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


Kudos to Carla: REDF Receives $3 Million Grant

TPI would like to extend a big congrats to Carla Javits, CEO of REDF and Board Member at TPI for REDF’s receipt of a $3 million grant by the Corporation for National and Community Service under the Social Innovation Fund (SIF).  REDF is one of 11 national recipients, and the only California-based grantee, to receive a grant from the First Annual SIF Grant. 

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Leadership at Every Level

All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas laying in the sun,
Talkin’ bout the things they would coulda shoulda done . . .
But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas all ran away and hid
From one little Did.  

 - Shel Silverstein

 TPI has released a new issue of Initiatives, which looks at leadership from different perspectives.  The latest edition covers a range of themes and topics including corporate signature initiatives, cohort learning, developing young leaders, and leadership lessons from Chilean philanthropy.  Our hope is to spark some new ideas, or simply encourage a few moments of reflection on the potential roles we could all be playing.


ISTR: Building a Global Community for the Third Sector

Last week in Istanbul The International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR) concluded its ninth international conference.  It was a rich experience, showcasing some of the most accomplished and thoughtful researchers and scholars in civil society and philanthropy from around the globe.

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Learning to Act Bigger and Better

In Monitor Institute’s What’s Next for Philanthropy, Fulton, Kasper and Kibbe explain how the growth of engaged donors and vehicles for giving, as wonderful as it is, has naturally increased fragmentation within philanthropy. With many more players comes many more “experiments” – but “the question is whether they will ever sum.”

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It’s a 1-2 punch FOR philanthropy

First the Giving Pledge. Now, an unprecedented investment on the part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation into donor learning and education.  What happened?  Could it just be that Bill and Melinda – now full time engaged in their philanthropy – have jumped into the pool, love the water and simply want to share it with everyone else?  Could it be that despite the scale of (or perhaps due to) their $35 billion foundation, they recognize that the responsible thing to do is to take a long view and inspire, promote and support others in their philanthropy?  

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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 Philanthropies, Turning Passion Into Action.

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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, what really matters is that this information is applied in a way that leads to sustained social change.  An emerging trend in grantmaking is helping to empower community members to tell their own stories in a way that builds local capacity to strategically use information.  

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Community Leadership for Deeper Impact

With challenges increasing for communities, it’s exciting to see the ways in which community foundations express their leadership. I had the opportunity in early May to witness and be part of work the Santa Barbara Foundation is doing. The foundation has a long history of supporting the community but they are exploring new roles that have the potential to extend their reach and deepen their impact.

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How to Keep the Giving Pledge Cooking

The Giving Pledge has had a week to percolate.  I’m waiting for the billionaires to sign up.  I actually think that the billionaires will sign up…. but that it may take some time and effort. 

There’s been some good commentary on the part of the pundits.  Tom Tierney and his fellow Bridgespan consultants have made the point that the amount of giving is irrelevant without good strategy.  Of course that’s patently true, although we at TPI are big believers that donors can and usually do move along the curve of philanthropic maturity towards effective strategy.  Inspiring them to jump in the pool and actually get seriously engaged in their giving is the precursor.  

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Grantmakers Without Borders Conference

An inspiring international grantmaking conference, but…

 At their best, philanthropy conferences are excellent opportunities for great networking, hearing thoughtful speakers and being inspired by exciting practitioners. The Grantmakers Without Borders conference in San Francisco June 7 – 9 was an outstanding example. The variety of perspectives on international grantmaking with a social justice perspective was an inspiring education for this participant, new to the field.

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