Deep Social Impact
The Philanthropic Initiative Inc.’s strategic philanthropy blog
Helping creative and ambitious
families, foundations and corporations
dream big and act wisely

Author Archives


What if Philanthropy Acted Abnormally?

“What has happened in America (is) that we have normalized child and family poverty, homelessness and hunger….” said Marion Wright Edelman, President of the Children’s Defense Fund, at the October dedication of the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, D.C.   On the day of his assassination, Edelman recounted, Dr. King had called his mother to […]


Sunday Reading: How Should Philanthropy Respond?

Maybe it was because I had just had lunch with three college students who I mentor as part of the College Success Program TPI supports for a client that my Sunday evening reading seemed to have a common theme.  First, there was the National Public Radio story on “School Debt: A Long-Term Burden for Many […]


It’s About the Muck (Not the Shit)

Nearly two weeks ago my state, Vermont, was devastated by floods – they are calling it the 500 year flood, a (hopefully) once in a lifetime phenomenon.   Gentle brooks and streams turned into raging rivers and rivers overflowed their banks.  Hundreds of bridges were destroyed around the state, making it clear where the old Vermont […]


Changing the World, One Girl at a Time

In accepting the Tony Award for Best Actress Sunday night, Ellen Barkin said that being in the play The Normal Heart (which recounts the early days of the AIDS crisis), “Taught me something I never believed in – that one person can make a difference, that one person can change the world.”    The power of […]


Three strikes and then what?

“While we do not want to place undue burdens on the organizations we support, we do feel it is essential that we know the people to whom we give grants and have assurances of their management capabilities.”  Those are words I just drafted, on behalf of one of our clients, notifying a New York City […]


Beyond Tuition: What Does it Take to Graduate?

This past weekend, four young people from New York City became college graduates.  While that is not particularly remarkable in the context of this season of caps and gowns, it is remarkable for these particular students


Beware of Mythical Lands

I just finished reading the complete text of Jon Krakauer’s whistle blowing expose of Greg Mortenson and his best-selling book, Three Cups of Tea (Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero Lost His Way).  As a result of Krakauer’s meticulous research, it is now clear


Tapping our Collective Superhero

The spotlight is once again shining on the need for urban school reform, thanks to the $100 million pledge by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to the Newark Public Schools and the release of the movie Waiting for Superman.  As someone who regularly visits inner city classrooms, I applaud the outrage portrayed by the film and […]


Giving While Living

 How can philanthropy realize its potential of addressing critical social problems?  How can it help to bring about systemic change that endures?  Some philanthropists believe that a commitment to addressing urgent problems requires spending all of their resources.  This “Giving While Living” approach to philanthropy is the focus of a recent report by The Atlantic […]


Storytelling as Advocacy: Whose story is it?

As someone who has been in the field of grantmaking – both in government and philanthropy – I’ve had many, many reports “submitted” to me and, truth be told, too many of these have been put directly on the shelf, where they have remained.  While it is clearly important to analyze the results of initiatives, […]

News and Events


Philanthropy Advising

Search This Blog

Copyright 2010 TPI Org | All rights reserved