Author Archives: Cody Switzer
April 3, 2012, 12:25 pm
Foundations don’t base their grants decisions on the diversity of the grantee, said a panel of experts at the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ annual meeting in Vancouver—but a growing number are seeking to ensure that their own staffing and operations are multicultural and trying to figure out other steps to better serve all parts of society.
While diversity is important, grant makers say it is hard to measure what it means when reviewing a nonprofit’s work, said Kelly Brown, director of the D5 Coalition, a project designed to help foundations become more inclusive.
“We really need to build capacity among the philanthropic field to know this information,” she said.
Dawn Chirwa, chief of staff of U.S. programs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said the philanthropy hopes to make diversity a part of grantee evaluations.
Faye Wightman, president of the…
April 2, 2012, 11:05 am
For a third year, the One Percent Foundation, an organization devoted to fostering philanthropy among young people, is hosting its Grant Madness basketball pool. People who do the best in choosing the winners of March Madness games are declared the winners, just like in any pool, except they have to give their money to a charity of their choice.
“We have to be able to make philanthropy really fun and really low barrier, and everyone does March Madness pools anyway, so why not do one for social good?” says Lana Volftsun, the organization’s executive director.
So far, 379 people have joined the pool, donating a total of $6,786. A matching $5,000 grant from the company MerchSource puts the total pot at…
January 23, 2012, 10:29 am
It takes a lot of planning and research to create an effective prize contest, says Jaykumar Menon, senior director for education and global development and prize development at the X-Prize Foundation, which offers monetary awards for technological advances in space travel, automotive fuel efficiency, and other areas. And there’s no guarantee that anyone will succeed in the challenge and win the prize.
“It’s difficult to do a prize well,” Mr. Menon says. “You can have a prize that is not won. You can have a prize that is won but has no impact. You can have a prize that no one pays attention to.”
To make sure that it’s not wasting time and money, the X-Prize Foundation takes great care to develop its prizes.
For each project, it spends six to 12 months studying how to create meaningful criteria, how to appeal to competitors, and other factors.
In the video above, filmed a…
December 29, 2011, 10:26 am
The death of Steve Jobs will almost certainly be included in lists of the biggest stories of the year. It might not be surprising, then, that his thoughts on philanthropy, as reported in Walter Isaacson’s biography, became the most popular post on this blog.
Also popular were posts with practical advice for grant seekers and new grant makers, giving by foundations, and how donors measure charities.
The top five most-viewed posts on the Giveaway in 2011 were:
Steve Jobs Found Much to Dislike About Philanthropy
The Apple co-founder found fault with the jargon, the showiness, and the rich people who thought they could shake up philanthropy.
Video: Common Mistakes Made by Grant Applicants
Grant makers explain what turns them off in proposals.
Foundations Sign Their Own Giving Pledge
More than 60 grant makers have agreed to direct the majority of their money to groups that serve…
December 2, 2011, 8:24 am
Charles Best, the founder and chief executive of the online education charity DonorsChoose.org, has leaned heavily on big-name online supporters like Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, to help the organization fulfill its mission.
Mr. Best and Mr. Newmark talked to The Chronicle last month about that relationship at the NextGen: Charity conference in New York.
On Philanthropy.com: Learn more about DonorsChoose’s strategy as part of The Chronicle‘s report on how Internet entrepreneurs are embracing philanthropy.
November 15, 2011, 3:46 pm
The Chronicle and the Council on Foundations recently invited community-foundation leaders to take part in a discussion on Twitter about how their organizations can more effectively address social problems and advocate for important issues.
Emmett Carson, chief executive of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation; Teri A. Hansen, chief executive of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation; and Rebecca Graves, executive director of CF Insights; contributed to the discussion.
Below are highlights of the discussion. You can read the full archive for more.
October 28, 2011, 1:33 pm
What role should philanthropy play in strengthening the U.S. economy?
The Chronicle and the Council on Foundations raised this question today on Twitter to start a conversation with foundation and nonprofit leaders. And the question drew many responses.
Participants shared advice on partnerships between nonprofits and foundations with businesses and government, discussed how they are working to help communities become more competitive, and offered suggestions about what the nonprofit world can do to be more effective in spurring economic growth.
Below are some excerpts from the conversation on Twitter. You can view the entire discussion by checking out the hashtag #philchat.
October 18, 2011, 1:43 pm
Nonprofit news organizations can’t live on well-reported articles and foundation support forever, says a new report by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The report, “Getting Local,” explores the local news operations of eight nonprofit groups, including MinnPost in Minnesota, the St. Louis Beacon, The Texas Tribune, and others. One, the Chi-Town Daily News, closed during the study.
None have developed a clear model for sustaining their operations independently, the study found, and each depends heavily on donations and grants. In 2010 more than 90 percent of the organizations’ revenue came from donations, including 57 percent from foundation support and 34 percent from individuals.
As they mature, these organizations need to find ways…
July 6, 2011, 9:16 am
How do grant makers get their jobs?
We recently spoke with four foundation executives, all of whom took different routes to their jobs working in corporate philanthropy or for private foundations.
One came from a background in academe and social work, another is a lawyer who worked in different branches of government, and another came from the business world. And a fourth grant maker worked her way from a low-level foundation job two decades ago.
How did you get started working for a foundation? What advice do you have about the best career paths for people interested in careers in grant making?