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What Do Funders Themselves Give To?

While recently participating in the opening plenary of the annual conference of a state grantmakers association, I and others in the room were quite surprised by a question one brave funder posed to the panelists. “Given the economic crisis and reductions in foundation funding, small gifts and contributions are becoming more and more important to nonprofits,” she […]


Caught up in Kumbayah: Are There Limits to Collaboration?

I love to collaborate.  The more, the merrier, I say.  I’m excited by the “crowdsourcing” taking place in our politics, commerce, education, and social spheres.  But, recently, I’ve started to wonder about whether all this collaboration is “all good.”  Behind this curiosity is my participation (in various capacities) with several organizations that happen to pride […]


Do Young People Lack Empathy?

We’ve all heard the complaints about “those young people”—that they’re “slackers,” “narcissistic,” and “entitled.”  Now, here comes a new one:  They lack empathy.  So says a recent article that appeared in the Boston Globe, which has understandably raised the hackles of many young people, especially those who’ve been heavily engaged in service, volunteering, politics, and […]


Finding a Balance

Last week, I posted some comments about an article that Bill Dietel and I wrote for Nonprofit Quarterly about whether and to what extent the quantitative or “technocratic” elements of philanthropy had taken over the other, more amorphous elements of that practice, namely, the ethics, values, and ideologies of the donors.  We received a lot […]


What Do Donors Want Anyway?

That seemed to be the question behind grants recently made by the Gates Foundation to two consulting firms for developing tools and sharing best practices that will help donors make better investment decisions and, ultimately, encourage more philanthropy. While many were pleased over the powerful show of support for increasing philanthropy, the grants also raised […]

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