Still in the Dark: Why Philanthropy Remains a Black Box — Inside Philanthropy

When I started Inside Philanthropy 18 months ago, I was certainly interested in the age-old questions about transparency and accountability in the sector, but I can’t say I was preoccupied with them. To me, the most exciting stories are about how funders are trying to solve big problems, often in new ways. I still think that, and IP tries to tell those stories every day at a moment when more cool funders are doing more cool things than ever.

Over time, though, I’ve become ever more frustrated by just how hard it is to gauge what philanthropists are doing or who in this sector is having the most impact.

Compared to earlier times, I know the sector is doing a better job of assessing itself. And I know that more answers are now available to certain questions, like how grantees perceive funders, what kinds of collaborations are most successful, how best to evaluate grants, and so on. All that’s a good thing, and the pioneers of that work—like the Center for Effective Philanthropy—have moved the ball forward in impressive ways.

via Still in the Dark: Why Philanthropy Remains a Black Box – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

How a Cutting Edge Effort to Boost Family Financial Stability is Giving Out $3 Million – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

We’ve been keeping an eye on the Center for Financial Services Innovation, which is backing new ways to promote the financial health of Americans—especially the “underbanked and the underserved, traditionally an overlooked segment of the financial services market.”

A key premise of CFSI’s work is that companies can profitably serve the poor with low-cost financial service products—and help put the bottom-feeding predatory lending industry out of business.

via How a Cutting Edge Effort to Boost Family Financial Stability is Giving Out $3 Million – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Here’s One Way That Google is Dealing with the Huge STEM Gender Gap – Inside Philanthropy

In the past year or so, the tech world has come under scrutiny for male overrepresentation. A high-profile sex discrimination suit was filed against VC firm Kleiner Perkins, and there’s been a rash of cases of women experiencing online harassment in tech circles. Meanwhile, in a very different development, corporations of all kinds that rely on skilled workers have awakened to the need to ensure that an increasingly diverse workforce has a strong education in science and math. There’s just not enough geeky white guys to go around anymore.

Google is at the center of the tech universe, and men comprise 70 percent of its workforce, so it would be hard for them not to notice the problem—or feel the heat.

One way Google has been addressing the STEM gender gap is by providing RISE awards—grants of $15,000 to $50,000 that focus on educating girls, minorities, and low-income students up to age 18 in computer science, helping to prepare them for workforce jobs at places like Google.

via Here’s One Way That Google is Dealing with the Huge STEM Gender Gap – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Who Will Watch the Charities? by David Callahan NYTimes.com

LAST week federal authorities disclosed that four cancer charities had bilked tens of millions of dollars from donors. Questions continue to surface about the lack of transparency at the Clinton Foundation. Philanthropy, we’re learning, is a world with too much secrecy and too little oversight. Despite its increasing role in American society, from education to the arts to the media, perhaps no sector is less accountable to outsiders.

The charitable sector is a bit like the Wild West — by design. Foundations have long been granted expansive freedom, on the view that the diversity of America’s civil society is one of the country’s signature strengths, as Alexis de Tocqueville famously said, and that government shouldn’t mess with this magic. Both political parties have been content to impose a minimum of rules on philanthropy.

via Who Will Watch the Charities? – NYTimes.com.

Child Sexual Abuse: How Foundations and the Paternos are Funding Prevention – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

Well, here we are again. Another child sexual abuse scandal rocks the nation. Josh Duggar, star of 19 and Counting, sexually abused multiple girls as a teenager. His behavior was reported to the police (his police records are now conveniently destroyed) and the whole thing was kept under wraps in the proud state of Arkansas as the family went on to film a “reality show” touting their ultra-squeaky-clean Christian living.

Key takeaway for youth funders: Invest more in sexual abuse prevention here, there, and everywhere. There are still way too many people involved in ignoring, minimizing, and/or covering up these crimes.

Before Josh Duggar, another recent case prompted national discussion and awareness about child sexual abuse—the trial and conviction of Jerry Sandusky. And that one seems to have spurred an increase in funding that is worth looking at.

via Child Sexual Abuse: How Foundations and the Paternos are Funding Prevention – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

To Create an Inclusive Economy, Rockefeller Coaxes Business To Change How It Thinks – Inside Philanthropy

The concept of resilience is a great one to have planted in your brain early, and in fact, studies have shown that the more you know about and think about your own psychological resilience, the stronger you can become. But let’s face it—many people don’t really know what resilience means.

So what is resilience? It’s a term most frequently applied in the psychological and medical lingo, describing a person’s ability to withstand extreme hardship, trauma, or illness. The idea is that, constitutionally, people with more resilience are stronger.

via To Create an Inclusive Economy, Rockefeller Coaxes Business To Change How It Thinks – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Some Funders Move Beyond the Culture War Over Family Stability and Poverty – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

Not so long ago, the link between family stability and poverty was a highly divisive issue. The right tended to fixate on family breakdown as the main driver of a culture of poverty, while the left stressed the structural factors that limit opportunity. That debate isn’t over by any means, but many progressives have grown increasingly enthusiastic in recent years about anti-poverty efforts that focus on strengthening families and, in particular, the role of fathers.

That’s certainly true in parts of the funding community, and strong foundation support for the Center for Urban Families (CFUF) in Baltimore is a great example. Among other things, CFUF—which describes itself as a “leading voice in the national conversation on responsible fatherhood”—has an initiative called Couples Advancing Together, which seeks to ensure the success of couples with children by focusing both on strengthening relationships and employment assistance. Annie E. Casey is one funder that’s supported such work. And, earlier this year, the Kellogg Foundation swung behind this approach in a big way, a $1.5 million grant to CFUF.

via Some Funders Move Beyond the Culture War Over Family Stability and Poverty – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.