In Winnetka, Illinois, the McKenna family and their friends gather with McKenna Foundation Junior Board Members on Sunday evening. As young adults discuss the pros and cons of different grant applications and learn to develop group consensus, child-led philanthropy is getting a chance to spread its wings and fly. Allowance for Good is the organization teaching communities like Winnetka how to make their children lead philanthropists.
The Fund for Shared Insight is a new collaborative effort of seven foundations coming together to back “feedback loops” to improve the social sector. The idea is that nonprofits need to do a better job of listening to the people they serve and incorporate that feedback in how they operate. Corporations vacuum up feedback from their customers all the time to improve performance—”please stay on the line to take a short survey”—but the nonprofit sector has been slow to do this kind of thing. Shared Insight hopes to get the ball rolling in a big way.
From our union brothers and sisters:
Some Certified Nursing Assistants report having to buy their own equipment to make sure they can monitor patients’ oxygen levels. Physical plant workers report troubling shortages of critical equipment they need to combat mold in ventilation ducts to patient and operating rooms. Now the Hospital is threatening to make the situation even worse by laying off more employees.
At the same time, Lifespan – A Health System paid more than $16.6 million in compensation to just ten executives last year. These individuals averaged $1 million more in compensation than the average compensation earned by CEOs of nonprofit hospitals nationwide. Meanwhile, Rhode Island’s largest healthcare employer has employees working more forty hours per week that get no health coverage.
“Dangerous, ineffective, unnecessary, obsolete, wasteful, and inadequate,” is how the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2011 report, No Place for Kids, describes the negative results of locking up youth. Once kids end up in jail, social workers do what they can to help them get out and start over on the right foot, but a better plan starts with keeping kids out of the slammer in the first place.
Sam Zell is a Chicago businessman with a fortune of nearly $5 billion. His wife Helen is a philanthropist with wide interests and liberal views. The couple has been stepping up their giving, and we watch them closely, although we’re often struck by the inscrutability of the Zell Family Foundation’s giving, and always on the lookout for clues as to where the Zells’ philanthropy is going.
“There is still some stigma about men who say, ‘My kids are more important than my work,’ ” said Scott Coltrane, a sociologist studying fatherhood who is the interim president of the University of Oregon. “And basically that’s the message when men take it. But the fact that women are now much more likely to be at least a principal breadwinner, if not the main breadwinner, really changes the dynamic.”
One way to help ensure that kids turn into thriving adults is to reduce their exposure to abusive situations. That logic of prevention is why the Houston Endowment has long been investing in a nonprofit called Childbuilders.