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

01/11
2012

What are ships for?

Since announcing our merger with The Boston Foundation a few weeks ago, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about why we merged, how it will work and what might change.   We’ve received many notes of congratulations and also a little head scratching.  Does this mean that TPI will only work in Boston?  What does this mean for TPI’s community foundation work?  What is this new animal anyway?

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01/05
2012

The Development of the Donor – Stages in the Continuum

The process and pace with which a donor develops into a strategic giver is difficult to generalize.  Some donors jump right into the pool with a strategic perspective and approach, while others never get there, dabbling forever in the shallow, safe end.  Some donors move smoothly through a linear progression of development, fueled by a variety of influences while others progress in starts and stops triggered by pivotal experiences and events.  TPI has found

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Filed under: Strategic Philanthropy

12/16
2011

A Great Time to Merge

TPI announced some very exciting news yesterday.  In case you missed it, we’re merging with the Boston Foundation. We think that together we will be able to help both TPI clients and TBF clients do great things with their philanthropy and in the process, potentially prove a new model for the field at large.  We look forward to building on both organizations’ strong histories of innovation and ambition.

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Filed under: TPI

12/12
2011

Moving from Donor to Strategic Investor

“Strategic philanthropy” – it’s the mantra of our field.  We’re all supposed to be one, or help others become one.  It’s the antidote to the all too common practice of writing checks to a long list of worthy charities which have knocked on our doors.  But how does a donor move from writing checks to becoming an engaged and strategic philanthropist? 

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Filed under: Strategic Philanthropy

11/30
2011

A Learning Tour (Without Leaving Your Desk)

Nearly a year ago, Eliza Petro, Program Director for the Izumi Foundation, went on a learning tour to understand the values and processes that characterize today’s landscape of global health and development philanthropy.  The journey was part of the Foundation’s strategic planning process and involved interviews with two dozen smart and engaged foundations, philanthropists, and philanthropy experts throughout the country to gain a better understanding of how funders locate, assess, track and evaluate grantees.

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11/09
2011

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 share the sermon he planned to give the next Sunday titled: “Why America May Go to Hell.” Dr. King warned that “America is going to hell if we don’t use her vast resources to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life.”

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11/01
2011

Impact Investing – are we finally at the Next Frontier?

Many foundations share the frustration that philanthropy’s impact is limited relative to the big dollar potential of the business and government sectors.  When Wal-Mart decides to change to hybrid fueled vehicles, the impact dwarfs most of what philanthropy can do.  This is all magnified by the fact that most foundations only put 5% of their assets to social use through grants – leaving the remaining 95% sitting in traditional investments.

 

So, when the buzz around impact investing (also called mission investing, sustainable investing, patient capital, etc.) began really growing around eight years ago in the philanthropy sector, we decided it was time to listen and time for

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10/25
2011

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 Graduates,” which profiled young people who owe as much as $160,000 in student debt. They were the first in their family to go to college and believed that this was the route to economic success.  Instead, they recount all that they are now forced to forego as they struggle to pay back their loans. 

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10/11
2011

The Million Dollar List

The Million Dollar List, a project of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University made possible by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, launched last week.  A website and database, the list tracks publicly reported charitable gifts of $1 million or more and provides data and resources about giving at that level.

Will it inspire donors to make more and/or larger gifts?

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09/30
2011

Transformative Philanthropy in India: Equity, Freedom and Justice

The following is a guest post written by Dr. Rajesh Tandon, Founder and President of the Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), a voluntary organization providing support to grassroots initiatives in South Asia.  Dr. Tandon recently spoke at Philanthropy and Social Change in India, an event sponsored by New England International Donors and TPI’s Center for Global Philanthropy.  He is an internationally acclaimed leader and practitioner of participatory research and development and has long advocated for a self-reliant, autonomous and competent voluntary sector in India and around the world.

 

Having completed my professional education nearly 33 years ago I was beginning to ‘dabble’ in some grassroots level organizational activities. One day, someone suggested that I set up a voluntary organization if I wanted to work towards the empowerment of the poor and the marginalized. As I began to set up PRIA in 1980, my elders (uncles, teachers, colleagues) began to query me if I was getting into ‘charitable’ activities for the ‘welfare of the poor and the needy’ in the country. I was bewildered by such queries, because I assumed that my mission was social transformation towards a just and equitable society.

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