Community-based children’s choirs are so important. Here is a great example of fundraising from Trenton.
When you are one, you have only just learned to speak. You move about clumsily and knock things down a lot. You don’t yet know what is possible, but you are burgeoning with life.
It’s an exciting time to be in the feedback loop business, and no one knows this better than Feedback Labs, a new nonprofit consortium selected as one of the 14 organizations to receive a grant from the Fund for Shared Insight, the collaborative of funders helping nonprofits to collect and incorporate feedback to improve their performance—and how philanthropic dollars are spent. (Yup, this post is about a collaborative giving money to a consortium, one more sign that lone wolf outfits are decidedly passé.)
Feedback loops are being heralded as a way to ensure that the people served by nonprofits, the so-called “end users” of philanthropy, can give input to how organizations operate. Better listening promises to teach nonprofits what the client wants and does not want, and how, in providing services, it can best communicate with clients and also act to meet their needs. Some of the benefits? Feedback loops can help expand on successes and give quick attention to problems as they emerge.
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 Knight Foundation took another step forward in its work to bolster U.S. cities recently, by identifying 126 finalists in its Cities Challenge. All 26 of Knight’s communities of focus for the challenge are represented in the pool of finalists and the winners will divvy up $5 million in funding.
Over 7,000 ideas were submitted for the challenge, coming from public and government organizations, design experts, urban planning organizations, and individual citizens.
The successes of the civil rights movement are rightly remembered as a major achievement of grassroots organizing—with crucial assists by Lyndon B. Johnson and a muscular White House.
But there’s another part of that history that you won’t see on the big screen: How philanthropists supported the civil rights push at key moments. As well—fast forwarding to today—for all the media attention on racial justice in the wake of police killings in Ferguson, MO, and New York City, there’s been little mention of how foundation money has helped frame the response to those events and articulate a policy agenda going forward.
Alabama George Wallace famously pledged “segregation forever” in 1963, only to watch Jim Crow dismantled by federal law over the next few years. In the history books, and now at a multiplex near you, Wallace lost and Martin Luther King, Jr. won.
In fact, though, we all know there’s been no such storybook ending—especially when it comes to the segregation of America’s neighborhoods and schools. Instead, Wallace’s promise for the future has largely come true, minus the “Whites Only” signs—as documented by an endless stream of studies. One 2013 study, by Richard Rothstein and the Economic Policy Institute, put things this way:
Racial isolation of African American children in separate schools located in separate neighborhoods has become a permanent feature of our landscape. Today, African American students are more isolated than they were 40 years ago, while most education policymakers and reformers have abandoned integration as a cause.