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May 2005

American Counsel of Trustees and Alumni now has a blog. In their "Inside Academe" newsletter they had, this month, the following appeal;

Breaking news. ACTA is now asking for contributions to help us launch a blog as soon as possible. The blog will allow ACTA to respond immediately to ongoing controversies and give our members an interactive forum for exchanging ideas and opinions.

Since you can blog for $5 a month or less, they must have meant they want funds for paid staff to blog. Sad, for those of us who do it for love to see that we are competing with.... the pros.

The Right Ideas Uncontested

LIBERTY'S FOUNDATIONS: Investing in the Right Ideas, How philanthropists helped make conservatism a governing philosophy, BY JAMES PIERESON, in Commentary.

Excellent article by the former Executive Director of Olin Foundation. To read this is to see that business as usual at "liberal" or mainstream foundations will not much influence the juggernaut of conservative ideas and policy. The critique of liberalism should make large-hearted people cringe. The right is getting very comfortable in writing its own triumphalist history of ideas. Ours by comparison do look sad. Does anyone even read Rawls? Bollier? Lessig? Where are the thought leaders and who funds them?

Losers get no sympathy, so they had better come to power.

E-Volve Foundation

Tnanks to Martin Kearns via email for the link:

E-Volve's efforts focus on several activities.  We:

*  Raise money to provide seed grants for online democracy efforts.

*  Provide technical advice and assistance to current and prospective grantees. 

*  Connect members of our network to one another

*  Provide information and analysis on the state and future direction of online democracy

*  Sponsor convenings with great thinkers to discuss new ideas that that we haven't even imagined yet!

Should Advisors Discuss "Philanthropy"?

"Why do professional advisors invite a dialogue about philanthropy? Because their clients expect them to." - From the Forum for Regional Grantmakers, written by Andrew Spurrier and Nancy Roberts Connecticut Council for Philanthropy.

Actually, maybe advisors should discuss life, vision, values, goals, dreams, hopes and aspirations with their clients. They should discuss what it means to have a successful life or a successful plan. They might discuss what keeps a client awake at night, or the client's sense of what his or her community needs. The advisor might disucss leadership, whether client wishes to be engaged as volunteer, Board member, a civic leader, an agent for constructive change. The advisor might discuss the client's aspirations for children, and the role of generosity and volunteering in child-rearing.When advisors rise to this level of intimacy and vision, "philanthropy" becomes not the end, but the means to what the client cherishes, now, later, and forever. Sometimes, the word philanthropy is not even used. Instead the client may talk of stewardship, "social investment," giving back, paying it forward, getting engaged, downshifting, taking a leadership role, taking on an important issue, leaving a legacy, being a giver, or making a tithe.

Talk about making a difference - and most are interested. Ask about philanthropy and very few rise to the question. Ask about children and money, and the parents get up, close the door, and bend forward with faces interested and conerned. From there, from that point of passion, to giving, the conversation readily takes it own course.  We all want a better world for our children, and children who are healthy minded and productive citizens. You can't get there without giving.

NCRP Report on Social Justice Philanthropy

National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has just released Social Justice Philanthropy: The Latest Trend or a Lasting Lens for Grantmaking? The new report defines and discusses the concept of social justice philanthropy, provides an assessment of its future in philanthropy, and explores how grantmakers apply the concept of social justice to their work. In pdf here. Or executive summary here.

Conclusions from NCRP

Continue reading "NCRP Report on Social Justice Philanthropy" »

The World We Want - Opportunity to Get Engaged

Peter Karoff has asked me specifically to invite my web friends interested in giving (and open source) to enroll in his upcoming web conference, on May 17. In the spirit of last years Open Space Giving Conference in Chicago, Peter is asking our help in getting word out about reviving democracy, and achieving social justice, on line and off. Please propagate the link, sign up, and get engaged. Afterward we can debrief, and maybe hook up with Peter to keep the open society dream alive.

Peter is also writing a book on "The World We Want." It will embrace giving from side to side and the bottom up, as well as from the rich to the masses.  (I am flattered that he has included me on the list of contributors.) Peter's book, which is meant to be a discussion starter for small group meetings all over America, may be the rallying point many of us have been seeking. Open Space for Democracy?

How can we help Peter and his friends connect with the givers on the net? It starts with signing up for the free on line conference. Please do.

I have put up a discussion blog in support of effort.

Trends to Watch in Philanthropy

In response to a survey on charitable trend-watching by Charles Maclean at Philanthropy Now:

1. Trend(s) I watch:

a) The take over of philanthropy by political operatives for partisan ends masquerading as public goods. (Heritage? Bradley? Hudson? AEI? Soros? Moveon? Heartland?)

b) The gradual sickening of the public to pervasive ideological abuses of not only giving, but reason, civic life, and the human spirit.

c) The reemergence of progressive grassroots giving and movement building as a counter-thrust to market idolatry, politcal propaganda, war hysteria, and authoritarian religious movements. Similar "awakenings" among libertarians and social conservatives, not all of it driven from above.

d) The finding of common ground among givers of all sorts, as they converse once again the public square, beyond soundbites and slogans.

e) The reinstitution of the public pillory for pundits and think tank thinkers. Considered shameful to consort with same.

f) Pundits reform and become poets and professors of the liberal arts (the arts of freedom) and are gradually reintegrated with humankind.

g) Civil society returned to citizens as the "citizen sector."

2. Future of Giving:

A third sector, an independent sector, not business-driven, not government-driven, not driven by marketing from above, but driven by caritas, volunteering, and giftedness, up from the bottom and from side to side. A public sector driven by love as much as money, with its own dynamic. An offset to pervasive materialism, in the name of God and country, or whatever else. A blessed relief, a haven, and a respite from a money mad society in which the miracle of the pricing mechanism has replaced the holy spirit, and sophistry goes proxy for reason. Out of that ferment comes the future that flows through us from our rich heritage of democracy, bursting the bonds of top down control, opening closed minds, and softening hearts made hard by market logic. The future of giving is the future of life.