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The Philanthropic Initiative Inc.’s strategic philanthropy blog
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families, foundations and corporations
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04/02
2014

Today’s trends will influence tomorrow’s philanthropy

Ellen Remmer recently posed the question of whether it is worthwhile to think long term in this rapidly changing and uncertain world.  Well, I think it is.  In fact, we must think long-term to keep pace with global change and take a strategic, impactful approach to philanthropy.  Silos are crumbling, needs are growing and opportunities […]

12/19
2012

Why I Love Minneapolis! (And why charitable giving won’t fall off a cliff)

I am in Minneapolis. I love Minneapolis and have from my first visit in the late 80’s when we were putting together The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI). I came to town with a question, a very big question: “What is in the water in Minneapolis that makes this community so incredibly generous?” I remember those conversations […]

12/18
2012

The Art of Love in Philanthropy

This blog originally appeared on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog. Dennis Litky, co-founder of Big Picture Learning, and a charismatic and inspired educator, has found that the single most important factor in kids learning is “whether they believe that they can.” That kind of influence from a gifted teacher to a student is profound. […]

Filed under: Strategic Philanthropy

12/11
2012

The First Rule of Corporate Social Responsibility Is Not What You Think

This blog originally appeared on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog. For some, the very notion of corporate social responsibility remains an oxymoron. For example, the push-back that I get in my class in the Global and International Studies program at UCSB is that corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a concept is part of the […]

Filed under: Corporate Philanthropy

11/28
2012

Why the Art of Philanthropy Trumps the Science

This blog originally appeared on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog. There is a natural tension between art and science: Science is associated with certainty and effectiveness, and art with softness and disruption. In philanthropy we aspire to certainty (or as much of it we can get) and yet as counter-intuitive as it may seem, […]

Filed under: Strategic Philanthropy

09/20
2012

When Donors Do More Harm Than Good

Back in June I wrote a piece for the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog which argued that the first rule of corporate philanthropy is to do no harm.  I still believe this to be true, but I want to broaden the idea because I really think that the first rule of all philanthropy is to […]

Filed under: Strategic Philanthropy

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06/25
2012

CSR Rule #1: Do No Harm

Social impact, social change, and social innovation – these are aspirational concepts in themselves reflective of a movement, but how do we define them?   In 1970, the sociologist James Taylor defined social innovation this way: “new ways of doing things in order to meet social needs.” How would you add to that?  

04/17
2012

What is going on here?

Below is the introduction to a talk that Peter Karoff presented recently at a breakfast hosted by The Boston Foundation and The Philanthropic Initiative.  Download the full text.   For many good and proper reasons there is within the field of philanthropy a strong focus on results, on impact, and what overall has been termed […]

Filed under: Strategic Philanthropy

04/09
2012

Yo Yo Ma – A Gifted Giver

Last week Yo Yo MA was in Santa Barbara as part of the UCSB Arts & Lectures series, and while his 300-year-old cello was on the stage, what the audience mostly got was a remarkable creative, artistic and personal memoir, as Mr. Ma reflected on his development as a musician, performing artist, global citizen, and […]

Filed under: Strategic Philanthropy

09/01
2011

The ‘Ground Sense’ from Ground Zero

I am sitting in a dark theatre and suddenly am aware all the doors are locked – how did they get locked and what am I doing here? The theatre didn’t seem that big but now seems vast – row after row of people all fixated on the stage from which emanates a cacophony of […]

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