 2014

In 2013, I joined with partners at the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Navigator in writing an open letter to the donors of America explaining that "overhead ratios" are a poor way to understand nonprofit performance....

How the Charitable Sector Keeps Us All Afloat

How the Charitable Sector Keeps Us All Afloat

Mark Rosenman   |   October 23, 2014

As social and environmental problems grow worse and the resources to address them are stretched thinner, nonprofit organizations and foundations have to make hard strategic choices about where best to intervene....

Arts Education and Human Development: Creating Space for Transformation

Arts Education and Human Development: Creating Space for Transformation

Selvon Waldron   |   October 20, 2014

Art can change lives. For over eighteen years, we have lived that reality at Life Pieces To Masterpieces, a comprehensive arts-based youth development nonprofit serving African-American males from the most underserved communities in Washington, D.C....

Helping Low-Income Students Gain College Access AND Success

Helping Low-Income Students Gain College Access AND Success

William Goodloe   |   September 18, 2014

As children across the country headed back to school this fall, the United States reached a milestone of sorts: nearly half the children enrolled in public schools now come from low-income families....

Making School Choice Work Requires New Cross-Sector Investments

Making School Choice Work Requires New Cross-Sector Investments

Robin Lake   |   September 15, 2014

As many thoughtful education reform advocates now admit, public school choice has created new possibilities for families desperate for better options. But it can also create significant access challenges for disadvantaged families....

How Philanthropy Can Help Unaccompanied Child Refugees Now

How Philanthropy Can Help Unaccompanied Child Refugees Now

Daranee Petsod   |   August 19, 2014

Ten-year-old Lucinda sits alone in a courtroom awaiting her fate. In front of her is a judge who will decide whether she is deported to her native Honduras. At the opposite table sits an experienced attorney advocating for her deportation....

Philanthropy, Diversity, and Equity

Philanthropy, Diversity, and Equity

Susan Taylor Batten   |   July 24, 2014

In May, the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE), in partnership with the Black Philanthropic Network, released the report The Exit Interview: Perceptions on Why Black Professionals Leave Grantmaking Institutions (21 pages, PDF)....

Charities and the 'Compassion Gap'

Charities and the 'Compassion Gap'

Mark Rosenman   |   July 18, 2014

Any traces of the "compassionate conservatism" championed by George W. Bush in the early days of his administration has long since evaporated under the heat of Republican extremism....

NGO-Run Schools: Three Ways to Increase Value

NGO-Run Schools: Three Ways to Increase Value

Maude Bourassa, Shujaat Wasty   |   July 15, 2014

It's no secret that international development work has more than its share of challenges, especially when it involves a project that espouses a long-term goal such as improving access to or the quality of education. While some schools run by nongovernmental organizations fare better than others, most experience varied levels of success, depending on a range of factors. While many of these factors lie beyond the control of NGOs, others can be addressed at the local level....